Marijuana

Edibles and children: Poison center calls rise

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

As more states have legalized the use of marijuana and products derived from it, more children are being exposed. Children can’t be trusted not to eat appealing-looking food items they may find, so it’s up to adults to take precautions and make sure edibles are stored where children can’t find them.

Beyond CBD: Here come the other cannabinoids, but where’s the evidence?

Given the interest in CBD and the exploding popularity (and big business) of products that contain it, it was only a matter of time before new cannabinoids were discovered and commercialized. But many of these substances have been studied only in animals so far, meaning it is too soon to say if any of their potential benefits will apply to humans.

CBD and other medications: Proceed with caution

Products containing cannabidiol (CBD) are very popular, promising relief from a wide range of maladies. But if you are considering taking a product containing CBD, be aware that if you are taking any other prescription or over-the-counter medications, supplements, or herbal products, CBD can interact with them and cause unexpected side effects.

CBD for chronic pain: The science doesn’t match the marketing

CBD, a non-psychoactive component in cannabis, is emerging as a promising pharmaceutical agent to treat pain and other conditions. Unfortunately, few studies in humans have examined its effectiveness, and the cannabis industry’s profit motive is driving a wave of dubious claims about what CBD can do.

Marijuana may be risky for your heart

Growing numbers of Americans are using some form of marijuana, including edibles and other products. But evidence is emerging that it can be harmful to the heart: it can cause a faster heartbeat and a rise in blood pressure, and chemicals in it can affect medications used to treat heart disease.

If cannabis becomes a problem: How to manage withdrawal

There is disagreement over whether or not there is such a thing as a cannabis withdrawal syndrome, but it’s definitely real, and with increased availability of legal marijuana and other products, even those who use it medicinally need to be aware of the symptoms, and what to do if they think they have it.

Does CBD help with arthritis pain?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

If you have chronic arthritis pain, you may have been tempted to try cannabidiol as a treatment, or you may have tried it already. But is there any evidence that it works? Studies are finally addressing this question, and the results are just starting to come in.

Older adults and medical marijuana: Reduced stigma and increased use

Cannabis use among older adults has been steadily increasing, due to lessening stigma and increased interest in using medical marijuana. But there are specific concerns for older people, so anyone considering this option should have a conversation with their doctor weighing the benefits and risks.

Coming clean: Your anesthesiologist needs to know about marijuana use before surgery

Regular marijuana users who need surgery should disclose their use ahead of the procedure, because of its effects on the body and on the anesthesia medications required for sedation.

Why are women using CBD products — and do they work?

Many products containing CBD claim to help women with various health issues, including sleep, mood, symptoms of PMS or menopause, and sexual pleasure. Currently, very little evidence supports these extravagant promises, and there are concerns about the quality and safety of CBD products.