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UVA doctor offers a medical perspective on using recreational marijuana

Marijuana Jar
Marijuana Jar
Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 7:07 PM EDT

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Medical marijuana has many benefits for patients, but consulting a doctor before recreational use is something medical professionals at the University of Virginia want people to think about.

Dr. Christopher Holstege, the UVA director of Blue Ridge Poison Center, encourages people to think twice before recreational marijuana use.

“We know there’s a couple of things that occur... increased exposure to the pediatric population, toddlers are getting into different items... brownies with marijuana or gummies with marijuana,” said Dr. Holstege.

He says there has been an influx in calls at the Blue Ridge Poison Center, as more kids are getting into their parents marijuana products left around the house.

“Short term use can be things like impaired motor coordination, altered judgement, and impaired short-term memory, said Dr. Holstege.”

Dr. Holstege points to an article from the New England Journal of Medicine comparing short term and long term use of cannabis.

“Studies have really clearly defined that there’s long-term issues if I’m a chronic habitual marijuana user,” Dr. Holstege said.

Those studies show room for further addiction, decreased IQ, and altered brain development among young people.

“Certainly the mixture of alcohol and marijuana has been well studied to be really problematic, even at one alcoholic beverage with marijuana can lead to a lot of accidents based on simulation models,” said Dr. Holstege.

Holstege says other considerations include someone’s psychological state, lung condition, THC dose, and hereditary predispositions.

“We know there’s with risk associated with everything we consume in our body. That goes with alcohol, tobacco, and even medications have risks with them. Marijuana has a psychoactive substance, it’s like a medication. People just need to be aware,” said Dr. Holstege.

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