Medical Marijuana

by Michael_Koger

The use of marijuana for medical conditions has existed for hundreds of years, and there is considerable controversy about it.

There is much in the news about this plant. Many believe that it improves mental and emotional health, and some say that it enhances ability to concentrate and perform well on tests at school. Moreover, research suggests that it has applications for the treatment of refractory illnesses for which traditional medications bring very little benefit.

Cannabidiol is a chemical component of the Cannabis sativa plant. That plant has more than 80 chemicals or cannabinoids. Moreover, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is its major active ingredient. Though illegal under federal law, marijuana is legal in more than half of the United States for medical use [1, 2, 3].

Which Agents are Psychoactive?

     Though not psychoactive, cannabidiol is useful for pain and inflammation management.  This is especially true for cannabis which one smokes or inhales.  Confusion arises when one takes dietary supplements, and those agents contain cannabidiol about which the public may not know.  In any event, people have taken cannabidiol orally to treat bipolar disorder, anxiety, diabetes mellitus, seizures, schizophrenia, and other illnesses [1, 2, 3].

     There is evidence that cannabidiol is beneficial for certain types of seizures in that it reduces their occurrence.  It is still questionable whether many other infirmities will improve from the use of this agent.  Women who are pregnant or who breastfeed must never take cannabidiol [2].

Treatment of Pain

     Nevertheless, there is benefit from the use of cannabis for peripheral neuropathy.  This is a difficult situation to manage, and 20 million people in the United States have it.  Traditional approaches are not adequate for its treatment.  That infirmity especially occurs in elderly or diabetic clients as well as those who have alcoholism, autoimmune disease, or human immunodeficiency virus infection.  However, clinicians do not always know the cause of it [1].

     It is also well-known that Cannabis sativa has long been a treatment for pain.  However, there is risk for cognitive impairment or addiction with its use.  Its main psychoactive substance, THC, leads to relaxation as well as alterations of perception, sensation, and sexual drive.  There may be dry mouth, anxiety, paranoia, and decline of short term memory [1].

     One must also consider that results of clinical trials may not duplicate each other because the concentration of THC varies in these studies.  In other words, research and market cannabis are not equivalent [1].

     The occurrence of psychosis and driving impairment poses a problem in those who use marijuana.  In general, clients who suffer from psychosis, anxiety, or depression should not use it.  There are also studies which suggest that use of it may lead to decline of intelligence quotient, school performance, and graduation rates [1].

     Furthermore, one should not combine the use of illicit substances with it.  Finally, long-term use of this agent may worsen medical conditions such as chronic bronchitis, shortness of breath, and wheezing [1].

Conclusion

     In conclusion, the use of these chemicals is complex, and in some instances, they can be dangerous.  Medical doctors will have the best advice for patients when they read much scholarly literature.  They also need to know their patients quite well and consider the risks and benefits of these interesting agents.

References

  1. Modesto-Lowe, V., Bojka, R., and Alvarado, C.  (2018).  Cannabis for peripheral neuropathy:  The good, the bad, and the unknown.  Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, 85, 943-949.
  2. National Institutes of Health.  Medline Plus.  (2018).  Cannabidiol.  Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  3. Koger, M.  (2006).  Medical Marijuana Revisited.  Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 4, 41-45.
  4. Copyright 2019.  Michael Koger, Sr.  All rights reserved.

Disclaimer

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and not for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact their physician for advice.

Updated: 01/02/2019, Michael_Koger
 
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