Cannabis has been used for centuries for a variety of purposes, including for medicinal purposes; however, the term “medical marijuana” is more likely to be used to describe its medical benefits and effects.
According to the NIH (National Institutes of Health), people have been using cannabis or medicinal marijuana to treat their illnesses for more than 3,000 years. But such chemicals have also been shown to be unsafe and harmful for medical purposes.
(A) Cannabis as A Blessing
After years of research, the results that were yielded that medicinal marijuana has many benefits, few of them are listed below.
1. Chronic Pain
Cannabis has been shown to be useful in relieving chronic pain for hundreds of years. In various studies, it has been noted that cannabinoids working via central CB1 receptors and probably peripheral CB1 and CB2 receptors, play an important role in modeling nociceptive reactions in several ailments.
These studies further state that marijuana may be effective in modifying or relieving neuropathic pain even in very small amounts.
2. Improvement in Lung Capacity
Unlike cigarette smoking, the use of cannabis in smoking will not affect or harm the lungs. In fact, several studies have shown that cannabis actually helps increase lung capacity without causing them any harm.
3. Weight Loss
If we thoroughly notice among cannabis users, we will notice that cannabis users are usually not overweight. The reason for this is that cannabis is linked in helping our body to regulate insulin levels while effectively consuming calories.
Through its effect on insulin, cannabis helps prevent and regulate diabetes. Some studies have proven that cannabis is useful in stabilizing blood sugar, lowering blood pressure and improving blood circulation in the human body.
One of the biggest medical benefits of cannabis or medicinal marijuana is also known to fight cancer. There is a lot of evidence that cannabinoids can help fight cancer or at least certain types.
Cannabinoids (THC and cannabidiol) have a significant anti-inflammatory effect due to their ability to induce apoptosis, inhibit cell proliferation, and suppress cytokine production. Cannabidiol has attracted concentration to itself as an anti-inflammatory due to its lack of psychoactive effects.
Animal experiments have shown that cannabidiol is a promising candidate and effective partner in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and for other inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
7. Regulate Seizures
Research conducted on cannabis has shown that it can help control seizures in patients with epilepsy. The substance cannabidiol is effective in treating the disease. There are still ongoing studies that will identify and determine the effect of cannabis on people with epilepsy.
The main phenomenon is that THC controls seizures by binding to brain cells responsible for controlling excitability and regulating relaxation in brain and body cells.
Glaucoma is a condition that leads to additional pressure on the eyeball that damages the optic nerve and can even cause vision loss. Cannabis can help reduce pressure on the eyeballs by providing temporary relief to a person who has glaucoma.
9. Multiple Sclerosis
Medicinal marijuana works to reduce the negative neurological effects and muscle cramps and muscle contractions caused by multiple sclerosis. Cannabis can relieve the painful symptoms of this condition.
10. Parkinson’s Disease
The chemicals in cannabis help in reducing the tremors and pains and improving the sleep of the Parkinson’s patient. It is also known to improve the motor skills of the patient.
The therapy of nausea and vomiting linked with chemotherapy was one of the first medical uses of THC and other cannabinoids. The THC is a helpful antiemetic in patients experiencing chemotherapy, but marijuana is often recommended because of its effectiveness in suppressing nausea.
It can be seen that some other unidentified compounds in marijuana will potentiate the effect of THC, as appears with THC and cannabidiol, which act through various anti-emetic mechanisms.
12. Alleviate Anxiety
Cannabis is well known to relieve anxiety. It is also known to cause anxiety, but the picture has two sides. Cannabis, if taken in a monitored dosage and in the right way, can help reduce anxiety and calm the user. It acts as a sedative to relieve mental and physical stress.
13. Protection of Brain After Stroke
Research done on rats, mice and monkeys shown that cannabis is very useful in protecting the brain from damage caused by stroke, reducing the size of the area affected by the stroke.
Some research also shown that the cannabis plant can help protect the brain after other traumatic events such as concussions.
(B) Cannabis as A Harm
1. Mental Illness
Regular use of marijuana even for medicinal purposes can lead to an increased risk of anxiety and depression. Marijuana is also said to be the cause of psychosis, including schizophrenia, especially in people with a genetic vulnerability that already exists.
Higher marijuana use, higher drug effectiveness, and drug exposure in a teenager can all negatively affect the course of the disease. Long-term cannabis use also seriously affects a person’s short-term memory.
THC mixes with a part of the brain called the brain and basal ganglia that regulate balance, posture, coordination, and the body’s reaction time. When these areas of the brain are disturbed, a person has difficulty walking and speaking properly, becoming quite clumsy. It also affects their ability to drive and attend public meetings.
2. Testicular Cancer
Although there is no such evidence to support the fact that cannabis causes cancer, the National Academies of Science have found some evidence to prove that there is an increased risk of a slow-growing sub-type of testicular cancer seminoma.
Smoking cannabis increases the risk of depression in young people who have a genetic vulnerability that existed before mental illness. This plant takes control of the brain and dominates our thinking abilities.
It triggers negative thoughts in our brain and the person often tries to commit suicide. Long-term cannabis smoking increases the symptoms of depression in people with a special serotonin gene responsible for the increased risk of depression.
4. Intense Anxiety, Fear, Distrust, Or Panic Attacks
Somewhere between 20 and 30% of recreational cannabis users suffer from anxiety, fear and often get panic attacks, making it one of the most commonly reported side effects of marijuana. Sometimes it also refers to a feeling of insecurity in a person.
5. Dizziness and Migraines
People who use cannabis suffer from mild dizziness, and at some point, the immediate result of marijuana use can cause extreme headaches. In this way, drug use can prove fatal because most people move straight into the driver’s seat after smoking cannabis.
Although there are laws and regulations in places that prevent people from driving under the influence of drugs, it is still challenging to analyze what effect a person has, sometimes dizziness can be mild, but sometimes it can be to the point that a person loses control and potentially causes a terrible accident.
6. Risk of Heart Attack
If a person is a heart patient, he can risk his life when he takes the substance. Even if there are no complications, still taking medicine can increase his chance of having a heart attack for a few hours!
Many studies have shown that cannabis users will usually feel an increase in heart rate, and they can be expected to develop a risk of a heart attack 5 times in just a few minutes after taking the drug. With a few studies, it’s no surprise that most doctors don’t advocate using medications in moderation or without a doctor’s prescription.
Cannabis is the most contentious topic nowadays, there is ample evidence showing both the health benefits and harmful effects of cannabis
Despite the emergence over the last few years of very comprehensive, up-to-date reviews and research of scientific studies assessing the benefits and harms of cannabis, it is clear that more research is needed to fully determine the consequences of the increase in cannabis use on public health.
Some countries have even legalized drugs, but there are still some doubts about openly buying and selling marijuana. The plant is whether it is a blessing in disguise or a curse, it depends on the amount and intensity of drug use.
This varies from person to person and the endurance level of each user. But it is very necessary to consult a doctor before using the drug. Everything superfluous is harmful.
Never attempt to use any drug or substance includes plant-based sources like cannabis for medical purpose on your own.
Written By Wajeeha Rani (BSc Hons. Human Nutrition and Dietetics)