Marijuana Use May Cause Harmful Drug Interactions

Using marijuana with common medications, including blood thinners and drugs used to treat cancer and HIV, may cause significant drug interactions and lead to a potentially harmful buildup in the system, according to two new research studies.

When cannabinoids (a group of substances found in the cannabis plant) are processed in the body, the resulting metabolites can linger in the body for as long as two weeks and interfere with two families of enzymes that help metabolize a wide range of drugs used for pain or for treating conditions such as cancer, according to the authors.

“Physicians need to be aware of the possibility of toxicity or lack of response when patients are using cannabinoids,” said senior author Philip Lazarus, PhD, professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Washington State University in Pullman, in a university release. “It’s one thing if you’re young and healthy and smoke cannabis once in a while, but for older people who are using medications, taking CBD or medicinal marijuana may negatively impact their treatment.”

Marijuana Use in Older Adults Has Risen by 75 Percent

There are 36 states and four U.S. territories that allow for the medical use of marijuana and 18 states and two territories that allow the recreation use of the drug, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

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