What Is Marijuana – The Must Know Key Points

Key point on medical marijuana

Marijuana, otherwise known as cannabis, refers to the dried components of the Cannabis sativa/ Cannabis indica plant. The plant’s main components are called cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are chemicals related to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), marijuana’s main mind-altering ingredient. The other main cannabinoid is cannabidiol (CBD). The body also naturally produces cannabinoid chemicals. For a long time cannabis has been classed in many countries as a class A drug and has been seen as a gateway to other, stronger narcotics. Recently however due to extensive clinical research on the medical benefits of marijuana that opinion has been changing. Numerous countries have legalised the use of marijuana for medical purposes on a prescription basis and the effects have been very encouraging. Cannabis is not the catch all panacea that some people may think it is however and there are numerous negative health effects associated with its abuse. This article aims to lay out both the benefits and disadvantages of marijuana use.

How Marijuana can be useful as medicine

The two main cannabinoids of interest for medical use are THC and CBD. The medical benefits of THC have been known for longer and have undergone heavy clinical research they include.

  • Easing of pain for chronic sufferers
  • Increase in appetite and reduce nausea
  • Reduction of inflammation for such disorders as arthritis
  • Mitigation of muscle control problems

CBD differs to THC as a cannabinoid in that it doesn’t make people “high”. Due to research been done more and more of the health benefits of CBD are now known:

  • Easing of inflammation
  • Reduction in pain
  • Controlling epileptic seizures
  • Combating addiction
  • Treating mental illness

Further to the benefits mentioned above recent research has shown that marijuana may be of use in the treatment of cancer. Evidence from animal studies shows that cannabis has been effective in slowing the growth of cancerous cells from one of the most intense forms of brain tumor. Results on mice also display an increase on the cancer killing effects of radiation when paired with marijuana.How Medical Marijuana can help Opioid problems

Opioid abuse is a very serious, and growing, problem in numerous countries across the globe. Preliminary figures from the USA’s National Center for Health Statistics show that in 2016 overdose deaths from synthetic opioids like fentanyl overtook heroin and prescription painkillers for the first time. Non-methadone opioids were linked to more than 20,100 deaths while heroin was involved in over 15,400.

Recent studies have shown that the legalised prescription of marijuana and active dispensaries are responsible for:

  • Reduction in opioid prescriptions
  • Abatement of reports of opioid abuse
  • Admission to hospitals for opioid addiction

Mental effects of Marijuana overuse

THC overactivates parts of the brain. This causes the “high” felt with marijuana use. Other effects may include:

  • Changes in mood
  • Impaired sense of time
  • Altered senses (ie heightened smell and taste, seeing bright colours)
  • Reduced ability with problem solving
  • Altered sense of time
  • Paranoia

With extreme abuse of cannabis can come:

  • Halucinations
  • Delusions
  • Psychosis

Physical effects of Marijuana overuse

Cannabis use also effects the body:

  • Breathing problems. People who smoke marijuana on a regular basis have been known to experience the same lung irritation as those who smoke tobacco. Research has shown no increased risk of lung cancer for those who smoke cannabis.
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Impaired body movement
  • Possible problems with child development during pregnancy. More research is needed but initial research shows a possible link between abnormal child development and marijuana use during pregnancy.
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
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