As a nurse do you believe Marijuana use to be safe? | allnurses

As a nurse do you believe Marijuana use to be safe?

  1. 0 I am not sure I understand everything that is going on with this, but I am having a hard time understanding why Marijuana is being legalized and it potentially has such devastating effects on mental health, especially for anyone under 21 still undergoing brain development. There is no general discussion of this in the news and there seems to be a general acceptance that it is fairly harmless. My Nursing psych professor with more than 30 years experience and her PhD outlined in detail that just like addiction it can trigger all kinds of mental health issues in an individual to include psychosis but most often mild forms of paranoia. There are studies that show that mentally ill people are actually more likely to use marijuana, so it is hard to tell if it causes mental issues, makes them worse or simply goes hand in hand. The way that a lot of psych meds and marijuana counteract probably deserves a whole different discussion, but makes it all the more scarier when you think about the number of mentally ill in this country and the fact that they are out in the community on meds that we really need them to take and work to keep everyone safe. Everyone is focused on guns, but not on this and it seems to be every bit as important.

    I guess I want to try to see what the general consensus is and if anyone sees more issues coming down the pike for us in the healthcare arena because of this? I understand legalizing to get rid of drug lords, but we have done a much better job as a society on teaching the downfalls of alcohol and cigarettes. We are legalizing marijuana and haven't taught a thing, and it doesn't look like we are going to.
  2. Visit  ZenLover profile page

    About ZenLover

    From 'United States'; Joined Sep '11; Posts: 100; Likes: 93.

    55 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  MN-Nurse profile page
    11
    "I am not sure I understand everything that is going on with this, but I am having a hard time understanding why Marijuana is being legalized and it potentially has such devastating effects on mental health, especially for anyone under 21 still undergoing brain development."

    Here's why: People very, very rarely (ever?) come to the hospital with injuries suffered because they smoked weed in any amount.

    Any questions?

    I have some: Has anyone ever in the history of recorded time treated anyone for "THC intoxication" or "THC overdose"? (Did your professor mention this at all?)

    Compare for a moment the mortality and morbitidy from overdose or abuse of alcohol. Or from the usual use of tobacco. That isn't even to mention the current illegal drugs (heroin, cocaine, meth, MDMA and other "party" drugs) you seem to be comparing pot directly to.

    Claiming pot is "like any addiction" is like saying porn or junk food is just like any addiction. Yes, there are similarities but they are not the same.

    Personally I think smoking weed is stupid. Burning ANYTHING and inhaling the smoke is one of the dumbest things a person can do.

    It isn't a wellness activity and much like booze, we can control it, restrict it's use, and yes fire people from their jobs if they show up with signs of using it. However, unlike booze you don't get a holocaust of health problems.

    Don't smoke weed, it's stupid and if you smoke it you are a moron. However, there is no reason to jail you for it.
  4. Visit  MomRN0913 profile page
    3
    I don't think smoking weed is stupid. And I do believe it has health benefits. It is way less dangerous than alcohol.It is not addictive. And I find people with mental health problems abuse alcohol much more than marijuana.I worked with a very reputable doctor who smoked and believes in its health benefits. Why exactly does smoking weed make you a moron? Doing anything in excess makes anyone a moron I guess, but in moderation for a specific benefit, does not make one a moron.
    KelRN215, BCgradnurse, and Vishwamitr like this.
  5. Visit  elkpark profile page
    11
    Like your nursing professor, I am also a psychiatric nurse with ~30 years experience in all aspects of the specialty (but only have an MSN, not a PhD, sorry ), I think a more pertinent question is not "is marijuana safe?" but "it is more dangerous than other psychoactive substances that are legal, easily available, and widely used?" I am no particular fan of marijuana, have never smoked it and have no plans to do so, and certainly don't recommend it to anyone, but the idea that tobacco and alcohol are legal and marijuana isn't just completely defies reason and common sense. Tobacco and alcohol are doing a heck of a lot more damage to individuals and society, financially and in terms of human costs, than marijuana could every do. I am
  6. Visit  workingharder profile page
    2
    The progression of legalization is proceeding because the government has more important things to concern themselves with. Depending on who you ask, the percentage of Americans who consume pot on a daily basis varies between 1% and 7%. The percentage who have used marijuana at some point in their lives is estimated upwards of 50%. The extreme majority of these people are fully functioning members of society. Also, I briefly glanced at a couple of studies that say marijuana use is not associated with mortality, there may be other studies that say different but, I didn't see any.
    In this life almost everything we touch, ingest, or breath can be deleterious to our health. I can't think of any drug I administer that doesn't have potentially dire side effects yet we continue to eat, drink, breath, and take medications, most of us into old age. We take our chances every single day and those people who have voted for legalization are adults who can make their own decisions.
    Personally, I don't see an increase in mental or physical health issues coming about due to the legalization.
    lovemy3boys&1girl and KelRN215 like this.
  7. Visit  MunoRN profile page
    10
    I think first it's important to understand that marijuana is not a single drug, but rather a combination of multiple drugs, the two primary ones being THC and Cannabidiol (CBD).

