Marijuana, weight gain and other misfortunes

Dear Dr. Mo: I’m worried that smoking marijuana might make me gain weight – is it true that this could happen?

Dear reader: Consuming marijuana classically produces symptoms of increased appetite (so called the munchies) and in principle, it could lead to weight gain in otherwise healthy individuals. This, in addition to its anti-nausea effect (anti-emetic) is the reason marijuana is sometimes prescribed to cancer patients to alleviate some of their symptoms (from both the illness and its therapy).

Get high and fat

Get high and fat

It also often causes a dry mouth, which is usually noted by users and I should say that the munchies really should be the least of your concerns when smoking marijuana.
Let me explain.

I’ve heard people claim otherwise but the fact is that intoxication with marijuana does significantly impair motor function and consequently seriously interferes with driving ability – being high or being drunk makes almost no difference.
It can also cause a heart to race (tachycardia) and induce serious discomfort and even a panic attack.

Heavy marijuana use over long time is strongly linked to Amotivational syndrome, which is characterized by apathy and boredom – if this sounds too esoteric, let me put it into a real clinical scenario: Continue reading

How to briefly thwart anxiety with technology – it may be simpler than you think

Dear readers: Anxiety can be really upsetting and unhealthy. Anyone who has experienced its peaking extreme (Panic Attack) knows immediately what I mean; even without such an attack, anxiety can disturb our daily functioning.

Anxiety is the fear of future, often times exaggerated and without a clear reason. This is because our brains think and imagine many possible future scenarios and worry over a number of outcomes, which in reality may never come to pass. Our brains anticipate too much – we have anticipating machines in our heads. Continue reading

Stop panicking – how to deal with panic attacks

Dear Dr. Mo: I’ve been experiencing panic attacks. Is there something other than pills I can do to stop them from happening?

Dear reader: Since I am no psychiatrist, my answer will come out of my own experience and how I had dealt with the same problem years ago.

Panic attack can strike out of nowhere

Let me tell you one thing first – you are not alone.

Over the years I have spoken to many people who have had some variety of a panic attack or an anxiety attack – my interest in the subject wasn’t only medical in nature, it was also personal as I was trying to understand my own struggle and figure out a way to deal with it as well as to help others deal with it.

It was many years ago when it first struck me. It was sudden, out of the blue and right at the time when I was studying the many different diseases a human being can develop and all the complications and adverse outcomes of such conditions. Naturally, I instantaneously began thinking of all the worst case scenarios and thought to myself: “This is it – I’m going to die tonight.” Continue reading