Health Advice



Medical marijuana can trigger bigger problems than it treats

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

Purdue Pharma and the Sackler families, manufacturers of the opioids that devastated this country, are paying up to $6 billion to individual claimants and states for opioid abatement programs. Why? From April 2020 to April 2021, there were 75,673 opioid-related deaths in the U.S., and at least 2 million Americans have a substance use disorder related to prescription opioid pain medication.

There are big lessons to be learned from all that -- ones that wisely might be applied to the legalization of medical marijuana, for example. Just because something makes people feel better, and is thought to be pretty harmless, doesn't mean it won't end up causing health problems. A new study out of Massachusetts General Hospital, published in JAMA Network Open, shows that when folks with pain, anxiety or depression obtain a medical marijuana card, a lot of them end up with cannabis use disorder without seeing any improvement in their symptoms. CUD is characterized by the need for increasing amounts of the drug to gain its effects and use of it even when it makes you feel lousy.

If you're considering using marijuana to treat these type of symptoms, ask yourself, "Are there alternative treatments, like stress management, physical activity, a change in nutrition, talk therapy, massage or acupuncture, that could provide relief without risking dependency?" As a country, we should ask the same question now that 36 states give out medical marijuana cards. I say, "Let's get lifestyle upgrades prescribed and covered by insurance!" That could change the world.



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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