Assessing the Risks and Benefits of Marijuana: Our Top Takeaways
Marijuana has been an illegal substance for many decades. Notwithstanding, we study the risks and benefits of marijuana. In recent times, people are reconsidering its legal and cultural status because of new revelations about the therapeutic benefits of this extraordinary herb. Recent research suggests that a vast majority of Americans are supporting the legalization of cannabis for recreational and medical use. As a result, several states have, in fact, legalized its use for recreational or medicinal purposes, or both.
Some lawmakers and researchers are still looking for scientific evidence that mentioned the specific benefits that marijuana has to offer. Apart from the benefits, researchers are also worried about the potential risks that might be associated with the use of marijuana.
Are you curious about the benefits marijuana has to offer? Today, we are going to mention some of the benefits of marijuana that have been researched thoroughly. Before we can go deeper into the subject, let’s have a basic understanding of the herb.
Marijuana – Medical Benefits vs Risks
Medical marijuana is known to use the chemicals found in the marijuana plant for treating several health conditions and diseases. There are more than 100 types of compounds or cannabinoids found in the herb, and cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two most important ones. Just like any other synthetic drug found in the market, marijuana can be useful in treating specific conditions. You cannot expect marijuana to treat all kinds of disorders and illnesses.
The plant is known to contain several cannabinoids, and one of them is called cannabidiol (CBD). It is one of the most extensively studied compounds that’s found in marijuana. Hemp plants are also known to contain CBD in abundance. Another compound that you will find in marijuana is called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It is a psychoactive compound that results in hallucinogenic effects, making it excellent for recreational use.
Cannabis plants can contain about 40 percent of CBD. CBD is popular in the medical industry because of its anti-inflammatory properties that can offer plenty of benefits of the body. Though CBD is considered to be safe for human use, any people have concerns regarding the use of THC in traditional marijuana. It is because THC can sometimes act as a depressant or stimulant, leading to other side effects. Therefore, doctors are most likely to evaluate whether the anti-inflammatory benefits outweigh the potential psychological risks.
Benefits of Marijuana
Presently, marijuana is found in two synthetic versions. Doctors are known to prescribe them for treating chemotherapy side effects and severe epilepsy. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of marijuana that are commonly reviewed by scientists.
Pain Management –
Marijuana contains cannabinoids that help in reducing pain by changing the way the brain perceives it. Due to this reason, marijuana is excellent for treating conditions that are known to cause chronic pain, such as –
The use of marijuana can also help in minimizing the side effects caused by cancer treatments.
In certain instances, the use of medical marijuana is known to be useful in replacing the longer-term usage of several nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, morphine, etc.
Mental and Neurological Disorders –
As the cannabinoids in marijuana affect the limbic system, doctors have found that prescribing marijuana can help in the treatment of various mental and neurological health conditions –
Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder that results in repetitive, involuntary, and stereotyped movements and vocalizations called tics. The tics could range from mild to severe. Depending on the severity of the tics, your communication skills, daily functioning, and quality of life can be significantly hampered.
Certain marijuana strains are known to possess calming effects, which can be useful in dealing with symptoms associated with Tourette syndrome. Some of them include anxiety, sleeplessness, irritability, anger, and obsessiveness. Medical marijuana is also known to relieve tics mildly in some patients; however, there is no conclusive data available for the same.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is a psychological disorder that can occur from a traumatic experience or event, which can be potentially life-threatening in nature. The symptoms associated with PTSD include difficulty sleeping and lingering memories. The individual might also experience major perceptual and emotional changes, making it impossible to maintain a good quality of life.
When it comes to dealing with these symptoms, cannabis can help in minimizing or preventing nightmares that often occur in people who have PTSD. Due to intense stress, people also find it difficult to sleep at night. The calming effects of marijuana can often help them sleep better at night. As a result, the emotional and physical wellbeing of a person can be improved with the help of medical marijuana.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that causes the deterioration of motor skills over time. People suffering from it might find difficulty with walking, coordination, balance, which is followed by stiffness and shaking. Some researchers say that medical marijuana can be useful in providing relief in dealing with a variety of non-motor as well as motor symptoms.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
MS is a severe neurological disorder that is known to attack the nerves, spinal cord, and brain. A group of researchers have mentioned that marijuana can be quite useful in easing muscle spasms and stiffness, which is commonly associated with MS. Some evidence also suggests that the active compounds found in marijuana can also help in reducing sleep-related problems occurring in MS patients.
