M. Kaleem Arshad MD

M. Kaleem Arshad MD

M. Kaleem Arshad MD | Marijuana and Psychiatry

By | Dr Kaleem Arshad MD, M. Kaleem Arshad MD

M. Kaleem Arshad MD discusses controversies regarding Marijuana and Psychiatry

M. Kaleem Arshad MD

M. Kaleem Arshad MD

M. Kaleem Arshad MD, former President of Louisiana Psychiatric Medical Association, addresses the issue of marijuana in the mental health arena. There is an ongoing heated debate concerning the controversies about the issue.


There is also a passionate discussion within the field of medicine and the general public about marijuana use by psychiatric patients, the role of marijuana use in causation or exacerbation of psychiatric symptoms, and the therapeutic role of medical marijuana in the treatment of certain psychiatric conditions.


M Kaleem Arshad MD states marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the USA.

About 22 million people use marijuana at least once a month. Men use marijuana twice as often as women, and marijuana use is widespread among adolescent and young adults. The increasing legalization of both medicinal and recreational marijuana has to lead to the public perception that it is a generally a harmless substance.


M. Kaleem Arshad MD, who is a Distinguished Life Fellow of American Psychiatric Association (APA), states that APA’s official stance continues to be that marijuana has no legitimate role in the treatment of any psychiatric condition. This conflicts with the generally more positive and favorable attitude from the public and patients about marijuana. Marijuana use is not uncommon amongst psychiatric patients, and many patients openly claim that marijuana helps with symptoms of anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder.


More and more states are including post-traumatic stress disorder as a qualifying condition for treatment with medical marijuana. Psychiatrists, at times, have shied away from addressing marijuana use by patients.


There is a need for psychiatrists to have a more frank interchange with their patients regarding this issue


M. Kaleem Arshad MD indicates that the US Federal Government still classifies marijuana as an illegal drug with no legitimate medical use. In the United States, federal and state laws regarding the medical use of cannabis and cannabinoids are in conflict and have led to confusion among patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers.


More than half of the states in the nation have enacted laws to legalize medical marijuana. Several states including the District of Columbia have legalized adult recreational use.


M. Kaleem Arshad MD added that there have been studies linking marijuana to increased risk of psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorder. Again, there have been inconsistencies as the extent of such a correlation. Yet, the risks may vary depending on the extent of use and age when the user started. There is a strong genetic component to this vulnerability, as to how the use of marijuana can progress to the usage of other illegal drugs.


Recent research indicates that patients who have a certain variant of a specific gene have seven times more risk of developing psychosis when engaging in the frequent use of marijuana. The onset of marijuana use in adolescence also may increase the risk of psychosis.


Usage of marijuana has been known to produce an acute psychotic reaction in some non-schizophrenic patients. Moreover, in some patient populations, marijuana can adversely affect the course and prognosis of schizophrenia.


M. Kaleem Arshad MD | Marijuana & Amotivational Syndrome.

Through which there is a decreased drive and motivation in certain typically rewarding and pleasurable activities.


This may be related to certain brain changes connected to early onset and consistent marijuana use. Many of these changes are connected to the neurotransmitter dopamine. Playing a major role in the motivational component of reward-motivated behavior. Dysregulation of dopamine in the brain has long been known to be related to psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia and depression. More studies and research are needed to further validate this hypothesis related to the amotivational syndrome and the use of marijuana.


M. Kaleem Arshad MD says the acute heavy use of marijuana can lead to an intoxicated state, in which there are observable adverse effects on short-term memory, attention span, judgment, heightened anxiety and paranoia. Intoxication also affects muscular balance, coordination, and reaction time.


There is a direct relationship between blood marijuana concentration and impaired driving ability. Frequently found in the blood those in vehicular crashes, including fatal ones. Since 1990, there has been an almost fourfold increase in the potency of marijuana available to the public. About a half a million medical emergency visits per year involve marijuana use. Even if the emergencies may not be directly related to marijuana intoxication.


Furthermore, eating and drinking marijuana delivers marijuana to bloodstream at a slower rate. It can inadvertently lead to more use than intended. Persistent and long-term use of marijuana can lead to impaired learning, a decline in IQ, and distorted sleep structure.


M. Kaleem Arshad MD talks about the debate as to whether marijuana is addictive.


There is a clear indication of the addictive potential of marijuana. People continue to use marijuana even when it is clearly affecting their personal and professional lives in a negative way. Halting the use of marijuana can have repercussions. This would include withdrawal symptoms like irritability, restlessness, disturbed sleep and irregular appetite.


Therefore, these factors validate marijuana’s addictive qualities.


M. Kaleem Arshad MD states medical marijuana treats several medical conditions. Including, migraine headaches, epilepsy, muscular spasticity, movement disorders, and AIDS. Acting as an appetite stimulant for those with anorexia.


In conclusion, marijuana reduces the symptoms of nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy in cancer patients. To connect and learn more, click here!