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An Introduction to Medical Cannabis and Public Health 


To address public health and occupational safety concerns associated with cannabis, legalised states are likely to pursue a variety of approaches that balance safety and legal compliance. Complementary approaches that leverage the existing cannabis regulatory infrastructure are being adopted by legalised states. Engagement between credible resources and stakeholders is critical during this transitional period. Exposure hazards in commercial cannabis production are an emerging global public and occupational health issue, with production increasing due to a significant shift in attitudes toward the use of cannabis for therapeutic, recreational, and industrial purposes. Recreational cannabis is still illegal in the UK, but in other countries, such as the United States, the recreational marijuana market has grown rapidly, generating significant tax revenue and reported reductions in violent crime.


Cannabis may have therapeutic properties, but only a few of them are cardiovascular in nature. Conversely, many of cannabis's concerning health implications include cardiovascular diseases, though these may be mediated by delivery mechanisms. This statement examines the use of medicinal and recreational cannabis from a clinical, policy, and public health standpoint, assessing its safety and efficacy profile, particularly in relation to cardiovascular health. Investigate the health effects of cannabis use in at-risk or under-researched populations such as children and youths (often defined as those under the age of 18) and older populations (generally those over the age of 50), pregnant and breastfeeding women, and heavy cannabis users.


The research on the effects of cannabis legalisation on cannabis use disorder is still in its early stages, with inconclusive results and the possibility that effects differ by age group. Medical legalisation increases, decreases, or has no effect on self-reported prevalence of cannabis use disorder or treatment admissions. According to the few studies that look at the diverse policy effects of medical cannabis laws, the presence of commercial dispensaries increases both admissions and sales. Cannabis use has been linked to both positive and negative health outcomes. Although it is claimed that cannabis and its derivative substances improve outcomes for a wide range of disorders, there is only strong scientific evidence that it is effective in treating three conditions: chronic neuropathic pain in adults, as an antiemetic after chemotherapy, and for improving patient-reported multiple sclerosis symptoms.


Characterise the health effects of cannabis on unstudied and understudied health endpoints such as pediatric epilepsy, PTSD symptoms, childhood and adult cancers, cannabis-related overdoses and poisonings, and other high-priority health endpoints. The health topics and prioritised health endpoints when it comes to therapeutic effects are chronic pain; cancer, chemotherapy-induced nausea/vomiting; anorexia and weight loss; irritable bowel syndrome; epilepsy; spasticity related to multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injury; Tourette syndrome; amyotrophic, lateral sclerosis; Huntington’s disease; Parkinson’s disease; dystonia; dementia; glaucoma; traumatic brain injury; addiction; anxiety; depression; sleep disorders; post traumatic stress disorder; schizophrenia and other. And in terms of psychoses, lung cancer; head and neck cancer; testicular cancer; esophageal cancer; other cancer. Cardiometabolic risk is acute myocardial infarction; stroke; metabolic dysregulation, metabolic syndrome, prediabetes, and diabetes mellitus. In Respiratory disease, Pulmonary function; chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder; respiratory symptoms (including chronic bronchitis); asthma Immunity. 


There is conclusive evidence for the therapeutic effects of cannabis. There is strong evidence from randomised controlled trials to support the conclusion that cannabis or cannabinoids are either effective or ineffective for the health endpoint of interest. For other health effects, randomised controlled trials provide strong evidence to support or refute a statistical association between cannabis or cannabinoid use and the health endpoint of interest. There are many supportive findings from high-quality studies at this level of evidence, with no credible opposing findings. A firm conclusion can be reached, and the evidence's limitations, such as chance, bias, and confounding factors, can be ruled out with reasonable certainty. Furthermore, there is substantial evidence to support the conclusion that cannabis or cannabinoids are an effective or ineffective treatment for the health endpoint of interest. 

A lack of scientific research has resulted in a lack of knowledge about the health implications of cannabis use, which is a major public health concern for vulnerable populations such as pregnant women and adolescents. Unlike other substances whose use may pose a risk, such as alcohol or tobacco, no accepted standards exist to help guide individuals as they make decisions about whether, when, where, and how to use cannabis safely and effectively for therapeutic purposes.

A recent class of the efficacy of cannabinoids in the treatment of psychiatric conditions such as depression, ADHD, Tourette's syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), psychosis, and anxiety found the evidence to be limited and of low quality, concluding that a prescription for mental health treatments cannot be justified. However, the primary focus of that study was on pharmaceutical cannabinoids, rather than plant-derived medical cannabis, the therapeutic potential of which varies greatly and is widely used.

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