In recent years, the social stigma around marijuana has decreased ever since research claimed that it has invaluable medicinal uses and is more or less harmless even for recreational purposes. With the legalization of marijuana in various U.S. states, including Pennsylvania and California, a variety of products have emerged including items ranging from medical marijuana bottles to cannabis cookies.
Also known simply as cannabis, Marijuana is a plant that has been used historically as a remedy for centuries around the world. Consisting of two major components called delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), this drug is found to have a number of health benefits that include relieving pain, treating nausea and vomiting, alleviating insomnia and addressing disorders of anxiety and depression.
Here are some things that one should keep in mind about medical marijuana.
1. How useful is it?
Most people admit that the only reason they smoke pot is for recreational purposes. However, an increasing number does rely on it for treating conditions like the ones mentioned above. But to what extent is medicinal marijuana helpful?
According to most doctors, the answer is: it depends. While some people certainly seem to benefit from it, there are always others who do not. Some users even report aggravated anxiety and paranoia — similar to the side effects of Ambien. The staff at dispensaries is usually able to help you out in this regard by suggesting formulations for your condition.
While many people think self-treating with cannabis is a safe option, it might not always be.
2. What is the proper way to take it?
As mentioned above, one visit to the medical dispensary will make you realize that marijuana now comes in a variety of forms, each having varying levels of active components and potency. The drug is no longer limited to just joints and brownies. It should also be noted that the effects of the drug also vary from person to person and are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to predict. This is why the method of intake is something one should consider since it impacts the potency of the drug.
Marijuana can be consumed as laced edibles (cookies, brownies or even lollipops and candies). It can be applied in the form of a cream. It can be smoked up as dried leaves or vaped. It also comes in the form of oil that can be mixed in tea or other drinkables. It can even be sprayed under the tongue for effect.
Most doctors would not advise their patients to smoke marijuana since that may include the negative effects of tobacco. Oils and sprays are considered better options and are more recommended than edibles or dried leaves. Dr. Rhee, an MD in San Francisco, says she prefers it if her patients eat it, so as to avoid lung-related problems like cough and asthma.
3. Who should not use it?
Young people, usually those below the age of 20, are not advised to take marijuana since they are more susceptible to its adverse effects — their brains are still developing. A study by Duke University that tracked marijuana users for 25 years was able to prove that the drug causes a drop in IQ and memory loss. Other studies have depicted that using marijuana before the age of 15 can cause severe problems, including the risk of psychosis and schizophrenia.
The medicinal uses of marijuana are also not recommended for women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Research by the British Medical Journal discovered that the use of the drug may cause anemia or miscarriage. Even in cases where a baby was born, he or she was likely to be weaker and needed to be kept in intensive care longer than usual.
4. Are there any side effects?
According to research from 2013, it was discovered that prolonged use of marijuana leads to less production of dopamine, which is a chemical in our brains responsible for motivation. This often leads to what is commonly known as the “slacker syndrome,”’ something noticed in the behavior of long-term users. Short-term effects include distorted thoughts, slow thinking, slow response, difficulty paying attention or paying too much attention to one thing.
This drug also makes one extremely hungry and thirsty — “munchies” as they call it. Cravings are usually for junk food like pizza, fries, burgers or popcorn.
Though there is no doubt about the fact that marijuana has some incredible medicinal uses, doctors still advise you to proceed with caution. They are generally of the opinion that rather than solving our health problems, marijuana use often leads to more issues. The main reason for so much ambiguity is the gap in research related to the subject. That research is slowly but surely growing, and it might change medical opinion on the drug soon as well!
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