Recreational marijuana has several delivery routes, including inhalation (via cigarette, cigar, or herbal vaporizer) and consumption in the form of “edibles.” In states where recreational cannabis is legal, dispensaries sell a variety of cannabis-infused food items (eg, beverages, candies, cookies, honey sticks, butter, brownies, and cooking oils) Some package labels list the total milligrams of THC and CBD.1 Cannabis oils have also become popular and can be taken orally or used topically.1 Peters and Chien1 offer a thorough review of these delivery routes. Medical marijuana is available as an oil, pill, vaporized liquid and nasal spray, as dried leaves and buds, and as the plant itself.14
Tips for Clinicians
Both experts offer tips to clinicians seeking to recommend medical marijuana to their patients.
Work closely with a prescriber
“Not all clinicians are prescribers, so if you are considering recommending medical marijuana to a patient, you need to work closely with a reliable and experienced physician who can prescribe and sign the person’s medical card,” Dr Rudroff said.
“Most older adults seeking to use medical marijuana are not ‘stoners,’ are not stereotypical members of the ‘stoner culture’ and are not seeking to get high,” Dr Prozialeck emphasized. He noted that most “are people from all walks of life and ages who simply need extra help with pain, insomnia, or other age-related conditions.”
Proactively ask about marijuana use
“Nonjudgmentally ask patients if they use recreational marijuana or if they use non-prescribed medical marijuana—what type they use and where they obtain it,” Dr Prozialeck advised. It might be helpful for the patient to bring specific information about what they are using so that the clinician can see the THC vs CBD content, he added.
Monitor patients closely
“Continue to be aware of the products patients are using, the other medications they are taking, and any adverse effects they might be having,” Dr Prozialeck suggested.
Advocate for more research
“There is a dearth of research regarding the effects of marijuana and clinicians should be advocates for more research and education in medical schools and CME activities regarding this important topic,” he concluded.
This article originally appeared on MPR