Cannabis, commonly known as Marijuana, weed or pot is famous as a drug substance.
Cannabis, commonly known as Marijuana, weed or pot is famous as a drug substance. Did you know that it can also be used for medical purposes? It is used to help ease chronic pains and as an anti-inflammatory. Despite its medical uses, there is a reason Cannabis is banned in most states. This is because of its addictive nature. Then, should we use and support it as a medicine? Or, should we steer clear of it completely and look for an alternative? What are the pros and cons of medical cannabis? Here is some insight on the same.
What is Chronic Pain?
What exactly is it?
Well, chronic pain is any ongoing pain, severe or mild, lasting longer than six months. This pain can be caused due to some illness or injury which has not properly healed. Chronic pain is often mistaken for acute pain but there is a difference.
Acute pain is a temporary pain which may vary in intensity. It does not last longer than the injury or illness causing it. Stubbing a toe is an example of acute pain while joint pain in old age is chronic pain. The most common chronic pains include headaches, cancer pain, arthritis, neurogenic pain (caused by nerve damage), back pains and post-surgical pain.
How does Cannabis help?
Cannabis has around 120 natural components called cannabinoids. Of these only 2 components are properly studied yet.
- CBD – Cannabidiol(CBD) is used as an anti-inflammatory. This component is a non-euphoric and non-intoxicating drug. Due to these properties, it is the only cannabinoids approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- THC – Tetrahydrocannabinol is the addictive and euphoric part of the cannabinoids. This is responsible for the ‘high’ feeling experienced by those who consume this drug.
The Pros & Cons of Cannabis
Cannabis is a drug banned in most countries. Still, one cannot ignore the medical applications of it. Knowing this, one may question, is consuming it as a medicine even worth it? Let’s look at the pros and cons which may help you decide.
Marijuana has a relaxing effect. Hence, it can be used to help with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). It can also be beneficial to people dealing with depression or social anxiety. But it comes with a price. Once our brain builds up a tolerance to the Cannabis we start craving more. Using it as a crutch to deal with social anxiety might further increase it as one may not feel comfortable in public without a dose of cannabis.
Cannabis helps with nausea or sleep apnea. Cancer patients, when undergoing chemotherapy face nausea and vomiting as a side-effect of their treatment. Cannabis helps in easing nausea and muscle spasms caused due to multiple sclerosis. Similarly, it has proved very helpful for epilepsy patients, even children. The seizures were reduced by 40% once they had been prescribed by a cannabinoid oil. This oil is called Epidiolex and does not contain THC, preventing the patients from getting addicted to it.
Cannabis consumption has increased among pregnant women, either for treating morning sickness or for recreation. Either use may bring momentary relaxation to the mother but the growth of the baby is affected. Most babies in such case are born with low birth weight, anaemia, impaired impulse control, low concentration span, weak memory and such. This could affect the child throughout life.
Prolonged Cannabis use leads to impaired cognitive ability. It means that the ability to learn, reason, solve problems, understand complex ideas and learn from experience gets hampered. As human beings, we heavily depend on our ability to reason and solve. Marijuana trades momentary relaxation with our ability to reason. Along with this it also affects our short-term memory. Lung tissues get damaged by smoking marijuana. Smoked Marijuana also carries Cancer-causing compounds making it a serious risk to death.
Apart from these medical reasons Cannabis is also a major cause of many car accidents. Driving under the influence of marijuana is a crime and a safety hazard. By driving intoxicated you endanger your life and those of others on the road. A lapse in judgement can cause a major accident.
Despite these ill-effects of Cannabis, it has been used as a medical agent for centuries. The argument for it is that it is much safer and effective than any other pain killers. It need not be smoked to take effect. One can consume cannabis in form of oils and other edible forms. This provides effective and a much safer intake method.
Whatever advantages that are presented for Cannabis to be a useful and effective medicinal agent it remains legally banned. Hence it is advised to avoid intake of cannabinoid drugs unless under proper prescription from your doctor.
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