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Marijuana not only involves risk of addiction, but can cause meningitis as well!
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Marijuana not only involves risk of addiction, but can cause meningitis as well!

Marijuana is one of the most addictive substances in the world. Owing to the rising public demand for the decriminalization of medical as well as recreational marijuana, it is currently legal in a number of states across the United States, including District of Columbia. While the number of those using pot has not risen significantly in recent times, the number of those struggling with a marijuana use disorder has seen an uptick.

Apart from the addiction, other related problems are increasingly becoming evident among people consuming marijuana. In a first-of-its-kind case, the British Medical Journal reported the instance of a woman who contracted meningitis by smoking marijuana blunts obtained from a local dispensary. This is not surprising since marijuana or weed is known to foster fungal growth. The fungus spores are extremely heat resistant and are not incinerated fully even when someone lights up the marijuana blunt.

In this instance, the marijuana blunts contained the strains of the fungus called Cryptococcus, which can spread through air and contaminated food and is one of the chief causes of meningitis. Meningitis arises when the protective covering of the brain and the spinal cord gets inflamed due to a viral, bacterial or fungal infection.

According to reports, the woman in question reportedly smoked medical marijuana blunts three to six times a day. Following the incident, doctors have been advocating caution with regard to marijuana use.

Compromised immune ups risk of meningitis

Though it was first known case of meningitis due to the consumption of cannabis, clinicians have advised caution, especially to individuals with a weak immune. A weak immune system is unable to defend the body against pathogens with the same alacrity as a strong immune system. Moreover, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive ingredient of marijuana responsible for the high, is known to drastically weaken the immune system due to the repeated use. As a result, it becomes difficult for the body to defend itself against a deadly viral or bacterial attack.

Paradoxically, medical marijuana is advocated for those with a compromised immune system, such as patients of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) or cancer. Since even people who have been critically ill for long would have a weak immune system, the consumption of marijuana even for medical purposes is not recommended. To keep infections at bay, medical practitioners advise people to determine the origin of marijuana, irrespective of the place of purchase.

The samples of the brain fluid of the woman diagnosed with meningitis revealed the presence of Cryptococcus neoformans. Investigations revealed that the dispensary from where the woman was getting her quota of marijuana was stocking weed with the infected strains. The deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) samples tested positive and the doctors were certain that the infected marijuana was the reason behind her falling sick. Though she was saved from the clutches of death through timely treatment and prudent action, it cannot be ensured to all.

Apart from the fungus spores that grow quite readily on marijuana, it is increasingly becoming evident that weed is contaminated with mold and pesticides. The culprit could be the cultivator or the dealer who knowingly mixes dangerous chemicals in weed. However, the role of natural disrupters cannot be avoided,   such as the presence of soil contaminated with hardy fungal or bacterial spores and heavy metals in industrial areas. Moreover, certain chemicals like butane used for enhancing the level of THC content in marijuana are equally damaging for health.

Decriminalization of medical marijuana not a license to abuse

Under such circumstances, the best bet is to use marijuana that is grown indoors and under supervised conditions. As there is a lot at stake, it is best to refrain from marijuana use until one is certain. Marijuana, though touted as an innocent drug, has the potential to cause immense harm. It leads one to a cycle of addiction and withdrawal. However, a good rehab and detoxification center can lead one out of this vicious circle.

If someone is grappling with marijuana abuse, help him/her seek immediate medical assistance at a reputed drug rehab. Sovereign Health specializes in mental health and substance abuse treatment for men and women. We offer specialized marijuana detox treatment for women. Call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with one of our counselors for more information on our women only marijuana detox program.

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