medical marijuana: the benefits and risks associated with cannabis use

medical marijuana: the benefits and risks associated with cannabis use

Cannabis Effects Wheel Chart Print – 18×24
When studying the life sciences, there are a lot of in-depth concepts to take in. Depending on the the type of science you are studying, biology vs. evolution, for example, you may even have to learn a handful of mathematical formulas to fully appreciate the material. Here, we are just having a light-hearted overview of the life sciences, so a light serving of sativa will do just fine.

In my experience, sativa helps me to not get lost in wordy texts (reading that is not broken up by graphics/tables or formulas) and keep my mind sharp and able to take in all relevant information. Grinding about 60mg (less than 1/4 of a 1g bud) of sativa and smoking just a small pinch of that for over a 3-5hr period is perfect for maintaining a healthy attention span for learning.

Black Flower Science Co. does not claim to be a medical professional and does not offer recommendations as a substitute for medical advice. All advice and recommendations are based on personal experience of the benefits of medical marijuana. If you are experiencing severe or declining mental health symptoms, please seek the advice of a medical professional.

Notice: This article has been partially plagiarized on Amazing Life Bio. The article is presented in its full, original form below.

Throughout history, medical marijuana has been used for applications. It was only in the last hundred years or so that tensions began to rise surrounding the use of the herb.

Ancient cultures from the continent of Asia over to the Americas cherished cannabis plants for their versatility as a tool for ceremonial use, recreational relaxation, for the synthesis of fabrics, and of course, as a healing supplement.

There is a world of misinformation surrounding the use of cannabis, despite its millennia-long history as a staple crop of people groups around the world.

Objective scientific information on medical marijuana is unfortunately limited, as it is shrouded in political and socioeconomic unrest. Still, there is a strong foundation on which the public can begin to grow their knowledge regarding the medical benefits one can experience when using marijuana.

Table of Contents

The History of Marijuana in Medicine
How Does Cannabis Aid in Medical Relief?
Medical Marijuana Today
The Risks of Smoking or Consuming Marijuana
Photo by Ahmed Zayan on Unsplash

The History of Marijuana in Medicine

The use of medical marijuana first began in ancient China, where is was widely distributed for its versatility in the needs of everyday life. The plant could be used as a source of food and clothing, and it didn’t take long before traders and merchants began realizing its THC- and CBD-related properties.

In the early stages of this discovery, cannabis was used first to alleviate pain and treat debilitating medical conditions. Still, even with the relief the plant offered, doctors began adamantly warning people against excessively using the drug, as it could possibly result in them “seeing demons.”

Emperor Shen Neng was one of the first notable leaders in history to officially allow – and encourage – the use of marijuana to treat adverse medical conditions in 2737 BCE. Conditions that merited the use of medical marijuana, according to the Emperor, included:

  • Gout
  • Rheumatism
  • Malaria
  • Difficulties with memory*

*(Yes, you read that right. Although marijuana is known to be relatively detrimental to short- and long-term memory, not all brains experience it in the same way. Some people actually use the herb for assistance in retaining information, such as for studying academic information.)

Carl Sagan Quote Art Print – 24×36

India is another country that has maintained a close relationship with cannabis through the ages – for all applications of the plant. The people of India have used marijuana in the form of edibles and the flower itself for thousands of years.

Of the most notable forms the herb typically takes in these settings is as a drink known as “bhang.” This is a drink comprised of a mixture of cannabis paste, ghee, and milk, flavored by a variety of spices.

The paste forming the foundation of this drink is made from the buds, flowers, and leaves of the female cannabis plant. Bhang is a vital component of Indian culture and those faithful to the religion of Hinduism, as it has been used in religious ceremonies and festivals overt thousands of years (one of which you may recognize: Holi).

Ailments that were treated by the consumption of bhang (and still are, to this day!) include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Pain

Cannabis is still approved for many medical applications in the U.S., even though its general use is heavily stigmatized. In colonial times, the plant was considered to a staple of crops throughout the year, and there were virtually no political or social divides surrounding the species.

It was only in the 1900s that those problems arose. Before then, though, after cannabis made its way from Asia, into Europe, then Africa, and onto the Americas, doctors in the U.S. widely agreed on the use of medical marijuana for the improvement of symptoms related to those ailments listed above.

Photo by LexScope on Unsplash

How Does Cannabis Aid in Medical Relief?

When you smoke or consume marijuana in some form, endocannabinoids, one of the many compounds your body naturally produces, bind to cannabidiol (CBD) and/or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

  • THC: This is the primary psychoactive component of cannabis. It creates the “high” feeling that everyone knows the plant for.
  • CBD: This a non-psychoactive component of cannabis and is instead theorized to be the main element behind the health benefits users experience.

There are many more endocannabinoids present in marijuana, however, these are the most thoroughly researched to date. When these endocannabinoids bind to THC and CBD, they aid in boosting (or inhibiting) bodily functions including:

  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Decision-making
  • Immunity
  • Motor function

The period in which these effects become realized depends on the method of consumption. Marijuana that is ingested by smoking or vaping can affect the individual within as little as 30 minutes. Consumption of the plant as an edible, on the other hand, is a much slower process, and can take up to 2-3 hours to produce noticeable effects.

Once these cannabinoids are ingested, no matter the method, they can offer miraculous relief to the body, combating issues such as chronic pain and relaxing the symptoms of withdrawal in individuals fighting drug and alcohol addictions.

Medical Marijuana Today

The foundation of research supporting the use of marijuana for medical purposes has been growing in recent years. As it has become legalized across the country, either as a recreational or medicinal drug, depending on the state, more research is being conducted as public health concerns accumulate.

Scientists have found that cannabis can offer significant benefits for those individuals experiencing negative effects related to the following conditions:

Even with these benefits, however, it is important to recognize that marijuana use, like all drugs, medicinal or recreational, comes with possible side effects.

The Risks of Smoking or Consuming Marijuana

The risks of marijuana usage is most pertinent in adolescents, as their nervous systems are still undergoing significant development and are unable to absorb and control the cannabinoids in the way that mature biological systems can.

Still, in anyone who uses cannabis, no matter the age, the following are detrimental effects that can be experienced when smoking or consuming the plant:

  • Problems with short-term memory
  • Impaired motor functions
  • Compromised judgement
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis

Long-term effects may include:

  • Addiction*
  • Altered or delayed brain development
  • Impaired cognitive abilities
  • Symptoms related to chronic bronchitis
  • Increased risk of mental health disorders including schizophrenia

*Many claim that, due to the natural presence of endocannabinoids in the human body, it is not possible to develop a dependence on cannabis. Quite the opposite has been discovered in recent decades, however.

Researchers have learned that individuals who take up the habit of smoking marijuana during adolescence develop an addiction. Still, the objectivity of these results are unclear, as addiction is defined as “daily use,” and for many, this does not equate to an addiction whatsoever (especially for those who smoke or consume edibles for chronic pain or mental health conditions).

You must understand that, even with the medical benefits associated with the use of marijuana, regardless of the social stigmas surrounding the plant, the risks here are very real. Cannabis advocates often brush off concerns of these risks in light of these advantages, but in reality, one cannot exist without the other.

Always make every effort to keep yourself educated on the issue of marijuana use, sourcing your awareness from objective scientific research. The decision to use cannabis lies in your hands – you must simply choose to do so safely and legally.

For more information, consult the following sources:

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