Benefits and Hazards of Medical Marijuana

Benefits and Hazards of Medical Marijuana

"The benefits and risks of marijuana" is the topic of debate from past many years. It is a narcotic drug collected from the dried flowering tops of cultivated female plant Cannabis sativa and family (Cannabinaceae).  It is known by various names Cannabis Indica, Indian hemp, Ganja etc. It is dull green in colour having strong odour and pungent taste. It is an amber or gold colored glassy solid when cold, which becomes viscous and sticky when warmed. Commercially it is produced in many parts of the world including India. In India major producing states are Maharashtra, West Bengal, Kashmir, and Kerala. Cultivation of marijuana drug can be done only under license from Government.


In Ancient time cannabis was used to dress wounds and sores on their horses, and in humans, dried leaves of drug were used to treat nose bleeds, seeds were used to expel tapeworms. So the ancient India confirms that cannabis consists of psychoactive properties, and doctors used it for treating a variety of illnesses and ailments including insomnia, headaches, gastrointestinal disorders, and pain, including during childbirth. The Ancient physicians made use of Cannabis as the diuretic, antiemetic, antiepileptic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic agent from 8th to 18th centuries.

An Irish physician William Brooke introduced the therapeutic use of cannabis to Modern world to treat muscle spasms, stomach cramps and general pain. In the 1970s, a synthetic drug of tetrahydrocannabinol was produced and approved for medical use in the United States.


It mainly consists of 15 to 20% resin which contains the active principle 1-3-4 trans tetrahydrocannabinol. It also contains volatile oil, trigonelline, choline, cannabinol, cannabidiol, cannabidiolic acid, cannabichromene and cannabigerol.


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It is the most commonly used as illicit drug mainly in the United States. It is available in the forms of edibles and pills. Marijuana extract is available in three forms honey, wax and shatter all these forms contains a larger amount of Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. It is the main active cannabinoid in cannabis, and it targets the CB1 receptor found in the brain, nervous system, liver, kidneys, and lungs - it is activated mainly to reduce the pain response. It can also reduce the neuropathic and nerve damage pain in HIV patients. When it is given in combination with opiates like morphine it shows synergistic effect and is effective for pain control. It is also used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. It is also effective in treatments for nausea in cancer patients, for glaucoma, appetite increase in HIV patients, and for schizophrenia. THC is choice of drug in people with Cancer dealing with pain and in now believed to help Alzheimer's also. It also shows a positive effect in severe pain, nausea, seizures, and frequent muscle spasms. Synthetic marijuana is available as prescription drugs in many countries; examples include dronabinol and nabilone.


Even most of the worldwide scholars claim that Marijuana do no harm to a person, there are many hidden hazards of cannabis.

The main risk of Marijuana includes addiction. Continuous use of marijuana makes youth addictive and has a direct effect on social life, academics, and career. It mainly affects the cognitive ability of an individual.

It rapidly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, and then reaches the brain; therefore, it over activates the brain receptors which develops the "high" feeling. Other side effects associated with marijuana are-altered sensory input, breathing problems (asthma), heart rate is increased. During pregnancy if marijuana is used then is liked to increase risk of brain and some behavioral problems in infants - which may cause attention, memory, and problem-solving disorders.

If marijuana is used for a longer time then it might cause temporary hallucinations and paranoia. Teenagers who smoke marijuana at least once a month more likely to have suicidal thoughts as compared to non-users.

The side effects of marijuana are due to binding of THC to cannabinoid receptors in the thinking, memory, pleasure, coordination, and time perception portions of the brain - therefore, use of marijuana can interfere with attention, balance, and judgment.

According to a survey done by Harvard Health Publications, he found that People who used marijuana are more likely to contract pneumonia, respiratory problems, vomiting, and diarrhea. Side effects contradictory effects on brain depending on the dose of drug. Other side effects include anxiety, mood disorders, psychosis, and also detrimental mental effects for some users. Use of marijuana in some people may calm them and in some, it brings anxiety and fear of social situations. The amount of active constituent in the marijuana also seems to have an impact on the level of anxiety in fact they are directly proportional to each other higher the active constituent, higher will be the anxiety in most cases. If the drug is used during early adolescence then it can increase psychosis.


Finally, after discussing its merits and demerits, we find that it seems to be safe in many cases and on the other hand it also harms some people genetically, mentally, and even physically. Thus, preference for marijuana is a personal decision, and it should be left up to the individual. It is seen that most of the marijuana crime numbers are due to illegal distribution charges, while the use of alcohol contributes to violence, domestic violence, drinking and driving accidents, injuries, and sexual assault. So In the case of marijuana, the benefit seems to outweigh the risks.

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