Understanding Whether Marijuana Is Good Or Bad For The Body And Soul
The National Institute of Health has issued a statement in which they believe that people have been using marijuana for the past 3,000 years to treat various symptoms and ailments. Yet, the Food and Drug Administration has yet to deem marijuana safe for humans or effective in treating any type of ailment.
We have seen many states within the United States legalize it, but just how safe is it?
We have see a country become quite divided over the use of marijuana as an effective form of treatment due to the lack of medical research and those that simply want it legalized for recreational drug use.
Recently, a study was published in Addiction which found that the regular use of marijuana was increasing across the United States, however, it was not directly linked to the legalization process. However, this rise in use has become a major health concern with many states.
Today, we are going to examine some of the various scientific research that has weighed the good and bad of regular marijuana usage to determine if one should use marijuana on a regular basis.
Understanding The Medical Benefits Of Marijuana
The past several years has brought about a number of studies that have shown just how marijuana can benefit some conditions and ailments. Several are listed below:
One of the largest studies came from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, in which they studied over 10,000 pieces of research on various benefits and adverse effects dealing with marijuana.
One of the areas that was examined rather closely was the use of marijuana and that of chronic pain. Chronic pain has lead to over 25 million adults in the United States alone missing work and other activities.
This study found that marijuana and other products that contained cannabinoids have the ability to alter the receptors in the brain and have the ability to diminish and relieve chronic pain.
Alcoholism and Drug Addiction
The Clinical Psychology Review published a comprehensive review that showed that the use of marijuana may help individuals fight alcohol or opioid dependencies and addictions.
However, there is a caveat to this piece of research as the National Academies of Sciences stated that the use of marijuana may actually increase the risk of abusing other substances.
In addition, one must also consider that the more they use marijuana, the more likely they are to develop a problem using it. Many studies have shown that people who begin using marijuana at an early age struggle with dependencies later in life, especially with marijuana.
Social Anxiety and Depression
The Clinical Psychology Review published a review that examined all of the published literature that studied the use of marijuana and mental illnesses.
Much of the evidence that was collected has suggested that the use of marijuana does have the ability to treat some forms of mental health conditions.
The author stated that after countless research, marijuana was shown to relieve some forms of depression as well as post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.
However, it should be known that the use of marijuana is not always the best form of treatment for conditions such as bipolar disorder and psychosis.
This study has shown that there is some evidence that suggests that the use of marijuan will help to alleviate some symptoms of social anxiety. However, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine contradicts this study by stating the exact opposite. They have found that regular use may actually lead to an increased risk of social anxiety.
There has been much evidence that has shown that oral cannabinoids are quite effective against the side effects of chemotherapy such as nausea and vomiting.
Is Alcohol Worse On The Body Than Marijuana?
There have been several studies that have recently been published that suggests that the use of alcohol is worse for the body and brain than marijuana.
In addition, there have been some studies that would suggest that the use of cannabinoids may actually help to slow down or even kill some forms of cancer. Some early studies of this fascinating hypothesis have shown that while cannabinoids are safe for treatment that have little to no effect at curing many forms of cancer.
Several research studies have shown that the use if marijuana has the abiltiy to control symptoms of spasticity from people dealing with MS, yet the effects have been modest at the very best.
A study that was published in 2017 showed that children who suffered from a rare form of epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome benefited from the use of a marijuana compound called cannabidiol
Dravet syndrome is potentially lethal and cause prolonged and repetitive seizures. Sadly, 1 out of 5 children diagnosed with Dravet syndrome will not make it to the age of 20.
The study that was published focused on 120 children between the age of 2 and 18, all of who were diagnosed with Dravet syndrome. They were randomly assigned a placebo or oral cannabidiol solution for 14 weeks in addition to their regular medication.
MRI Brain Scans
Researchers have shown that the use of marijuana could have the ability to treat epilepsy.
In recent studies, children who have received a cannabidiol solution were able to go from about 12 seizures a month to only 6. Of these children, three were able to have a month without any seizures while using the cannabidiol.
The children who were offered just the placebo also saw a slight decline in the number of seizures, however, this was generally from 15 seizures a month to 14 during the course of the study.
Scientists have stated that this 39 percent reduction is the evidence that is needed to show that the use of marijuana as a compound to help people living with Dravet syndrome is the proof that is needed.
However, it should be noted that this same study also found several side effects linked to the use of cannabidiol. During this study, 9 out of 10 of the children suffered several side effects including fever, fatigue, and vomiting.
Understanding The Health Risks Of Marijuana
While there seem to be some benefits to be seen with the use of marijuana, there are also some negative aspects as well. We have a few of those listed below:
Mental Health Issues
For those people who suffer with bipolar disorder, the daily use of marijuana has the ability to exacerbate the condition. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has suggested though that people with no history of the condition will not develop it through the use of marijuana.
However, some studies have suggested that even with moderate use of marijuana an individual will typically have more suicidal thoughts and an increased risk if developing depression.
In addition, an individual is more likely to develop psychosis, including schizophrenia with the use of marijuana. However, it was interesting to see that individuals with schizophrenia and other psychoses and a history that involves marijuana typically scored better of learning and memory tests.
While there is no direct correlation between the use of marijuana and cancer, the National Academies of Sciences found enough evidence to suggest that there is an increased risk for testicular cancer.
Studies have shown that regular smoking of marijuana and chronic coughs are linked, however, it is unclear if smoking marijuana leads to a decrease in lung functions, asthma, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
During a 2014 study, the relationship between marijuana use and lung disease was fully explored. However, it has been difficult to prove that the use of marijuana and lung cancer are linked together.
This study was published in the journal Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine and have come to the following conclusion.
Paraphrasing their quote, they believe that smoking even a little marijuana is not harmless and they strongly urge caution with regular usage. Whole they believe that using marijuana for medicinal use is not harmful to the lungs, it does have the ability to limit the lungs functions.
In addition, they do not condone the use of recreation usage and believe it should be avoided.
So is it good or bad for you?
The research and studies can not give a conclusive statement as to the harm or good marijuana can do for the brain and body. However, there are more and more studies and reviews being done on the subject. The one thing that is clear is the community needs to come to a conclusive stand on the issue of marijuana so the nation knows the solid facts.
The major health organizations all agree that more research and studies need to be done before they can stand behind the use of marijuana and cannabinoids as a regular treatment for many illnesses and ailments.
However, these studies are at a standoff due to the fact that marijuana has been classified as a Schedule One controlled substance by the DEA. Due to this classification, it imposes much scientific research and studies.
If you do live in a state where the medical use of marijuana is legal, it is wise to talk with your doctor about the factors you need to know before using marijuana for self treatment.
While there is some evidence that supports the use of marijuana for minor and major pain relief, you will not want to use it if you have a history of mental illness.
This is why it is essential to speak with a physician before the start if any new form of treatment.