Recent research has supported claims that cannabis proponents have argued for decades: The plant can be a helpful, healthful treatment when used to treat various illnesses and medical conditions. It can, however, still result in negative effects for some users.
Numerous positive effects can be had from using medical marijuana (MMJ), from glaucoma treatments to the slowing of Alzheimer’s disease. People with anxiety, anorexia, multiple sclerosis and severe muscle spasms can experience relief from the plant’s effects, as can people with Lupus and arthritis. People with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often experience benefits through the neuroprotective properties of the cannabis. Cancer patients may use it to stimulate the appetite, alleviate symptoms of stress and depression and even combat the growth of cancer cells. Cannabis can stimulate creativity, promote a healthy metabolism and even stop nightmares.
The potential harms of cannabis often vary, and genetic predisposition plays a major role. A common, potentially problematic effect can involve short-term trouble remembering and thinking. A cannabis high can also decrease body coordination, resulting in the potential for greater injury while operating machinery. People who smoke can experience dry mouth, bloodshot eyes and even a strong odor. Cannabis is not physically addictive like opiates, sedatives and stimulants, but a small number of people can develop a psychological addiction, which (like gambling, shopping and internet addiction) is a serious disorder that typically requires professional treatment and rehabilitation. Still, the most common negative effect is the potential for incarceration as the federal government and most states continue to embrace cannabis prohibition 83 years after it finally got smart on alcohol prohibition.
False Negative Effects
In the 1930s, the United States Federal Bureau of Narcotics ran a smear campaign to make the use of cannabis seem scary enough to outlaw. Known as “Reefer Madness,” the false information campaign informed the public that using marijuana was dangerous enough to induce murder sprees and insanity among the people who took it. These claims have been proven false since the drug was made illegal. Rumors that the drug causes lung disease were also proven false, as it has shown the opposite effects in studies, making it a possible remedy for repairing lung damage caused by smoking tobacco. Likewise, the notion that cannabis is a gateway drug has largely been dismissed across the board.
Research of Cannabis
Many of the good and bad facts about cannabis have remained unknown due to prohibition, which forbids scientists and doctors from studying it closely enough to determine its true effects. Nearly two dozen states legalized medical marijuana, four legalized recreational, and several more continue to work towards legalization with ballot measures. As the plant becomes legal in more states for both medicinal and recreational purposes, more research will be conducted.