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Is Marijuana Good or Bad for Your Health?

Dr. Mujahid Israr

2 min read

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Marijuana has been a heated subject of debate, especially since the recent legalization wave that has been sweeping over the US, state by state. Extracted from dried flowers of cannabis plants, marijuana is chiefly a recreational drug with over 500 naturally-occurring chemicals.

However, while anecdotal evidence takes its medical benefits back 3,000 years, the drug has only been legalized since last June for medical use and used by general physicians all over the world. But is marijuana good or bad? Read on and decide for yourself:

The Pros:

Marijuana has proven health benefits in treating the following ailments:

1-Chronic Pain:

A 2017 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, USA studied the effects of marijuana on health. It concluded that medication containing active compounds found in marijuana, specifically cannabinoids, was highly effective at treating and relieving chronic pain; a major cause of disability worldwide.

2-Epilepsy:

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a major component of marijuana that can help control and reduce seizure frequency in two rare, difficult-to-control, and lethal epilepsy types: Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome.

In fact, a 2017 study showed the number of seizures drastically reduced from 12 to 6 during the 14-week trial period in children with Dravet Syndrome, and disappeared entirely in 3 of the children who received CBD therapy.

3-Chemotherapy:

While not proven to treat, control or cure any form of cancer, oral cannabinoids efficiently and safely alleviate the persistent vomiting and nausea following chemotherapy. If taken in excess, however, the cannabinoids can trigger persistent vomiting, which can only subside by stopping the drug.

4-Depression, PTSD, and Social Anxiety:

A review of all relevant studies was published in the Clinical Psychology Review, with the result that marijuana, primarily CBD, can help treat the symptoms of depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and anxiety.

However, while marijuana does reduce social anxiety, it may lead to a reversal if taken in uncontrolled doses and/or for prolonged time periods, according the same 2017 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, USA mentioned above.

The Cons:

1-Mental Health:

Although bipolar disorder generally does not develop in marijuana users without a history of the condition, daily marijuana use does considerably worsen the symptoms. Users may also experience suicidal thoughts, and issues with memory and learning 24 hours after use.

2-Addiction and Abuse:

Marijuana is largely employed to reduce recreational and prescription opioid addiction, like heroin and morphine, respectively. However, marijuana itself, particularly recreational marijuana, can lead to an addiction if used every day over the long-term. Despite being deemed less addictive than alcohol, tobacco, and most recreational drugs.

3-Respiratory Problems:

While it does help open clogged airways, regularly smoking marijuana has the opposite effect, i.e. phlegm buildup and constant coughing. This may even lead to asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, although evidence is yet unclear as to whether marijuana addiction leads to respiratory disorders or vice versa.

4-Pregnancy:

Women who habitually smoke marijuana before and during pregnancy are more likely to go prematurely into labor and give birth to underweight babies, most of whom require intensive medical care soon after birth.

The Verdict:

Marijuana has both positive and negative impacts on health. However, it is still a drug. And like all drugs, should be regulated in dosage and prescribed on a case-by-case basis according to individual health history due to its addictive nature.

Moreover, recreational use is in no way the same as the medicinal use, and therefore should not be used as an excuse to take the drug.

Whatever your stance on the ‘marijuana and health’ debate, remember to always consult with your doctor before starting any new medication to avoid any negative side-effects.

You can also book an appointment with a top General Physician in Rawalpindi, Karachi and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your medicinal queries.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Mujahid Israr - Author Assist. Prof. Dr. Mujahid Israr is among the Best Internal Medicine Specialist in Lahore. Assist. Prof. Dr. Mujahid Israr is a Internal Medicine Specialist practicing in Lahore. Assist. Prof. Dr. Mujahid Israr has the following degrees: MBBS, FCPS (Medicine), MACG (USA), FCPS (Gastroenterology) and has 13 years of experience.
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