As years come and go, the debate on marijuana’s potential to harm and cure remains relevant. With some states having legalized its use for medical purposes, some still oppose it because of its being highly addictive. However, there is more and more evidence on marijuana’s effectiveness on different fronts.
The latest research shows that cannabis has a good potential to treat a number of conditions, particularly mental ones. More specifically, these are
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Clinical research conducted among 80 patients of a psychiatric facility in New Mexico has concluded that smoking marijuana improves PTSD patients’ state of health without any negative influence on their functioning and general well-being. More than 75% of the study participants have reported that their condition has improved. Still, the research team has said that placebo-controlled study is necessary to fully prove efficiency of cannabis as a potential medication in PTSD treatment.
Research of scientists from University at Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) has demonstrated that marijuana can be used to treat depression due to chemicals endocannabinoids that it contains. These chemicals are able to affect our cognition, emotion, motor control and overall behavior, with low levels of them resulting into ‘depression-like behavior’.
Moreover, the study of RIA neuroscientists has found connection between exposure to chronic stress and decrease of level of endocannabinoids in one’s system. Thus, it is possible to apply cannabis treatment at this stage, not waiting for depression phase to be triggered. However, the team leader Samir Haj-Dahmane warns that the research results are only introductory, as clinical trials were conducted with animals only. Consequently, there is still work to do to find out whether marijuana treatment will be as effective in humans as it was in animals, especially regarding prevention of possible addiction.
Chronic nerve pain
Good evidence from a number of trials has suggested that cannabis brings significant success to treatment of ‘chronic pain, neuropathic pain and spasticity due to multiple sclerosis’. Among six trials for chronic pain, six trials for neuropathic pain and twelve studies for muscle spasticity respectively a few have shown improvement in patients’ condition. The rest, however, haven’t shown the same effect, and that still leaves space for further research and discussions about medical use of marijuana here.
Information from University at Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions suggests that cannabis may be of use in treating such things as glaucoma, epilepsy, support cancer patients due to its property to reduce chemotherapy nausea and stimulate appetite in HIV/AIDS patients to prevent them from losing weight/helping to gain some.
While all this sounds quite promising, what can the cons of using cannabis as a medicine be?
- Firstly, it is listed by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule I drug, which means it is highly addictive and dangerous at its unpredictability.
- Secondly, there is reasonable fear that wide-spread of marijuana as a medication will result into mass belief it is not that dangerous, leading to a horrifying increase in addicts, particularly youngsters and young adults.
- Thirdly, it still mainly acts as a means of symptoms relief rather than a cure for the cause of the disease.
- Last but not least, it can negatively affect people with undiagnosed psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.