Marijuana

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.

Cannabis is medicine — don’t make it taste good

The increasing availability of cannabis-containing edibles has fueled debate about their safety. As emergency visits rise for treatment related to edibles, some common-sense thinking about how these products are packaged and sold is needed.

Is Coca-Cola really putting pot in its beverages?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

News reports that Coca-Cola is considering offering a beverage containing cannabis or one of its derivatives were definitely exaggerated, but the “functional wellness” portion of the beverage market is growing, and other companies are considering products containing cannabidiol.

Why pregnant and nursing mothers shouldn’t smoke marijuana

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The number of pregnant women who use marijuana has risen in recent years, but the effects of THC on a child’s developing brain make it much safer for women to avoid marijuana use entirely during pregnancy and while nursing.