Marijuana: A systems-based primer of adverse effects associated with use and an overview of its therapeutic utility

Asim Kichloo, Michael Albosta, Michael Aljadah, Zain El-Amir, Ghazaleh Goldar, Muhammed Zatmar Khan, Dushyant Singh Dahiya, Srilakshmi Vallabhaneni, Farah Wani, Jagmeet Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Marijuana use is on the rise in the United States. By the end of 2019, 33 states have legalized marijuana use and marijuana byproduct use for medical purposes. However, marijuana use does not come without side effects. This manuscript reviews the increasing usage of marijuana and the different forms (natural and synthetic) that patients may use when presenting to clinicians. It also addresses the biochemical and behavioral changes observed with marijuana use, including the location and changes associated with cannabinoid receptors (abbreviated CB1 and CB2). These two topics lead into an extensive review of the side effects of marijuana use. This manuscript discusses gastrointestinal side-effects, such as Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome, pancreatitis, and hepatotoxicity. It also briefly reviews cardiovascular, neurologic, and pulmonary side effects. This article provides an overview of therapeutic effects of marijuana including the antiemetic effect, its medical utility as an appetite stimulant, and usefulness in cancer patients post-chemotherapy. A thorough social history pertaining to marijuana use is an important consideration for clinicians in patients presenting with a variety of symptoms, including those effecting the gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, pulmonary, or neurologic systems.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSAGE Open Medicine
StatePublished - 2021


  • Epidemiology/public health
  • cannabis
  • gastroenterology/hepatology
  • pharmacoepidemiology/drug safety
  • side effects


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