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July 12, 2023 0 Comments

Biometric Monitoring and Medical Marijuana

If you’re curious about how medical marijuana products may be affecting you physically, the answer may be as close as your wrist.

Certain tech wearables, like the Apple Watch and Fitbit, have options to monitor your heart rate and other physical variables that might be impacted by cannabis. Especially if it contains THC.

What is Biometric Monitoring?

Biometric monitoring refers to the measurement and analysis of the physiological or behavioral characteristics of an individual. It can include heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, respiratory rate, and more. Biometric monitoring is used in different fields, including healthcare, fitness tracking, and security systems.

When it comes to cannabis use, biometric monitoring can play a role in understanding its effects on the body. Cannabis affects individuals differently, and monitoring biometric data can provide insights into how it influences physiological functions.

For example, heart rate is commonly influenced by cannabis use. Heart rate can increase shortly after consumption of cannabis products that contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), activating the sympathetic nervous system. Biometric monitoring devices can track heart rate changes and provide data for review by the user or, if they would like to share the data with their healthcare providers.

Similarly, cannabis can affect blood pressure, respiratory rate, and body temperature. Monitoring these parameters can help researchers and healthcare professionals assess the short-term and long-term effects of cannabis use on the body as well as provide a 24/7 monitor for patients.

Fitbit and Measuring Biometrics

If you own a Fitbit wearable, you already know it will count your steps each day. But the latest generation of Fitbit wearables — Fitbit Sense 2 and Fitbit Charge 5 — offer a lot more. These models can also track heart rate and Sp02 (blood oxygen), notify the user about irregular heart rhythm and heart rhythm assessment, resting heart rate, blood glucose tracking, provide a cardio fitness score, skin temperature variations, breathing rate, and an overall Wellness report. In addition, the latest generation of smartwatches from Fitbit can also track sleep and sleep stages and provide a sleep score as well as provide a stress tracking based on body response and a stress management score.

Less expensive models, called “Trackers”, can provide biometric and activity information but don’t have all the bells and whistles of the more expensive models which allows a much lower price point.

Apple Watch and Measuring Biometrics

Apple Watch can be found on many wrists. The Apple Watch Series 4 and newer offer some more advanced data collection related to biometrics and health. High and low heart rate notifications, irregular rhythm notifications, Electrical heart sensors, optical heart sensors and location, blood oxygen levels, temperature sensing, and fall detection are some of the health-related information you can monitor. The Series 8 and Ultra models also provide sleep stages monitoringYou can also track and monitor medications and see medication adherence over time.

And, just like Fitbit, Apple Watch users can share the data collected with any of their doctors or health care providers if they choose to do so. All data is encrypted and locked with a passcode, so only the user can decide who can access it.

Other Options

In addition to the ever-popular Fitbit and Apple Watch, there are other brands that offer biometric monitoring as well. The Oura brand offers a ring that tracks sleep, activity, and recovery. This ring keeps it simple with three daily reports based on biometric measurements.

If you’re looking for a more affordable option, the Amazfit features monitoring for blood oxygen, heart rate, sleep, and stress, and also has an activity fitness tracker and women’s health tracking on certain models. All for less than $50.

What is the Advantage of Biometric Monitoring?

While seeing your physician and receiving an exam by a professional is pivotal to good health, there are variations to basic functions like blood pressure and pulse. Having a biometric record that provides insight over time can be invaluable to you, your doctor, and any of your healthcare providers.

In addition, for patients who are consuming medical marijuana, biometric monitoring can show any physiologic response after and during consumption. And, while biometric data from smartwatches is not quite as accurate as a physician’s professional measurement devices, it is close and can provide valuable insight concerning how your body is responding to medical marijuana products as well as other medications you might be taking.

Other Factors to Consider

It’s worth noting that biometric monitoring alone cannot provide a comprehensive understanding of the effects of cannabis. Other factors, such as dosage, strain, method of consumption, and individual variability, also contribute to the overall experience. Biometric monitoring should be used in conjunction with other forms of research and individual self-reporting to gain a complete picture of the effects of cannabis.

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