Medical Marijuana: Its Uses and Side Effects

Posted: December 16, 2015 by

marijuana leaf

 

Arkansas has some of the strictest marijuana laws in the nation. But despite this, marijuana is the most popular drug in the state. While there is controversy about the drug’s recreational use, many people agree and believe that the drug should be legal for medical purposes. While using too much marijuana can cause negative side effects, medicinal marijuana is not without its benefits.

Medical marijuana refers to the whole unprocessed marijuana plant or its extracts, used to treat certain illnesses or pain. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved marijuana as a medicine. However, scientific studies regarding the chemicals in marijuana, which are called cannabinoids, have contributed to the creation of FDA-approved medications.

Cannabinoids are chemicals associated with delta-9-tetrahydrocannanibol (THC), marijuana’s primary psychoactive ingredient. There are a many other types of cannabinoids in a marijuana plant. Some of these are powerful enough to cause severe health issues when abused. Certain components of cannabinoids have garnered the interest of the medical community. Studies have shown that using medical marijuana properly has real health benefits.

What are the benefits of medical marijuana?

Marijuana can lessen glaucoma. Glaucoma increases pressure on the eyeball, damaging the optic nerves and causing blindness. Marijuana can be used to treat and even prevent this condition. It decreases pressure inside the eye, slowing the progression of the disease and preventing loss of vision.

Marijuana can reduce anxiety. Medical marijuana contains a chemical that plays a role in regulating pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, body movement, and awareness of time. It also balances appetite, pain, and the senses of taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight. In higher doses, however, marijuana may increase anxiety and lead to paranoia.

Marijuana can stop cancer from spreading. Studies have shown that the chemicals contained in marijuana turn off a gene that helps cancer spread. After treatment with marijuana, cancer cells decrease and spread less aggressively.

Marijuana can ameliorate epileptic seizures. Treatment with medical marijuana may help control seizures by strengthening the part of the brain that regulates calmness and relaxation.

Marijuana can stabilize the brain after a stroke. Strokes occur when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. Medical marijuana reduces the size of the area affected by stroke. Research also shows that marijuana can protect the brain after any traumatic event.

Marijuana can help stop alcoholism. Marijuana is said to be less dangerous than alcohol. The risk of getting addicted is smaller, and marijuana does less damage to the internal systems than heavy alcohol use. Some people substitute marijuana for alcohol because it has fewer adverse side effects and is less likely to cause withdrawal problems. These reasons make people think that marijuana might help patients struggling with alcoholism.

Marijuana can help treat other diseases.  Scientists are conducting trials with marijuana and its extracts to treat diseases like HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, inflammation, pain, seizures, substance use disorders, and mental disorders.

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