Cannabis and Healthcare 2014

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    2014 saw the beginning of legalized cannabis shops in Denver Colorado. What does this mean for us as Healthcare professionals, will we see a reduction in alcohol related diseases? Or will we see an increase in Cannabis related diseases?

    The eyes of the world are watching the new experimental POT shops, which have recently opened in Colorado, selling legalized Cannabis for everyday consumption, for everyday people. Who would have thought that this would happen in our lifetime! The lines went round blocks and shops feared they would run out quickly.

    It is estimated that 37 shops opened their doors 1st January 2014, and by January 6th 2014 speculation is mounting that shops will soon run out of supply.

    It is estimated that over 1 million dollars was spent in the first 24 hours on legalized Pot.

    Do we think that people want cannabis to be legalized, do people think we should be allowed to buy 'pot' from shops, yep I think we can safely say if this past week has shown anything, that everyday people want to buy pot.

    Although it has to be pointed out that in all photos, videos and media shows there appeared to be a huge population of men shopping and buying pot than women! I did not actually see a woman in the shops, I am sure there were some?

    I can see it now, 'Honey can you pop out to the pot shop for me'

    Alcohol companies are fearful for a drop in profits, and I think they should be! For the addictive personality swapping one addiction for another may well be the way forward.

    As healthcare professionals we should consider how this might actually benefit our patients, the cost to lives, reduction in violent crimes, reduction in ER visits and all the other health care benefits we are lead to believe happens if you smoke cannabis.

    There are many research projects out there, attempting to prove that cannabis is safe, that cannabis has many health properties.

    According to one source there has never been an overdose of cannabis because you have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times the amount of THC (short for Tetrahydrocannabinolin),which is present in a joint to be at the risk of dying.

    Police worry that using cannabis increases the chances of moving onto harder drugs, but there are no scientific studies to date that support this claim. Police also worry that using cannabis will increase violent crimes, behavior and suicidal tendencies, again at this time there is no scientific study to confirm this belief.

    In 2010, overdoses were responsible for 38,329 deaths. Sixty percent of those were related to prescription drugs. In the same year, a total 25,692 died of alcohol induced issues , including accidental poisoning and disease from dependent use.

    Benefits to our patients include but are not limited to...
    • Antiemetic for general patients
    • Increased Appetite for the chronic sick and elderly patients
    • Decreasing neuropathic pain, especially with MS patients
    • Reduction of pressure within the eyes of glaucoma patients
    • Some studies have shown reduction in tumors in cancer patients (although studies are not conclusive but we can expect a lot more studies in the future)
    • Reduction of nausea in chemotherapy patients and increase of appetite

    Side Effects

    Short-term (one to two hours) effects on the cardiovascular system can include increased heart rate, dilation of blood vessels, and fluctuations in blood pressure

    Short-term memory loss

    Increase in psychosis (newer studies are disputing this)

    Schizophrenia (newer studies are disputing this)

    Drop of about 8% IQ in patients under 18, although starting after 18 does not appear to cause an IQ drop

    Driving is impaired and studies in the UK say if you drive within 3 hours of smoking cannabis you are twice as likely of having an accident.

    An interesting side note, shares in one cannabis growing company increased their share prices by 53% overnight!
    Last edit by Joe V on Jan 6, '14
    whealer, TheCommuter, achotio, and 5 others like this.

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  2. About madwife2002, BSN, RN

    madwife2002 has '24' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'RN, RM, BSN'. From 'Ohio'; Joined Jan '05; Posts: 9,607; Likes: 5,288.

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  3. 7
    It is good to note that the state boards in Colorado have not changed their views on the use of marijuana
    How Colorado's Legalization of Marijuana Impacts Physicians

    By Steven R. Kabler of Miller Kabler, P.C. posted in Controlled Substances on Friday, November 9, 2012.
    In the 2012 election, Colorado's voters approved a new constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana for recreational use. This comes five years after Colorado's legalization of medical marijuana in 2007. In the wake of these laws, the question arises as to how the Colorado Medical Board will treat marijuana use by physicians. The short answer is that the Board will view marijuana use exactly the same as it did before it was legal.
    The nursing board follows the physician point of view.
    This approach is also echoed by other boards, such as nursing or dentistry, where a referral to Peer Assistance Services is a foregone conclusion where provider drug use is involved. Legalization for medical use did not change this view, and legalization for recreational use will likely not change that view either.
    jmiraRN, SoldierNurse22, SHGR, and 4 others like this.
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    I personally believe marijuana for adults is far better for you than alcohol, sleeping pills or pain pills. It has medicinal uses that are far safer than pills. I don't know that I agree with recreational use, but medicinal with a real purpose I agree with.
    tyvin, ladriano, achotio, and 6 others like this.
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    I hate the smell of that stuff.... But since it is legal can they tax the hell out of that pot and let's get some benefits from it.
    msn10, Sponges, SHGR, and 3 others like this.
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    As with most things, there shouldn't be an issue in moderation. Kudos to Colorado.
    andrewscott, pseudomonas, aklgap, and 2 others like this.
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    The problem with how we legalized marijuana in our country is really an issue. Everyone says tax it and end the war on drugs save money and make money. Win Win. Not the case in Colorado and Washington. We completly legaized marijuana, which means we can buy it , sell it, grow it, do what ever we want. In countries like Amsterdam you can only buy it and use it. That is how Holland makes its money. The Government grows it and sells. In the U.S. it will be much more difficlut to actually tax something that is legal to grow, no diffrent than those of us that grow our own gardens. So the war on drugs will be over to an extent but then it will turn into the war on tax evasion, and we will still need more regulators in the field.

    The next issue will be testing. We will have to develop a better testing system. Companies can only tell an employee that they cannot be high while at work, just as they do with alcohol. If a person wants to smoke on Friday night but work on Monday they should be able to. The effects will be gone by then just as the effects of drinking would be gone. However they would still test positive. This is another issue that was not fixed before legaliztion and will cause unneccesary job losses and lawsuits.
    ShillaBSN, jmiraRN, pseudomonas, and 3 others like this.
  8. 1
    Quote from Esme12
    It is good to note that the state boards in Colorado have not changed their views on the use of marijuanaThe nursing board follows the physician point of view.
    I was wondering how the nursing profession in Colorado would handle this. Can't say that I agree, but at least they have taken a stand...
    Esme12 likes this.
  9. 3
    These are very valid points! What is ultimately intriguing about legalization of marijuana is that it sheds light on how we treat and view pot users, testing being the biggest issue. I foresee momentary good but plenty of backlash that will hopefully lead to a major revolution, which will hopefully change the way we practice safer and acceptable drug use in our society.

    I am for both recreational and medicinal use of marijuana with better education and better peer support. Practices held to the highest taboo in America are often practiced unsafely; legalization will hopefully shed marijuana use of its unfair notoriety and promote its beneficial usages while managing expectations of many who are smoking it for the first time.
    andrewscott, Everline, and madwife2002 like this.
  10. 2
    Employers will still be able to fire employees that test positive for marijuana use in Colorado. Also, it's not being sold everywhere in the state-that's why there are such long lines in the cities and counties that do allow it's sale. That was part of the law that was passed-it's legal to posses up to an ounce for people who live here but cities and counties have the right to decide whether it will be legal to set up pot shops in them. Denver and Pueblo are the two major cities that have allowed it.
    jmiraRN and madwife2002 like this.
  11. 0
    What is the difference between marijuana and alcohol?

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