Is the Use of Medical Cannabis Beneficial?
Also known marijuana, cannabis is the subject of considerable debate. Currently, eight U.S states legally permit the use of cannabis. The eight states where you can legally grow and smoke weed are Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. In November of last year, voting was conducted in five U.S states to decide whether or not to legalize recreational marijuana.
Following the voting, 4 states including Maine, Nevada, Massachusetts, and California approved recreational marijuana. Moreover, 4 other states including Montana, North Dakota, Arkansas, and Florida passed provisions related to medical marijuana/cannabis. This included loosening restrictions on an existing law by Montana. The voting conducted last year has sparked a fresh debate about the effects of cannabis on the body.
As of now, cannabis is legal in twenty-nine U.S states in one way or another. More importantly, or worryingly, sixty-eight million Americans or 21% of the population can now use cannabis/marijuana/weed without worrying about going to jail.
So, the question beckons: is cannabis/marijuana beneficial or harmful to the body?
This is never ending debate so the best way to determine whether cannabis/marijuana is beneficial or harmful to the body is using the available facts and figures. Following is how medical science sees the use of cannabis/marijuana.
Understanding the concept of medical cannabis
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that medical cannabis has helped popularize the use of cannabis/marijuana in the United States. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing is another debate. Right now, our focus is on understanding the concept of medical cannabis. In simple terms, medical cannabis is the name given to the use of whole, the unprocessed cannabis plant and its uncontaminated extracts to improve a symptom or treat a disease.
The source of the medical cannabis used to improve a symptom or treat a disease is a medicinal-grade cannabis plant carefully grown without the use of fertilizers and toxic pesticides. The healing properties of this cannabis come from its high levels of flavonoids and terpenes and high cannabidiol (CBD) content. In addition to the terpenes, flavonoids and cannabidiol content, medical cannabis contains some levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the active chemical in cannabis that gives recreational users what they’re after i.e. the psychoactive effect. In case you didn’t know that already, a psychoactive effect refers to the altering of the mood and perception.
Using seed exchanges and traditional plant breeding techniques, some growers have started to produce cannabis plants with lower levels of tetrahydrocannabinol and higher levels of CBD. The purpose of this is to improve the chances of medical cannabis successfully improving a symptom or treating a disease.
How medical practitioners see the use of medical cannabis
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is yet to approve medical cannabis. In spite of this, more and more physicians are endorsing the use of medical cannabis for improving a symptom or treating a disease.
In an interview with CBS, Vivek Murthy, an American physician and a former Public Health Service Commissioned Corps vice admiral, acknowledged that cannabis may be useful in treating certain medical conditions. Similarly, Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon and the chief medical correspondent of CNN, publicly endorsed the use of medical cannabis.
Why using medical cannabis makes sense
As mentioned earlier, all forms of cannabis contain some levels of the active chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is something the critics of medical cannabis use to undermine its effectiveness in treating diseases and improving symptoms. The general argument is that if high levels of THC enter your body, you may experience health problems such as paranoia and anxiety, dry, red eyes, increased hunger, insomnia, and impaired memory. This may be somewhat true but it does not in any way prove that cannabis is harmful to the body.
Most critics of medical cannabis intentionally choose to ignore cannabis substances such as cannabidiol. Many scientific studies prove that cannabidiol is quite effective in relieving pain, especially chronic pain. This is enough to conclude that using medical cannabis makes sense.
There you have it—the facts and figures related to cannabis. Now that you know how medical cannabis works and what effects it has on your body, you can determine whether or not the use of cannabis is right for you.