    In people under the age of 16-18 (depending on the study you look at), THC can "unmask" schizophrenia earlier than symptoms would have become apparent without THC use, although there nothing reliable to say that THC creates schizophrenia where it didn't already exist. Given this, it's reasonable to keep marijuana out of the hands of those under 21, something that we can only do if it's legal and therefore have some ability to enforce age restrictions. Currently, drug dealers don't ask for proof of age. There are surveys which show teenagers find it easier to get marijuana than alcohol.

    This effect varies however based on the ratio of THC to CBD. CBD has been shown in multiple studies to be an effective treatment of schizophrenia, with some studies showing CBD to be equally effective to other atypical antipsychotics. This is one reason why schizophrenics tend to be more likely to use marijuana. This brings up another advantage to legalizing marijuana which is quality control. Currently, buyers have little control over what they buy in terms of THC vs CBD content, legalizing it would encourage the availability of marijuana with lower THC ratios.

    Ideally, nobody does any drug, prescription drugs included, although we don't, and never will live in such a world. If someone's going to use something to make them feel better, I'd suggest marijuana over pretty much anything else. Alcohol is deadly, physically addictive, and I don't swear under my breath whenever I get a patient who smokes a lot of marijuana. I just had a kid in his 20's who was brain dead and getting his organs harvested following an OD of prescription opiates. If you're going to have a vice, (and most people will) you can do a lot worse than marijuana.
  8. Visit  workingharder profile page
    1
    Quote from MunoRN
    I think first it's important to understand that marijuana is not a single drug, but rather a combination of multiple drugs, the two primary ones being THC and Cannabidiol (CBD).

    In people under the age of 16-18 (depending on the study you look at), THC can "unmask" schizophrenia earlier than symptoms would have become apparent without THC use, although there nothing reliable to say that THC creates schizophrenia where it didn't already exist. Given this, it's reasonable to keep marijuana out of the hands of those under 21, something that we can only do if it's legal and therefore have some ability to enforce age restrictions. Currently, drug dealers don't ask for proof of age. There are surveys which show teenagers find it easier to get marijuana than alcohol.

    This effect varies however based on the ratio of THC to CBD. CBD has been shown in multiple studies to be an effective treatment of schizophrenia, with some studies showing CBD to be equally effective to other atypical antipsychotics. This is one reason why schizophrenics tend to be more likely to use marijuana. This brings up another advantage to legalizing marijuana which is quality control. Currently, buyers have little control over what they buy in terms of THC vs CBD content, legalizing it would encourage the availability of marijuana with lower THC ratios.

    Ideally, nobody does any drug, prescription drugs included, although we don't, and never will live in such a world. If someone's going to use something to make them feel better, I'd suggest marijuana over pretty much anything else. Alcohol is deadly, physically addictive, and I don't swear under my breath whenever I get a patient who smokes a lot of marijuana. I just had a kid in his 20's who was brain dead and getting his organs harvested following an OD of prescription opiates. If you're going to have a vice, (and most people will) you can do a lot worse than marijuana.
    Always like reading your posts.
    leslie :-D likes this.
  9. Visit  Ntheboat2 profile page
    1
    The benefits outweigh the risks.

    What do you mean we are legalizing marijuana and haven't taught a thing? Who is supposed to teach what and to whom?

    You don't give people enough credit.
    Vishwamitr likes this.
  10. Visit  ZenLover profile page
    0
    Quote from Ntheboat2
    The benefits outweigh the risks.

    What do you mean we are legalizing marijuana and haven't taught a thing? Who is supposed to teach what and to whom?

