The use of medicinal cannabis among adults in New Zealand is on the rise, leading to concerns about health impacts. Doctors are often reluctant to discuss the topic or inform patients about potential risks.

However, cannabis can have serious side effects, especially when combined with certain medications, and older adults may be more sensitive to its effects. It can interact negatively with drugs like warfarin and clobazam, leading to dangers such as internal bleeding. Doctors also need to be aware of their patients’ cannabis use before surgery, as anesthesia requirements may differ.

Lack of education on cannabis in medical school contributes to doctors’ hesitation in advising patients. While cannabis can provide relief for conditions like depression and anxiety, doctors should address underlying causes and consider work safety and drug tests. Educating doctors about cannabis during training would better equip them to support patients using it medicinally.