Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in the world and there is growing concern about the mental health effects of cannabis use. These concerns are at least partly due to the strong increase in recreational and medical cannabis use and the rise in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels. Cannabis is widely used to self-medicate by older people and people with brain disorders such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
Having said that we have different pros and cos to medical cannabis.
- The Pros:
- The legalization of marijuana for medical reasons is viewed favorably by many Americans, including members of the medical community and Congress. Some of the arguments for medical marijuana include:
- Medical cannabis is effective in relieving nausea and vomiting. Studies have shown that pharmaceutical cannabis can decrease nausea caused by chemotherapy used to treat cancer and almost completely eliminate vomiting.
- Medical cannabis can relieve the spasticity of the muscles that is sometimes associated with multiple sclerosis and paralysis.
- Medical cannabis can help treat appetite loss associated with conditions such as HIV/AIDS and certain types of cancers.
- Medical cannabis can relieve certain types of chronic pain, including neuropathic pain.
- Medical cannabis is safer than some other medications prescribed to treat the same symptoms. For example, it may be used instead of opioids for pain management. Opioids are highly addictive and are typically not recommended for long-term use in treating chronic pain.
- Medical cannabis does not need to be smoked to be medically beneficial. Products such as cannabidiol (CBD) oils, topical pain relief treatments, edibles, and other non-smoking applications are now available.
- As research continues, more of the individual compounds in cannabis are being found to be beneficial. When isolated—such as CBD has been—these may lead to further advancements in medical treatment options without the “high” produced by the compound commonly known as THC.
- Medical cannabis has been used for centuries as a natural medicinal agent to good effect.
- The Cons
- For every person who advocates for the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, there is another who argues against it. Some of the arguments from the opposition include:
- Frequent cannabis use can seriously affect your short-term memory which is a major cons.
- Frequent use can impair your cognitive ability.
- Smoking anything, whether it’s cannabis, can seriously damage your lung tissue.
- Smoked cannabis contains cancer-causing compounds.
- Medical cannabis carries a risk of abuse and addiction.
- Medical cannabis has been implicated in a high percentage of automobile crashes and workplace accidents.
- Marijuana is illegal under federal law. It is classified as Schedule I drug in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), alongside heroin. This classification says that the substances have no currently accepted medicinal value.
Whether you believe the health risks of marijuana are minimal or not, circumstance will vary from case to case. As with any prescription drug there are potential dangers and side effects. Discuss all the options available to you with your doctor before trying medical marijuana. There may be additional health risks and drawbacks, or there may not. Ultimately, the question to ask yourself is if the pros of using the drug outweigh the cons.
Another pros is this:
Big Business: Weed is big business. Whether you’re keeping the money in the hands of criminals or handing it over to corporations, there is always going to be a market for marijuana. California recently saw $2.7 billion in medical marijuana sales. The benefit of this money to the state cannot be undersold. The tax dollars on that amount of weed helped a lot of schools and governments.
It’ll Always Be There: No matter what we do, people are going to smoke pot. The risks are minimal and the benefits can be vast. Not to mention many enjoy the feeling of consuming cannabis. Regardless of laws, a certain section of the population will always consume drugs. Legalizing can be great, as governments can then tax these dollars.
“I’m on record saying that not only do I think carefully prescribed medical use of marijuana may in fact be appropriate and we should follow the science as opposed to ideology on this issue, but I’m also on record as saying that the more we treat some of these issues related to drug abuse from a public health model and not just from an incarceration model, the better off we’re going to be.”