Controversy continues over the therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana. More than 30 states in the United States allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes. And an increasing number allow recreational use. However, the federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance.
This federal classification prohibits the possession of marijuana. It also limits medical research on the potential benefits of cannabis .
The arguments for and against legalizing marijuana are hot topics. This article explains the pros and cons of medical marijuana, as well as the scientific evidence.
Americans overwhelmingly support the legalization of marijuana. In fact, 91% of Americans support the legalization of marijuana, according to the Pew Research Center. Of these, 60% believe that it should be allowed for medical and recreational use, while 31% believe that it should only be allowed for medical reasons .
Several potential health benefits of medical marijuana have been suggested:
- Nausea : Marijuana is effective for nausea and vomiting. Research has shown that cannabis can reduce chemotherapy -induced nausea and nearly eliminate vomiting.
- Muscle relaxant : Marijuana can reduce muscle tension sometimes associated with multiple sclerosis and paralysis.
- Appetite : Marijuana can help treat loss of appetite associated with diseases such as HIV / AIDS and certain types of cancer.
- Chronic pain : Marijuana can relieve certain types of chronic pain, including neuropathic pain caused by nerve damage.
And the arguments for using medical marijuana include:
- It's safer : Marijuana is safer than other pain relievers. For example, some people may use it in place of opioids for pain relief. Opioids are highly addictive and generally not recommended for long-term use in the treatment of chronic pain.
- You can use it in many ways – you don't need to smoke cannabis due to its benefits. Products such as cannabidiol (CBD) oil, topical pain relievers, food and other non-smoking products are now available.
- No need to get high – research continues, and researchers are finding benefits in individual cannabis compounds. When these chemicals, like CBD , are isolated, they can offer treatment options without the "highs" produced by a compound commonly known as THC.
- It's natural : People have used marijuana as a natural medicine for centuries with good results.
While marijuana has many benefits, it does have its drawbacks. Some of the arguments of those who oppose its use include:
- Memory : Frequent use of marijuana can seriously affect your short-term memory .
- Cognition – Frequent use can affect your cognitive (thinking) ability.
- Lung damage : Smoking anything, be it tobacco or marijuana, can damage lung tissue. Additionally, smoking marijuana can increase your risk of lung cancer .
- Potential for abuse : Marijuana carries the risk of abuse and dependence.
- Accidents : Marijuana use affects driving skills and increases the risk of a collision with a car.
- Illegal : Marijuana is prohibited by federal law . The Federal Drug List System classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) along with heroin. This classification suggests that the substances do not currently have a recognized medicinal value.
Scientific evidence remains limited
In the past, clinical trials to determine whether marijuana is effective in treating certain conditions have been restrictive and limited. However, as medical marijuana becomes more prevalent around the world, researchers are doing more research.
However, peer reviews of ongoing research continue to point to the need for more research. Additionally, many barriers are associated with quality control and dosing of cannabis using what is legally available to researchers.
A review of studies noted that the long-term effects of cannabis are still unknown. Without more research on dosages and side effects, the scientific evidence for the therapeutic effects of cannabis will continue to be questioned.
Researchers must evaluate marijuana using the same standards as other drugs to understand how beneficial it is for treating any disease.
Until the federal government downgrades marijuana to a Schedule I drug, it is unlikely that large-scale clinical trials will be conducted in the United States.
Medical marijuana is becoming increasingly available in the United States. It is often used to treat chronic pain, muscle cramps, nausea and vomiting, and to increase appetite. However, it can affect thinking and memory, increase the risk of accidents, and smoking can damage the lungs and lead to cancer.
More research is needed to understand the benefits of medical marijuana. However, until the federal government removes it as a substance from Schedule I, research, access and legality will remain a challenge.
Get the word of drug information
Medical marijuana has benefits and risks. If you plan to use marijuana for medical purposes, don't be afraid to talk to your doctor about it . They can help you determine if marijuana is right for you.
Medical marijuana remains a controversial topic, but it is becoming increasingly popular as a legal prescription for a variety of symptoms. Although many states have legalized cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes, more research is needed.