Marijuana: Is It Good or Bad?

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Oct 11, 2019

Marijuana: Is It Good or Bad?

It is said that our human bodies are merely instruments in the vast universe, and if taken from a logical standpoint, one can deduce that human beings are simply grounded on nature. Considering this, it is only natural that we have observed such patterns in human societies through time. Thousands of years of records show human societies in close contact with their environments, discovering and using ingredients provided for by their respective environments to obtain food and medicine. Such cognizance and application of these plants as food and medicine have been recognized through trial and error, and gradually through the process, humans gained the capability to meet their needs from the surroundings. 

Data on the use of medicinal plants has long been conveyed from generation to generation, and from then on, this string of human knowledge has helped improve the progression of civilizations and necessities. Based on records, medicinal plants are utilized in almost all cultures, and these plants include the marijuana plant. However, its significance in society seems to have been lost in translation - at some point in history, others have discovered a brand new use for it. This has caused a division on the use of the marijuana plant; the other side pushes for its legalization and the other half, its continuous limitation. With the current state of things, however, ensuring the quality and effectiveness of medicine is a key issue in every aspect of the world. This is why most wish for the legalization of marijuana to materialize. Herbal drugs can help the emergence of a new era of the healthcare system to treat human diseases in the future. Still, however, the idea of the fickle human continuing to bastardize the plant is not very far off.  

Marijuana’s Origin and Uses 

Nature has always been a wonder, much so with respect to showcasing the phenomena of coexistence. Organic products from plants, minerals, and animals have always been the basis of treating human diseases, even with the onset of man-made drugs. Presently, however, medicinal plants are slowly rising in demand, and the acceptance of their benefits is rapidly increasing. Indubitably, plants play a vital role by providing the essentials in ecosystems. Without plants, humans and other organisms alike will not be able to survive. Medicinal plants have been used by humans since prehistoric times. With trial and error, civilizations then could use them as fuel, clothing, shelter and food, among other things. Today, we can also deduce that the benefits of medicinal plants are endless, and such concept can also be applied to the case of marijuana. 

The Positive Effects of Marijuana

Though limited to an extent, the research on the uses of marijuana proves to be promising. In fact, researchers believe that it could impact tens of thousands of adults and children, as the marijuana plant has shown prowess in the treatment of epilepsy, cancer and even the dreaded Alzheimer’s, to name a few. Considering the concept of pain alone, marijuana has been shown, time and time again, to greatly reduce the demand for narcotics. This can also lower the cases of accidental painkiller overdose, deemed as one of the leading causes and most preventable death in the United States. Marijuana, according to available research, is a medicine. It should therefore be studied and treated like other medicines. From a physician’s point of view, health risks developing from smoking marijuana have very little evidence. This statement relies heavily on the fact that marijuana has been smoked widely in Western countries for four decades – and no reported cases of lung cancer or emphysema have ever been attributed to marijuana. Many argue that cities with poor air quality carries more danger than smoking a dose of marijuana a day. 

Marijuana for Mental Health 

For many patients with psychiatric disorders, the use of marijuana results to improvement in their symptoms, regardless of its legal status. Marijuana is used to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety disorders, PTSD, depression, insomnia, ADHD, and even eating disorders. Moreover, those people suffering make use of marijuana for neurological conditions like agitation in dementia, exact seizure disorders, and agitation in dementia, all of which remain unresponsive to traditional therapies. Records also show cancer patients making use of marijuana, mostly to improve their mood and outlook. 

Marijuana for the Creative Process 

A known effect of marijuana is, of course, altering an individual’s mental state. Many look to marijuana and its mind-altering properties as aid to one’s creative process. Previous cases show that marijuana serves as a muse to reinforce the creative genius, which is apparent in the music scene. One key component of creativity is divergent thinking, which pertains to the human brain’s ability to see things in a variety of perspectives. Here, a person is enabled to look at something from a multitude of angles, mostly in a way they have never seen before. Divergent thinking is said to be induced by marijuana, along with hyper-priming. In psychology, this is defined as an effect where discovering a concept helps make other related concepts even more accessible. The frontal lobe of the human brain is where these activities take place – marijuana has access to it. 