Anxiety disorders are a group of mental illnesses that can cause a lot of distress to the person suffering from it. It can severely degrade the quality of life of the person as well. These people have to deal with fear, and worry can be overwhelming and constant. Some of the common anxiety disorders include phobia, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and so on.
These conditions can often result in symptoms like nausea, pain, fear, uneasiness, cold sweats, heart palpitations, and so on. Dealing with these symptoms can be very difficult, but some researchers say that marijuana could be of help. It can provide instant relief to the uncomfortable symptoms that result from any type of anxiety disorder.
Some of the benefits commonly reported include better sleep, improved relaxation, and an increased sense of calm.
Epilepsy is another form of a neurological disorder where the brain activity becomes increasingly abnormal, resulting in periods of unusual sensations, behaviour, loss of awareness, and seizures. Though there are medications used for treating in condition, medical marijuana has been found quite useful in easing symptoms associated with epilepsy. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of medical marijuana for treating two kinds of epilepsy syndromes – Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. Many people have claimed that marijuana can top the occurrence of seizures in patients. Studies claim that cannabidiol (CBD) found in marijuana is useful in controlling seizers.
Sleep Management –
Marijuana is known to result in relaxing effects, which is often found useful in improving sleep disorders, like insomnia. Sometimes, the pain-alleviating properties of marijuana also allow people to fall asleep.
Risks of Marijuana
Marijuana is known to trigger opioid-like effects when it reacts to the central nervous system. However, the risks are fewer as compared to other synthetic opioids available in the market. It also isn’t as addictive as the other substances.
There are two major reasons why so many people want marijuana to be legalized.
- Marijuana allows patients a safer option in managing chronic pain.
- Marijuana allows a safer and more effective way of treating opioid addiction.
Though there are many benefits to marijuana use, there are certain risks as well. Let’s take a look at some of the potential risks of using marijuana for medical reasons.
Hallucinogenic Effects –
Taking marijuana might result in mild hallucinations, altered perceptions, and poor motor skills. Due to these reasons, it is not safe to do certain activities under the influence of marijuana, such as driving a car or operating heavy machinery. Apart from being unsafe, it is also illegal in all states to drive under the influence of marijuana.
Depressant-Like Effects –
Marijuana is known to result in depressant-like effects, which is quite similar to the effects caused by alcohol consumption. You might seem relaxed and calm but might experience issues with concentration and coordination. Some also consider the depressive symptoms to be a side effect of using marijuana.
Stimulating Effects –
Marijuana is known to boost the mood, which can also become a side effect. It can easily turn into rapid breathing, increased blood pressure, and hyperactivity. However, these symptoms aren’t as common as the depressive symptoms.
Other Side Effects –
Marijuana use is also known to result in dry mouth, increased appetite, and bloodshot eyes. It is essential to note that the side effects will vary from one person to another. You won’t know the exact experience until you use it.
Legal Status of Marijuana
In January 2020, 11 states in the United States, including Washington D.C., have made the use of recreational marijuana legal, while 33 states have legalized marijuana use of medical purposes. You must understand the laws before thinking about using marijuana for medical reasons. Try communicating with your doctor regarding the advantages and disadvantages of marijuana use for your health condition.
Once you have talked, you can research about the laws in your state. If marijuana is legal in your state, you can be prosecuted when you travel to a state where it is not legal. Therefore, you should be very careful while using marijuana in order to avoid legal issues. While you are reading about marijuana, you should also try to understand how it is different from CBD clearly. Hemp-derived CBD products are known to contain less than 0.3 percent of THC, which makes it legal at the federal level.
You will find a variety of CBD products in the market, starting from CBD oil, edibles, and isolates. If you are interested in using CBD for your health condition, you can buy CBD isolate from IHF at attractive prices. However, it is essential to remember that it might still be illegal in some states. Hence, do your research on state laws to figure out the best option for your condition.
Marijuana is one of the most controversial topics in the world, both from the health and legal perspective.
There is a need for more research to explore the benefits of marijuana to allow both sides of the argument to come to a consensus on the use of marijuana in recreational and medical settings.
Meanwhile, it is essential to discuss your options with a healthcare professional or doctor. They will be able to offer expert advice and guidance with respect to marijuana use from a legal and medical standpoint.
It is never a good idea to try out a substance or drug for treating a medical condition all by yourself, even if the sources are plant-based.