With a possible legalization of cannabis, the question of who should refrain from consuming cannabis also comes into focus. According to a recent study, this applies, for example, to pregnant women and young people, but also to some other risk groups.
A new study involving experts from the University of Ottawa analyzed the links between cannabis, cannabinoids, cannabis-based medicines and human health. An assessment of the application safety was also carried out. The results are published in the English-language journal “BMJ”.
How does cannabis affect health?
The health effects of cannabinoids have been explored in numerous studies. However, most of the studies were observational, which is prone to bias, making it difficult to draw firm conclusions, the team reports.
To solve this problem, the current study evaluated a total of 101 meta-analyses on the subject of cannabis and health that were published between 2002 and 2022.
Increased risk of psychotic disorders
It has been shown that there is a connection between cannabinoids and the risk of psychosis in the general population. This applies in particular to young people and people with psychotic disorders.
For example, cannabis increased the risk of developing psychosis in adolescents, while those with psychotic disorders experienced a significant deterioration in their clinical outcomes, the team explains.
Link between cannabis and depression
The experts also identified an association between cannabis and general psychiatric symptoms, including depression and mania. Furthermore, adverse effects on memory and verbal and visual recall were also found.
According to the researchers, people who are prone to mental disorders or already suffer from them should therefore refrain from consuming cannabis.
No cannabis during pregnancy
The team also identified compelling evidence linking cannabis use in pregnancy to the risk of low birth weight in offspring, suggesting that pregnant women should also avoid cannabis use.
Cannabis is taboo when driving
There was also weak to convincing evidence of an association between cannabis use and car accidents in different population groups, the researchers add in a press release.
Beneficial Effects of Cannabis
However, cannabis can also have beneficial health effects. For example, cannabidiol reduces seizures in certain types of epilepsy, and cannabis-based medications help relieve pain, muscle stiffness, multiple sclerosis, and inflammatory bowel disease. In addition, cannabidiol is very helpful in palliative care, the experts add. (as)