Few plants are as world-famous as marijuana. In between having numerous uses (including for clothing, paper and animal feeding) and being used as a recreational drug, marijuana is debated a lot. Is it OK to legalize it? Is it better for it to stay illegal?
Should it be a medical option? There are many questions and finding an answer cannot happen without properly informing yourself.
Read on and find out more about marijuana and its history, as well as about the reasons that make it a good option from the medical point of view and the reasons that make it a not-so-good option for those looking to alleviate certain symptoms.
Marijuana through History
If you thought that marijuana was a recent thing on the historical scale, then you should definitely know that you were wrong.
Marijuana has been around for thousands and thousands of years and the earliest mentioning of it comes to us from China of the year 2727 BC.
Romans and Greeks were more than familiar with this plant too and the Islamic world knew it quite well too.
From being smoked for spiritual purposes to being used as food for animals, marijuana has gone a very long way.
At the beginning of the 20th century, cannabis was still legal in the United States, but it soon gained the label of poisonous and it started to be prohibited in the 1920s. One decade later, marijuana was being regulated in all of the states in America.
In the 1990s, marijuana started to be legal again, but only for medicinal uses and only in certain states.
Nowadays, there are 23 states (+ DC) which consider the use of medical marijuana to be legal and, on top of that, there are some American states also considering making recreational marijuana legal as well.
What Can Marijuana Treat?
Marijuana cannot cure you of any disease, but it can alleviate symptoms such as pain.
There are many medical conditions where pain becomes an increasing issue and it is believed that marijuana can relieve it for the patients. Some of the conditions which can be treated with the help of cannabis include the following:
- Pain that is related to specific conditions (such as nerve pain for example)
- Headaches and migraines
- HIV symptoms
- Chronic disease symptoms
- Cancer-related pain
- Lack of appetite and weight loss
- Crohn’s disease
These are just some of the medical conditions that may be treated with the help of marijuana.
Once a patient is diagnosed with a disease that causes a lot of pain or with a disease or medical condition that leads to severe weight loss and loss of appetite, he/she will receive a prescription for medical marijuana (if he/she lives in a state where this is legal).
Furthermore, that patient will receive a special card and he/she will be placed on the list of those who are allowed to purchase marijuana from authorized dispensaries.
What Makes Marijuana a Good Medical Option?
Marijuana can be a good medical option if you look at it from certain points of view. Understanding these things will help you create your own opinion on the eligibility of this plant to treat various conditions one may suffer from.
One of the things that makes it a good medical option is related to the theory according to which marijuana works so well because it enhances the body’s natural analgesics – thus relieving patients from the pain caused by their diseases.
Several research projects have been made on the topic and some of them revealed that patients who tried marijuana and were on placebo for consecutive days (without knowing what dosage they received in any of the days) reported that they felt better while under the highest marijuana dosage and that they felt worst under the placebo effect.
Furthermore, there are many physicians and medical associations out there that believe medical marijuana should indeed be an option for the patients suffering from certain illnesses.
For example, the American College of Physicians has clearly stated in 2008 that marijuana should be considered a treatment option for certain patients.
Other things that could be considered as arguments sustaining the idea that marijuana should be an option include the fact that it has not been shown to be dangerous for the human body (for instance, no research has revealed that smoking cannabis can be connected to lung cancer).
Even more, a lot of medical professionals consider it a safe way of treating certain symptoms in a natural way.
Why Should Marijuana NOT Be a Medical Option?
With so many benefits and with so many people sustaining it, why is it that not everybody is fully convinced over the fact that marijuana should be considered a treatment option then? Which are the “cons” of using this plant?
One of the main things that make many specialists think marijuana is not exactly the most suitable option for treating pain, nausea and other symptoms is related to the simple fact that there is no actual piece of evidence and no conclusive research to show its benefits.
According to them, marijuana is, at the very least, a powerful placebo-inducer and, at the very worst, a very dangerous drug that should not be made legal under any circumstances.
Furthermore, it is believed that marijuana can cause addiction, which could be a really big issue in the case of the patients.
However, it is to be kept in mind that there are many types of legal medication against pain that can do the very same thing (and the United States is struggling quite a lot with painkiller addiction).
Another thing that worries people when it comes to the legalization of marijuana is related to the fact that it can be considered to be a “gateway” drug and that it could lead people into trying other more powerful and more dangerous drugs too.
As you can see, it is really difficult to find out the real truth and until conclusive results are shown from proper research, taking sides is just a matter of opinion and not accepting or refusing actual evidence.