Effects of Cannabis Use Disorder (Nursing)

by Brenda Marshall, EdD, MSN, RN

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    00:00 How does cannabis affect our bodies? Well, it affects our central nervous system and it is dose-related. So the more a person is smoking, the higher the impact. We see euphoria, disorientation, that relaxation, impaired judgment, sensory alterations, psychotic reactions, they might start hallucinating, they might become delusional. One of the impacts of cannabis use disorder on the body is amotivational syndrome where the person no longer has any motivation to get anything done. And this especially if the usage has started as a young person will truly impact the trajectory of their life and their future. It affects the heart.

    01:02 You will see the person has tachycardia, so their pulse is going to go over 100 and they may have orthostatic hypotension. And this is important because after they're using the cannabis if they stand up very fast, they might pass out. If they pass out, they'll fall down and in that fall can injure themselves, can find themselves with head injuries. Cannabis use affects the respiratory system. They have laryngitis, they have bronchitis, you're going to hear a hoarseness, they get obstructive airway disorders, they have lung damage, and even lung cancer. It also affects the reproductive system because it alters hormones in women. So, it might dysregulate their menstrual cycles. It decreases sperm count in men.

    01:59 And it also lowers the motility of the sperm and it changes the structure of the sperm.

    02:07 And therefore you're looking at oftentimes people who are unable to have children.

    02:18 Again, as all substances, there is that intoxication and there's also withdrawal. So what do we see when we see a person who is intoxicated on cannabis? Well, we see an impairment in coordination, impact on memory, impairment in judgment, and their speech is impaired. This is a real problem if anybody is thinking that they can use cannabis and go to work, use a car, get on a bike. We're going to see a person who is using cannabis usually has red eyes, the sclera. They have an increased appetite also known as they get the munchies. Their heart rate starts increasing so we see tachycardia. But if they use a lot of cannabis, we see they're consciousness, their LOC level of consciousness can be impaired. As I said, people can become addicted to and need to use cannabis. They will go through the tolerance and dependence stages and then enter into, when they don't have it they will start going through withdrawal. So what will that look like? Well, there will be sleep disturbances. There will be depression. We're going to see anxiety, increased agitation. There might be anger so we're going to see moods changing. And you will see weight loss because without using the cannabis, they're not going to be eating quite as much. Cannabis, remember, is used as a medication especially in areas like for pain medication for patients with cancer because it does increase their ability to eat and it does take away some of that pain. Even though the cannabis is being prescribed, it doesn't mean that they can't then still get a cannabis use disorder. I've had clients who got off of using oxycodone and changed to using cannabis for pain medication and were able to stop using narcotics but they still had to make sure that they used it as prescribed or it can become misused. And we also see in withdrawal a person is going to have headaches, they may have abdominal pains. So, cannabis, although it's used recreationally is also and that is legal in many states now, it is also used as prescribed medication to assuage pain and to increase appetite. It's also used for certain eye problems. When it is misused, the person can develop tolerance, the person can become dependent, the person can experience withdrawal. And the nurse needs to be able to assess what is the use, how often is it used, how much is used, and keep that patient safe during the time that they are under our care.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Effects of Cannabis Use Disorder (Nursing) by Brenda Marshall, EdD, MSN, RN is from the course Cannabis and Tobacco (Nursing).

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Effects can vary based on metabolic and genetic factors
    2. Dosage does not affect how the body responds to cannabis
    3. It does not affect the reproductive system
    4. It only affects the central nervous system
    1. Bronchitis
    2. Dysregulated menstrual cycle
    3. Lung cancer
    4. Bradycardia
    5. Increased sperm count
    1. Impaired coordination
    2. Tachycardia
    3. Decreased appetite
    4. Jaundice
    5. Increased cognition

    Author of lecture Effects of Cannabis Use Disorder (Nursing)

     Brenda Marshall, EdD, MSN, RN

    Brenda Marshall, EdD, MSN, RN

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