Is Marijuana Helping or Hurting Peoples Health?
This tension, between a widespread belief that marijuana is an effective treatment for a wide assortment of ailments and a lack of scientific knowledge on its effects, has been somewhat exacerbated in recent times by a drive toward legalization. Twenty-nine states plus the District of Columbia have now made marijuana available for medical — and, in some states, recreational — purposes. A recent study published in the journal Addiction also found that use of marijuana is increasing sharply across the United States, although this rise may not be linked to the legalization of marijuana in participating states. Nevertheless, this rise in use is prompting major public health concerns. In this article, we look at the scientific evidence weighing the medical benefits of marijuana against its associated health risks in an attempt to answer this simple question: is marijuana good or bad? Over the years, research has yielded results to suggest that marijuana may be of benefit in the treatment of some conditions. These are listed below. Last year, a large review from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine assessed more than 10,000 scientific studies on the medical benefits and adverse effects of marijuana. One area in Florida looked closely at was the use of medical marijuana to treat chronic pain. Chronic pain is a leading cause of disability, affecting more than 25 million adults in the U.S. The review found that marijuana, or products containing cannabinoids — which are the active ingredients in marijuana, or other compounds that act on the same receptors in the brain as marijuana are effective at relieving muscle spams and chronic pain said a few Florida Marijuana Doctors. Another comprehensive review of evidence, published last year in the journal Clinical Psychology Review, revealed that using marijuana may help people with alcohol or opioid dependencies to fight their addictions. But this finding may be contentious; the National Academies of Sciences review suggests that marijuana use actually drives increased risk for abusing, and becoming dependent on, other substances. Also, the more that someone uses marijuana, the more likely they are to develop a problem with using marijuana. Individuals who began using the drug at a young age are also known to be at increased risk of developing a problem with marijuana use. The review published in Clinical Psychology Review assessed all published scientific literature that investigated the use of marijuana to treat symptoms of mental illness. Its authors found some evidence supporting the use of marijuana to relieve depression and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. That being said, they caution that marijuana is not an appropriate treatment for some other mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder and psychosis. The review indicates that there is some evidence to suggest that marijuana might alleviate symptoms of social anxiety, but again, this is contradicted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine review, which instead found that regular users of marijuana may actually be at increased risk of social anxiety. Evidence suggests that oral cannabinoids are effective against nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, and some small studies have found that smoked marijuana may also help to alleviate these symptoms. Another study published in 2017 discovered that a marijuana compound called cannabidiol may be effective at easing seizures among children with Dravet syndrome, which is a rare form of epilepsy. Dravet syndrome seizures are prolonged, repetitive, and potentially lethal. In fact, 1 in 5 children with Dravet syndrome do not reach the age of 20. The researchers found that the children who received the cannabidiol solution went from having around 12 seizures per month to an average of six seizures per month. Three children receiving cannabidiol did not experience any seizures at all. Children who received the placebo also saw a reduction in seizures, but this was slight — their average number of seizures went down from 15 each month before the study to 14 seizures per month during the study. The researchers say that this 39 percent reduction in seizure occurrence provides strong evidence that the compound can help people living with Dravet syndrome, and that their paper has the first rigorous scientific data to demonstrate this. However, the study also found a high rate of side effects linked to cannabidiol. More than 9 in 10 of the children treated with cannabidiol experienced side effects — most commonly vomiting, fatigue, and fever. Daily marijuana use in Orlando and other areas of Florida including Winter Park is believed to exacerbate existing symptoms of bipolar disorder among people who have this mental health problem. However, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report suggests that among people with no history of the condition, there is only limited evidence of a link between marijuana use and developing bipolar disorder. Moderate evidence suggests that regular marijuana users are more likely to experience suicidal thoughts, and there is a small increased risk of depression among marijuana users. Marijuana use is likely to increase risk of psychosis, including schizophrenia. But a curious finding among people with schizophrenia and other psychoses is that a history of marijuana use is linked with improved performance on tests assessing learning and memory.