Marijuana for Medical Purposes 

Research shows that the most common use of medical marijuana in America is to alleviate pain. Marijuana is not strong enough for severe pain, which a broken bone or post-surgical pain could induce. Nevertheless, marijuana proves to be quite potent for chronic pain that affects most of the country’s population, especially those that appear in advanced age. Studies show that marijuana is safer than opiates, as an overdose on marijuana is not possible and the possibility of developing an addiction is lesser. Many also argue that it can take the place of traditional painkillers like Advil, which cannot be taken by people who suffer from kidney problems, ulcers, or GERD. Marijuana also appears to ease nerve pain and relax muscles – people with Parkinson’s disease swear by the marijuana plant, as they report to have less tremors after consumption. Along these lines, it is also shown to help patients suffering from syndromes associated with HIV and Crohn’s disease. 

Marijuana for Recreation 

Recreational marijuana is used to intentionally change an individual’s state of consciousness, which often results to the production of feelings of happiness and exhilaration. When the constituent enters the user’s system, it produces an intoxicating effect, which people refer to as a “high”. Marijuana for recreation can be taken in several forms. It is commonly smoked, in the form of a dry and shredded mix of green and brown flowers, leaves, stems, and seeds. It can be smoked as a joint, a blunt, or in a pipe or bong. Other users also mix marijuana in food, or even brewed as tea. Marijuana used for recreation has boundaries, of course. For it to be classified as “recreation”, it has to be occasional. The marijuana user should also be easily able to decide whether to use it or not, with no particular compulsion involved. 

The Negative Effects of Marijuana

One the other end of the spectrum, people argue that there is no such thing as medical marijuana. Marijuana is one of the most frequently used illegal drugs in US states that are yet to legalize it. Those against its legalization argue that its consumption poses many health risks, and on the front lines is the threat of addiction. There is a long debate about the extent of its addictive properties, particularly in physical and psychological. There are research showing that this is true, especially concerning long-term users and youth, a market segment who started their marijuana habit using high THC and the psychoactive ingredient. Other scientists also push researches that show how marijuana affects motor responses. According to these studies, marijuana impairs motor coordination and reaction time significantly, which makes use a detriment to driving and other preventable accidents. Although marijuana is recognized as safer compared to other drugs and alcohol and tobacco, it still causes many health issues. This is backed up by the negative experiences reported by some marijuana users.

The Marijuana Stigma 

The use of hallucinogenic drugs can be traced back to ancient societies, as these were mostly used for religion, magic, and medicine. Despite the survival of these traditions used up until today, the contemporary culture has found another approach to marijuana use – recreation. This has become a common practice, but along with this came the drastic shift in societal perception. This perception has long been existing in the United States, which many argue where the early stigma came from. The stigma was rooted from racism and prejudiced perceptions of its users. Due to the psychoactive components of marijuana, there was propaganda spread around about its adverse health effects. Moreover, recreational users were often perceived as criminals; according to the stigma, if you were a user, then you would commit theft, rape, and murder. The stigma was further solidified after the official passing of the marijuana prohibition law, where the people became further convinced that marijuana was, indeed, bad. This happened despite the emergence of potent scientific evidence proving that marijuana is beneficial.

Marijuana and Drug Abuse

The use of marijuana can potentially lead to the development of substance abuse, which is known as a marijuana use disorder. In severe cases, this takes the form of addiction. Recent studies suggest that over 30% of individuals who use marijuana may have developed some degree of marijuana use disorder. Researchers also note that those who engage in marijuana use before the age of 18 are more likely to develop this marijuana use disorder, more so than adults. This disorder is often linked with dependence, a situation in which an individual experiences withdrawal symptoms when left without the presence of the substance in the body system. 

Marijuana and Brain Development

There are evidence that point a link between marijuana and brain development. According to research, people who begin using marijuana as teenagers can lead to impairment in thinking, learning, and memory functions. Data also reveals that marijuana also affects the brain process, particularly one that builds connections between the brain areas necessary for normal bodily functions. However, continuous research on marijuana’s adverse effects is being conducted, along with the feasibility of such effects to be irreversible. 

Different Perspectives on Marijuana

Given the fact that marijuana remains to be a subject of debate, it is only natural that views on its usage exist on varying degrees. On one hand, we look at the accounts of those who have experienced the medical wonders of marijuana. Their narrative dictates that the marijuana plant, indeed, has given them refuge no modern medicine can ever achieve. On the other, we consider the perspective of those who rally against marijuana. To them, the plant merely brings forth multiple problems and should remain illegal. 

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