The Side Effects of Marijuana – Is the Gateway Drug All It’s Cracked Up to Be? You May Be Surprised
According to the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is considered a Schedule I drug. This means that, under this act, marijuana is said to be highly addictive and has no possible medical uses. However, most people now know both of these statements to be untrue. Is it time to remove this substance from the Schedule I category or are there really horrible side effects of marijuana that the public needs to be aware of?
How Cannabis Affects the Body
Smoking marijuana, medical or otherwise, does a few main things to the body. Cannabis stimulates the appetite, settles the stomach, and increases the heart rate. It can also decrease a person’s sense of coordination.
The reason that medical marijuana is receiving such praise is because it is so effective in helping patients who are suffering with serious health problems. Medical marijuana is a great pain reliever. People that deal with chronic pain or severe headaches will notice that medicinal cannabis is more effective than many prescription painkillers.
Because medicinal marijuana stimulates the appetite, but settles the stomach, patients going through chemotherapy can also benefit from its use. Even patients suffering from glaucoma can use medical cannabis to decrease the pressure in their eyes. While many people talk about the effects of marijuana in a negative sense, there are many positive uses of medical marijuana.
The Effects of Marijuana on the Brain
Medicinal marijuana does affect the brain. While the medicine never affects two people exactly the same, many people notice that it distorts their perception, causes short term memory loss, and may make it difficult to reason or think clearly. Because of these effects, medicinal cannabis users are urged to avoid using their medicine before operating a motor vehicle. Most users will also want to avoid using their medicine before going into work, as it may possibly decrease productivity.
Some people also believe that marijuana causes users to seek new and more extreme ways to get high, hence the nickname the ‘Gateway Drug.” Many experts, however, disagree with this theory. They believe that psychological stress leads to hardcore drug use, not the use of marijuana. The use of medical marijuana will, in no way, transform a responsible person into a crazed addict looking for more extreme thrills.
Long Term Side Effects of Marijuana
The long term side effects of marijuana are not conclusively known. Many people fear that the use of medical marijuana may cause cancer. Cannabis does contain some of the same compounds as tobacco. However, because medical marijuana patients will be using their medication much less frequently than many people smoke cigarettes, the chances of marijuana causing cancer is slim.
Some also believe that one of the effects of marijuana is congestion and coughing. Frequent users could be more at risk for colds or lung infections, especially if they smoke cigarettes as well. Fortunately, if this becomes a problem, medicinal cannabis can be used in another form, such as made into a food or drink.
Overall, the medical use of marijuana is helping many patients effectively manage their health problems and regain control of their lives. Of all the side effects of marijuana, this is the one that people may want to really take the time to think about.