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Toxic Effects of Marijuana

Tod H. Mikuriya, M.D.


Individual Toxicity

The smoked use of cannabis is not without hazards which should be clearly recognized so as to permit appropriate action to avoid or minimize these untoward effects.

Physical Effects

The smoke of cannabis is irritating to the mouth, throat, trachea, bronchii, and lungs. The level of irritation is comparable to that of tobacco with the level of irritation dependent upon the amount of exposure, heat of the smoke and degree of impurity. Because of it's illegality it is not yet possible to scientifically document the possible connection with actual lung disease.

For similar reasons it is not possible to determine possible adverse effects upon passive exposure to marijuana smoke.

There are some people that are allergic to marijuana smoke and develop hives or asthmatic symptoms when exposed to it.

Mental Effects

Cannabis when smoked may cause confusion and disorientation in the inexperienced or sensitive user.

Dr. Mikuriya's Credentials

For the past twenty five years Dr. Mikuriya studied the effects of marijuana professionally in capacities of drug abuse treatment program director, research psychiatrist for the federal government, visitor to endemic areas of use, general clinician treating acute psychiatric in-patients and outpatients.

Politically, he was on the board of directors of the California Marijuana Initiatives of 1972 - 74, Amorphia and an advisor to its successor, the National Organization to Reform the Marijuana Laws (NORML).

A graduate of Reed College, Mikuriya completed his medical education at Temple University Medical School, Philadelphia. He received his psychiatric specialty training at Oregon State Hospital in Salem and Mendocino State Hospital in northern California. After serving at the New Jersey Neuropsychiatric Institute at Princeton, Mikuriya was appointed first director of marijuana research at the National Institute of Mental Health, Chevy Chase, Maryland in 1967. Since then he has been in private psychiatric practice in San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley. Mikuriya has published numerous papers on marijuana and is the editor and publisher of Marijuana Medical Papers.


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