Should cannabis products come with mental health warnings?

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A quick look at any search engine will show you a huge range of clinical studies that have been done that show the efficacy and safety of cannabis in treating a long list of mental and physical health conditions. Emphasis has also been placed on its effectiveness for mental health issues, a serious medical condition that the industry struggles to treat effectively and accurately.

According to the National Alliance for Mental Health, untreated mental health disorders cost the United States some $300 billion a year in lost productivity. In addition, mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders are common problems, with many people struggling with mental disorders turning to dangerous antidepressants that can easily be overdosed. This leads to an (avoidable) increase in the death toll. People with untreated mental health disorders, especially the more serious types such as psychosis and schizophrenia, tend to self-medicate, which is why they often struggle with use-related disorders. of substances.

The real problem here is the absurdly high cost of mental health care in the country. Being able to afford a therapist or psychiatrist is something that is exclusively reserved for the wealthy, while very few people can access programs designed to help the poor. I mean, average fees for therapists and psychiatrists start at at least $100 per appointment. Can we wrap our heads around this fact? And someone with serious mental health issues would need several of these sessions throughout the year, maybe even several a month, just to get better.

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No wonder people are self-medicating, which has become easier with increased access to legal weed. But we are seeing results that are unfortunate.

“Studies have suggested that high-potency cannabis is linked to a higher likelihood of psychosis, depression, anxiety, and cannabis dependence, but these studies were unable to account for early symptoms of people’s mental health and had not always considered whether the risks of high-potency use outweighed the risks of daily cannabis use,” says a 2020 study from JAMA Psychiatry.

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So while a large majority of the population is enjoying tremendous relief from conditions that pharmaceutical drugs have been unable to help them, or because they simply don’t want to use synthetic drugs, there is a growing minority of cases raising the alarm about the ease of access to high-THC cannabis, especially among people prone to psychosis and schizophrenia.

Cannabis advocates, even medical professionals who support the use of the drug, have never said that this miraculously medicinal plant should be considered a panacea.

There are certainly circumstances in which patients need to learn not to self-medicate with it, just as they might practice restraint in making sure to follow the correct dosage for prescription medications, or not to mix it up with alcohol for fun.

Data shows cannabis is generally safe and well tolerated

In numerous studies showing the effectiveness of cannabis for treating a myriad of conditions, patients report that it is generally well tolerated.

Of course, cannabis has well-known and common side effects. These can include paranoia, anxiety, dry mouth, red eyes and a feeling of euphoria, so much so that you would be too weak to drive. These are simply part of the psychoactive effects of cannabis, and science tells us that because each human being has such unique biochemistry, we will all react to cannabis in different ways.

However, you should also remember that cannabis is recognized as one of the safest recreational drugs in the world, even despite those minor side effects that people may experience when using it. Magic mushrooms rank among the safest, with cannabis not far behind in second place.

Moreover, one would have to consume a ridiculously large amount of marijuana in a short period of time to even overdose. To date, there has not been a single case of marijuana overdose. Yes, it is possible to take such an amount of THC that you would feel disconnected from reality, but it would subside within a few hours.

smoking marijuana joint
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And yes, people with cardiovascular problems should not take THC-rich substances. This also applies to people with serious mental disorders, drivers, asthmatics and a few others. It’s not for everyone, but it certainly helps a significant percentage of the human population lead better and healthier lives.

Conclusion

To end this article, I think cannabis should indeed have mental health warning labels. As someone who believes that consumers should be armed with all possible information when it comes to making a decision about their own well-being, I believe that cannabis products, especially those containing more 10mg of THC, indeed should have warning labels – the same way we regulate tobacco products.

If that’s what it takes to increase access to marijuana and improve its awareness and education, which likely means more widespread legalization, then it’s certainly in everyone’s interest.

This article originally appeared on Cannabis.net and has been republished with permission.

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