Our first worry before using a substance we don’t know is whether an overdose could cause effects that are as adverse or worse than those caused by the same disease we are trying to control. For this reason, many medications are mandatorily labelled with their recommended dosage and administration form, apart from requiring a medical prescription to be dispensed. The same happens with cannabis; the only difference lies on whether this drug is used in a country where it is legal to sell its derived products. The problem for patients who decide to use medical cannabis in unregulated countries is that it is hard to find doctors who are aware of the uses and applications of cannabis, as well as quality and trust in their cannabis dealers.
Overdose or Overmedicated?
In order to assess product reliability, some countries offer quality control services. Still, more research is needed regarding dosing and administration forms for different diseases. Medicine textbooks addressing the use of medical cannabis, like ““Cannabis Medicinal: La guía completa” [Medical Cannabis, the Complete Guide] by Dr. Celeste Romero and Dr. Marcelo Morante, deal with the issue of overdose. Overdosing results from taking an excessive dose of cannabis, and its single consequence is a more intense psychological reaction that is always within the safe physiological limits, because—until this day—no person has died because of the effect of cannabinoids, or at least because of the direct effect of cannabinoids in healthy people. Users must only bear in mind that overdosing may increase blood pressure and their heart rate, so people with cardiovascular diseases are usually advised to limit their ingestion of cannabinoids. When it comes to medical cannabis, the key is finding the right level of concentration for each patient in addition to strict medical monitoring.
Medical Cannabis to Cut Down on Pharmaceuticals
On a similar note, neurologist Daniel Núñez, during a keynote lecture on the use of medical cannabis, expressed his disappointment about the lack of interest of health professionals to include cannabis in their treatments and stressed that 60% of patients who opted for medical cannabis therapy showed significant improvement. In an interview with Radio Kermés, Daniel Núñez claimed: “it is wonderful to open a message from a patient at the end of the day saying ‘I could smile today.’” Throughout his appearance, the Argentine doctor made clear that “no one dies from a cannabis overdose” and concluded that “we need to reduce the use of pharmaceutical drugs, and this is much better with cannabis as an aid.”
According to Núñez, sometimes patients are overmedicated, and we must be careful with the use of pharmaceutical drugs with side effects in patients who may respond to natural treatments. The doctor, sharing his clinical experience, maintained that the use of CBD oil in the elderly is becoming more and more frequent. “In some cases, older patients take as much as twelve pills a day. Imagine how this impacts on their whole families,” he said.