Cannabis, also commonly known as marijuana, is an intoxicating and illegal recreational drug. However, science is slowly changing marijuana’s negative reputation. Scientific work with two chemicals from the marijuana plant, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), has produced a number of FDA-approved drugs.
THC gives out a psychoactive effect while CBD counteracts THC. THC-based Dronabinol and Nabilone are given to chemotherapy patients to counteract nausea. These drugs are also given to AIDS patients with extreme weight loss conditions as appetite stimulants. Naxibimols are proven to help the muscle control issues of people with multiple sclerosis. CBD-based epidiolex is up for FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) approval as a marijuana-based drug for epileptic children.
If marijuana is perceived by some to have a narcotic effect rather than a viable medical remedy, what are the possible uses for the drug? Listed below are the pros and cons of medical marijuana.
Benefits of Medical Marijuana
- Relieves Pain without Fear of Death from Overdose
There have been numerous patient stories where their quality of life has been greatly improved when they switched from narcotics-based pain relievers to medical marijuana. Adequate clinical research affirms the efficacy of medical marijuana in cases of chronic and complex pain associated with cancer and multiple sclerosis. Scientific studies point out that a marijuana overdose is unlikely when used as medicine. Research identifies that 140-pound individual must ingest at least 4 pounds of marijuana, or an estimated 120,000 puffs of a marijuana joint, to overdose.
- Can Address Conditions in Severe Medical Sicknesses
FDA-approved marijuana-based drugs are legally available to treat nausea among chemotherapy patients, stimulate appetite among AIDS patients, and control seizures among children suffering from epilepsy.
- No Evidence of Lung Disease from Marijuana Smoking
There are no reported cases of lung or throat cancer that develop despite ingesting medical marijuana through smoking.
Counter-indications of Medical Marijuana Use
- Impairs Short-term Memory, Judgment, and General Perceptions
Because of THC’s psychoactive properties that impact the brain, taking medical marijuana among the youth can cause long-term memory loss and impaired cognitive development.
- Increased Risk for Psychosis
THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, has psychoactive properties that could trigger panic attacks at the minimum and psychosis, or even schizophrenia in worst cases.
- A threat of Being a Gateway Drug
Marijuana usage among the young, especially if medically unsupervised, pose the possibility of marijuana becoming a gateway experience to experimenting with other more complex and lethal drugs and substances.
- Not Enough Studies to Validate Claims
Prescribing medical marijuana is still in its infancy stage. More scientific and controlled studies must be conducted to validate the claims of efficacy in treatment of various medical conditions.
Marijuana still wears the stigma of being associated with illegal narcotics. Even if some states and countries have already legalized medical marijuana, the pros and cons of medical marijuana is largely dependent upon the patient and the medical supervision given. More research is still needed to validate claims of efficacy and improved quality of life after treatment. Medical supervision remains to be the key in any successful sickness treatment plan.