Marijuana is herb obtained from a dried flower, Cannabis sativa as a greenish-gray powdery mixture. You may be aware of a number of slang terms used for this herb such as pot, weed, grass, Mary Jane and ganja etc. This is because the herb has narcotic or drug-like uses as well. People smoke it in their cigar pipes and cigarette, as vaporizers and in drinks.
A stronger form of marijuana is sinsemilla which is obtained from a female plant with high dose of concentrated resin. In addition to this, various ingredients are mixed with these both for recreational and medical purpose.
So this was a general introduction to what marijuana basically is? Despite its intoxicating, and sedative effects as drug, this drug is also medically useful. Therefore, considering its medical significance and benefits, a number of countries have legalized its use as medicine. What makes it useful and the reasons on which marijuana is legalized are some facts that we will cover in this topic. So, let’s start!
How marijuana is medicinally useful?
The type of marijuana legalized for medicinal purpose contains an active chemical substance cannabinoid. These cannabinoids are similar to many substances which trigger certain responses in body such as movement, memory, pain and many more. Studies suggest that these cannabinoids and other components may help to relieve:
- Inflammation and joint pain
- Relieve nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy
- Helpful for treatment of AIDS and slow down the growth of cancerous tumor.
The science behind marijuana benefits
The intoxicating effects of marijuana are because of its psychoactive chemical. The chemical is delta-9-tetrahydrochlorocannabinols (THC). This chemical is predominantly produced in female cannabis plant, in its resin, leaves and buds. In addition to this TCH chemical, there are more than 500 different chemicals as well. These are collectively known as cannabinoids.
Legalization for therapeutic use
A number of compounds found in marijuana are significant for medicinal uses. That’s why; many countries are legally permitting its use. More than half of the US state and of Columbia have legalized it.
The Food and Drug Administration FDA has approved medical marijuana only for two diseases. These are two rare and severe forms of epilepsy;
1. Dravet syndrome
Also known as sever myoclonic epilepsy of infants. Its characteristic symptoms include seizures and the age of onset is around six months.
2. Lennox gastaut syndrome
It’s a complex and rare type of childhood-onset disorder and characterized by frequent seizures and convulsions.
A number of trials are underway to check the suitability of marijuana for treating medical conditions. For instance, US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is leading some of research projects for medical application of cannabis.
“Research is critical in order to advise doctors and patients, the safe use of cannabis.” -says Born Miller, researcher at University of Pennsylvania.
Food and Drug Administration has approved two of the synthetic cannabinoids. These are:
- Dronabinol (Marinol)
- Nabilone (Cesamet)
These are helpful for reliving the nausea and vomiting after the chemotherapy session.
FDA has approved another drug Cannabidiol Epidiolex for treatment of epilepsy. Various countries are giving thoughts to legalize marijuana for medical use.
Some possible side effects
Like every medicine, medical marijuana is not free of downsides. Some if the possible side effects of medical marijuana are:
- Depression and anxiety
- Bloodshot eyes
- Faster heart beat
- Low blood pressure
Moreover, this is a potent psychoactive drug. Its use in early teenage is even more harmful. This is because it affects the brain development. Moreover, this may affect a person’s judgment and IQ level.
Medical marijuana is potentially beneficial for treatment of certain disease such is cancer and epilepsy. Making its use legal for treatment of medical condition is a better step for healthcare. However, many oppose the idea of its legalization considering its psychotic nature and possible side effects. On the whole, there is a long way to go, lots of research is needed to fully legalize medical marijuana for therapeutic use.