    You don't give people enough credit.
    My point is that there are kinds of commercials about how bad cigarettes are and why. There are all kinds of anti drunk driving campaigns and everyone knows AA exists. This country tried to outlaw alcohol and we know how that went. I am not about making people criminals, but making sure they know the truth of a subject is good.

    I am not saying I disagree or agree with anyone here. I find it a very confusing and interesting subject, perhaps more in regards to human nature. I believe nurses are supposed to promote good health practices period. To tell some that because something is a lesser evil it is okay I am not entirely sure I buy into that line of thought. Perhaps a good question is why is everyone so desperate to escape their reality? I think it is sad really, I get it, but kind of comes down to bad coping skills and health practices in my opinion.

    You are right though. Who is going to teach what? From where I stand no one agrees on the health risks or alleged benefits within the health community much less outside the health community it appears.
  11. Visit  KelRN215 profile page
    6
    OP, please post links to these studies if you have them available.

    Marijuana is objectively safer than tobacco and alcohol so why the former is illegal but the latter two are legal contradicts common sense.

    There are legitimate medical uses for marijuana and we already give the active ingredient as a prescription drug. I have given Marinol to children as young as 5 before.

    I voted for the decriminalization of marijuana when it was on my state's ballot in 2008 and for the legalization of medical marijuana when it was on the ballot in 2012. Both measures passed with overwhelming support.

    To answer your question, No- I do not foresee any huge issues coming from this.
    leslie :-D, nursel56, tewdles, and 3 others like this.
  12. Visit  MunoRN profile page
    0
    Interesting video on the differences in psychotropic effects between THC and cannibidiol:
  13. Visit  elkpark profile page
    3
    Quote from kellyski
    My point is that there are kinds of commercials about how bad cigarettes are and why. There are all kinds of anti drunk driving campaigns and everyone knows AA exists.
    The reason for that is because there is a clear consensus, backed up by many years of research, about the (many) dangers and costs related to cigarettes and alcohol. The same is not true of marijuana.

    Quote from kellyski
    This country tried to outlaw alcohol and we know how that went.
    Yes, and that's why many of us support legalizing pot. Prohibition hasn't worked, and isn't going to work.

    Quote from kellyski
    I believe nurses supposed to promote good health practices period. To tell some that because something is a lesser evil it is okay I am not entirely sure I buy into that line of thought.
    Most of us here are not saying we consider pot "okay," but the concept and practice of "harm reduction" is a well-known principle of public health and a legitimate aspect of "promot(ing) good health practices."

    Quote from kellyski
    Perhaps a good question is why is everyone so desperate to escape their reality?
    That is a good question, more of a philosophical question than one that has a ready answer. However, it's hardly a matter of "everyone" being "desperate" to alter their consciousness. Plenty of people never use any psychoactive recreational substances, or use them only in moderation or within carefully managed religious or social rituals and contexts. I always think it's worth remembering, though, that, as far as we know, every human civilization that's ever been on the planet has either figured out fermentation of EtOH or discovered plants with psychoactive components/properties (or both ). Apparently, the drive to transcend our everyday existence/reality is a powerful and universal human experience.

    Quote from kellyski
    Who is going to teach what? From where I stand no one agrees on the health risks or alleged benefits within the health community much less outside the health community it appears.
    Exactly; there is no clear consensus or convincing evidence of how "dangerous" marijuana may be. There are opinions within society, held by reasonable people, ranging from the "Reefer Madness/demon weed" school of thought to those who consider it a miracle cure for all our problems, and not much hard science to back up any particular viewpoint.
    chinacatRN, workingharder, and KelRN215 like this.
  14. Visit  ZenLover profile page
    0
    Quote from KelRN215
    OP, please post links to these studies if you have them available.
    These are from a CINAHL database. I had 14 research articles come up with keywords Marijuana and psychosis that were peer reviewed in the last 5 years and 1 that was listed as an EBP article. Pretty easy find really. I listed the first 2 that were readily available to the public.

    (1) http://web.ebscohost.com.proxy.libra...&vid=16&hid=19

    (2) http://web.ebscohost.com.proxy.libra...5&vid=9&hid=19

    I am not against medical use as I have seen the benefits for myself. I do not think I could encourage recreational use however as it simply is not healthy. It may not be severely damaging, but I don't think we can truly say it has more health benefits than risks.


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