I had always heard it was difficult, if not impossible, to die from marijuana use. We hardly learned about marijuana during medical school, and I don’t remember many questions about marijuana on our licensing examinations that went beyond redness of the eyes. Why focus on marijuana when physicians must worry about medical emergencies such as cardiac arrests, sepsis, pulmonary embolisms, opioid overdoses, and alcohol withdrawal?
Just a few years later, marijuana seems ubiquitous. Ten US states have legalized recreational marijuana use among adults, and 33 states have legalized medical marijuana use. A majority of Americans live in states that allow for some degree of marijuana use. In California, where medical and recreational marijuana use is legal under state law, I drive to work past billboards advertising home delivery services for marijuana. Within blocks of my apartment, 3 dispensaries offer marijuana buds, vape pens, oils, cookies, brownies, and gummies with varying degrees of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol. Marijuana has become an inescapable part of my medical training, and most of my learning has come from patients.
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Morris NP. Educating Physicians About Marijuana. JAMA Intern Med. 2019;179(8):1017–1018. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.1529
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