- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Seven Benefits and Drawbacks of Marijuana Use
In the United States there is a constant battle to get marijuana legalized on a federal level. This is due to the war on drugs and the perception of marijuana as a gateway drug to harder drug use. Despite this however, there are many benefits to marijuana use. There are also some drawbacks too. Here are seven benefits and drawbacks to using marijuana on a daily basis.
Let's begin with some of the negative effects daily marijuana use can have.
· On a technicality, there is no such thing as medical marijuana. All marijuana contains the same chemicals. Calling it medical doesn’t change it on the particle level. (https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana-medicine)
· The main chemical in marijuana, THC, mixes with the chemicals around the hippocampus. This is the area of the brain where memories form. If the brain is still developing while using marijuana it can affect how memories get stored. This is like how long-term alcohol use affects the brain and why the legal age is 21. The brain does not finish developing until 25 though. (https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana/what-are-marijuanas-long-term-effects-brain)
· THC can hasten acute transient psychosis. This happens in patients who have a history of mental illness. It may cause hallucinations, delusions, and disturbances of normal behavior.
· It can cause "slacker behavior", and includes lower achievements and a diminished IQ. (http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/marijuana-use-may-be-harmful-to-mental-health-the-family-healthguide)
· When using marijuana on a daily basis addiction can occur. This can result in physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms. (https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/marijuana-addictive)
· Marijuana smoke has shown similar results to tobacco smoke. This results in a constant cough, increased sputum production, and wheezing. (http://learnaboutmarijuanawa.org/factsheets/tobacco.htm)
· Like alcohol consumption marijuana use slows judgment and reaction time while driving. (https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/does-marijuana-use-affect-driving)
The reasons people use marijuana are numerous. The benefits are still being studied. Here are seven we know about so far:
· Studies have shown that using marijuana can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s diseases. (http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/25/health/alzheimers-medical-marijuana/)
· Decreases the pain from a variety of illnesses including Parkinson’s, seizures, and nerve pain. (http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/25/health/alzheimers-medical-marijuana/)
· Although marijuana is associated with the munchies, it has shown to help balance blood sugar levels and prevent weight gain. (http://www.healthline.com/diabetesmine/treating_diabet)
· It can help control epileptic seizures. (https://www.epilepsycolorado.org/news-research/medical-marijuana/)
· It may help prevent the spread of cancer cells.
· Helps to offset the symptoms of chemotherapy and increases the appetite. (https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/patient/cannabis-pdq)
· Not a medical fact, but, marijuana has shown to help in the creative process.
There have been many studies done on marijuana and its effects on the body, but there is still more we can learn. For now we have quite a bit of information that helps those who want to use marijuana. Like any other medicine marijuana use has its own benefits and drawbacks. Marijuana use has shown the reduction of pain in patients, slow the progression of certain illnesses, and control appetite. On the downside it can affect brain function and its ability to form memories. Responsible use of marijuana is your best course of action.