Washington Medical Marijuana

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Washington Medical Marijuana

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What is Medical Marijuana in Washington?

In Washington, the Medical Cannabis State Law – chapter 69.51A RCW allows medical cannabis dispensaries to sell marijuana to card-carrying patients. These patients use cannabis to treat various debilitating physical and health conditions and the symptoms they present. Some of the health conditions eligible for marijuana treatment include cancer, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, glaucoma, or spasticity disorders.

Scientists have found that Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) effectively relieve many difficult health symptoms. THC and CBD are just two of the many cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Studies have shown that medical cannabis use can reduce pain, nausea, dizziness, muscle spasms, insomnia, depression, and other symptoms. In Washington, patients that qualify for medical marijuana cards must get them from the Department of Health.

Is it Possible to Overdose on Cannabis in Washington?

An overdose occurs when a person consumes more of a particular substance than their body can process at once. Overdoses can lead to dire consequences, including brain damage and death. Cannabis overdoses, however, are rarely fatal. In most cases, cannabis overdoses produce more severe versions of the drug's common effects. Also, the amount needed to reach the overdose level varies between individuals.

Typically, symptoms of a drug overdose include breathing problems or seizures that may lead to death. However, the symptoms of a marijuana overdose include:

  • Racing heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Although the chances of a lethal overdose are low, there are also situational risks attached to a marijuana overdose. Cannabis affects individuals differently, and a person with an underlying medical condition could develop health complications from a marijuana overdose. Similarly, if a person overdosed on marijuana while driving or operating machinery, they could cause a fatal accident. Also, if a person overdoses on marijuana while using other drugs (including alcohol), the interaction of substances could lead to more dangerous effects.

If I am Pregnant, Can I Use Cannabis to Relieve Nausea in Washington?

Most pregnant women experience nausea in their first and second trimesters. Also known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum, nausea is a discomfiting sensation in the stomach that precedes vomiting. Although easy to deal with in the short term, long-term bouts of nausea can be very debilitating. For a pregnant woman who has to nourish an infant, the difficulty is worse. Many women use cannabis to deal with nausea during pregnancy. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, between 2-5% of pregnant women use medical marijuana. While cannabis can help treat nausea, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention claims that it is harmful to the fetus. Some possible dangers to the fetus include:

  • Prenatal brain development disruption;
  • Smaller size at birth
  • Higher chances of stillbirth
  • Higher chance of premature birth;
  • Secondhand marijuana smoke dangers;
  • Attention deficit disorder and behavioral problems in childhood.

According to the CDC, cannabis use during pregnancy is harmful to both mother and child. Some of the dangers to the mother include:

  • Dizziness and the risk of falling;
  • Impaired judgment and the risk of injury;
  • Lower levels of oxygen in the body - causing breathing problems;
  • Lung damage (if the patient is smoking).

In Washington, the Department of Health does not allow pregnant women to treat nausea with medical cannabis.

Washington Medical Marijuana