Facts About Cannabis, Marijuana and Medical Treatment
With some states approving marijuana use for certain medical conditions, a trend of use once moving downward could head in the reverse direction. Now, in states where the drug is partially legal, storefronts selling marijuana are popping up even directly across the street from public high schools. Will greater availability of the drug lead to more abuse? It seems appropriate therefore, to remind the public about the facts surrounding marijuana and its use.
Marijuana is one of three drug substances derived from the plant known as cannabis sativa. The three drugs made from cannabis are hashish, hash oil, and marijuana. Hashish is made from the resin of the plant’s flower which has been formed into tiny blocks which are then smoked or added to prepared foods. Hash oil is thick, concentrated oil made from hashish that is usually smoked and is the most potent of the cannabis drugs.
All the forms of cannabis produce a euphoria or high that results from the plant’s chemical known as delta-9 tetrahydro-cannabinol, or THC for short.
Marijuana is the least potent among the three forms of cannabis. It is made from the leaves or flowers of the plant which have been dried and then are most often rolled into small cigarettes called joints. Marijuana is also smoked with water pipes called bongs or is sometimes added to foods. It is the most often abused illicit drug in many countries around the world and goes by a list of street names including grass, Mary Jane, dope, pot, hooch, weed, reefer, green, or hash among many others.
Marijuana produces a feeling of relaxation and mild euphoria and alters a person’s perception such that life’s normal activities become more intense. People who use marijuana may talk more, feel sleepy, become hungry, demonstrate lowered inhibitions or appear uncoordinated. In some cases, the drug produces strong anxiety and even paranoia.
Because marijuana can sometimes help reduce nausea it has been suggested as a treatment for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. It is has also been suggested as a help for cancer patients experiencing a threatening loss of appetite. In addition, the drug may be useful in managing long-lasting neuropathic pain or reducing spasticity in patients who suffer with muscle movement disorders.
At the same time, the FDA maintains that marijuana holds no acceptable medical use and is not considered safe even when taken under a doctor’s supervision. The National Institute on Drug Addiction says that marijuana is not a likely candidate as a medicinal treatment. There are plenty of reasons to not consider marijuana in any sort of positive light.
Marijuana use can increase a person’s risk of depression, increase their risk for several types of cancer, may lead to sexual dysfunction, impairs the immune system, raises the risk of psychosis, causes respiratory ailments similar to those connected with tobacco use and is linked to an increased risk of automobile injury. So while the national discussion on the subject of marijuana continues, it is important to keep the facts about the drug central.