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As much as we’d love for medical marijuana consumption to be beneficial in all circumstances, that just isn’t the case. And, while it does have numerous positives for various medical conditions, there are situations where weed might make things worse. 

 

Below, we’ve talked to some of our expert MMJ physicians here at Elevate Holistics to see when (and if) you should avoid medical marijuana consumption. 

 

First, let’s start by fully understanding the connection between cannabis and medical conditions.

Understanding Cannabis and Medical Conditions

First, it’s important to establish that marijuana cannot cure any medical conditions. However, various studies have demonstrated the positive effects that cannabis can have on the symptoms of certain conditions. 

 

When you consume the plant, the cannabinoids inside work with your endocannabinoid system to bring relief in ways that your body, specifically, needs. 

 

However, there may be some conditions whose symptoms may worsen when in the presence of psychoactive compounds such as THC. 

 

Again, this tends to be rare, but it’s important to understand that, as much as medical marijuana is and always has been beneficial, it may not help everyone.

When Should You Avoid Medical Marijuana Consumption?

All of that begs the question: when should you avoid medical marijuana consumption? What medical conditions might prevent you from getting an MMJ card in the first place?

 

While there aren’t too many situations where your physician won’t recommend medical marijuana consumption, this does still happen. 

 

So, let’s get into it: who should avoid psychoactive weed? And why?

Marijuana and Schizophrenia

Medical marijuana consumption

Unfortunately, many MMJ doctors will turn you down for a medical marijuana card if you have schizophrenia. 

 

One of our doctors here at Elevate Holistics, Dr. Arlene Ritzen, explains her personal opinion: “I do not recommend medical marijuana for young people who have bipolar disorder or schizophrenia because it can trigger manic and psychotic episodes,” she says. 

 

“I have, however, approved patients depending on our discussions, if their doctors support medical marijuana treatment or they…never had manic episodes.” 

 

In general, cannabis can worsen symptoms of schizophrenia primarily due to its active ingredient: THC

 

THC affects brain areas involved in regulating mood, perception, and cognition. In individuals with schizophrenia, these brain regions are already compromised, and the cannabinoid can further disrupt their function, leading to heightened psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions. 

 

Unfortunately, THC can also increase anxiety and paranoia, which are common in schizophrenia. 

 

Additionally, cannabis affects neurotransmitter systems, particularly dopamine, which is already dysregulated in schizophrenia. This exacerbation of neurotransmitter imbalances can worsen the overall symptom profile and make it more challenging to manage the condition effectively.

High-THC Strains and Anxiety

Along these same lines, people with high anxiety levels should also avoid consuming high-THC strains. While medical marijuana consumption, as a whole, can still be highly beneficial for those with anxiety, strains with high levels of THC may not be. 

 

This is because THC overstimulates CB1 receptors in the brain — particularly in areas that regulate mood, fear, and stress responses. This overstimulation can trigger a fight-or-flight response, leading to heightened anxiety and paranoia. 

 

High levels of the cannabinoid also affects neurotransmitter balance, including dopamine and serotonin, which can exacerbate anxious feelings. Increased dopamine activity, in particular, is linked to anxiety and paranoia.

 

Additionally, THC alters the activity of the amygdala, a brain region involved in processing emotions and fear, causing it to become hyperactive. 

 

Typically, if you have high anxiety levels naturally, you should strive for low-THC, high-CBD strains. Even heavy indica strains may be beneficial because of their more soothing attributes.

Cannabis and Pregnancy

If you go in to get your medical marijuana card and are pregnant or breastfeeding, you’re more than likely going to get denied. As a whole, medical marijuana consumption and pregnancy are a huge no. 


Dr. Ritzen explains, “I do not recommend medical marijuana for those pregnant or breastfeeding because we don’t know how it will affect the developing fetus or infant per the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics.”

Marijuana for Respiratory Illnesses

Medical marijuana consumption

Finally, if you have any sort of respiratory illness, MMJ doctors will only recommend certain forms of medical marijuana consumption. Specifically, you should definitely avoid inhalation for the sake of your lungs. 

 

If you have lung complications or are predisposed to lung illnesses, consuming edibles or tinctures is going to be a much better — safer — option. 

 

Inhaling anything while having a lung-related illness can worsen your symptoms. For example, smoke from cannabis contains many of the same harmful chemicals and carcinogens found in tobacco smoke, which can irritate the lungs and airways. 

 

This irritation can lead to increased coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath, further aggravating existing lung conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 

 

Additionally, inhaling cannabis can impair the immune response in the lungs, making it more difficult for the body to fight off infections and heal from inflammation. 


Vaping cannabis, although sometimes perceived as safer, can also introduce harmful substances into the lungs, potentially leading to lung injury.

Learn if Medical Marijuana Consumption is Right for You

While many people love to believe that medical marijuana consumption is great for everyone, that’s just not true for any substance. Thankfully, cannabis is great for more medical conditions than it isn’t, but it’s still crucial to understand when you should and should not enjoy the plant.

 

Here at Elevate Holistics, we have a team of medical marijuana doctors whose goals are always to get you the medicine you need. But, your health and wellness come first, and if we believe MMJ may not be right for you, we’ll let you know. 

 

And, if it isn’t, you won’t have to pay for your appointment. 

 

Find out today if MMJ is good for your medical conditions and book an appointment with our expert cannabis physicians today.

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About the author

Ally Hilbert is the Content and SEO Manager here at Elevate Holistics, working to publish and run Elevate’s blogs and landing pages, as well as conduct keyword research, competitor analysis, and more. After having brain surgery at the age of 17, Ally became fascinated with medical cannabis and its benefits, and, at 18, had her first CBD-related piece published. Today, she’s been writing about cannabis for the past six years, and simply can’t think of a better company to get to do it for. When she’s not writing or editing, Ally’s side-by-side with her pup Sadie in Seattle.
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