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Is Marijuana Really Helpful?

This post is not about discussing the legal or potentially legalization of marijuana. Nor will it have anything to do with the moral aspect. It is about whether or not marijuana has the medicinal value that some are claiming.

The health benefits of marijuana are controversial. Proponents state that it can help alleviate the effects of glaucoma, can possibly decrease the severity of some seizures, may decrease anxiety and may even stop the spread of some cancers. These claims are interesting but most are in their infancy in terms of actual proof.

On the flip side, there is strong evidence that this “harmless” drug may, in fact, be quite problematic. Here are some facts:

  1. The smoke from marijuana (cigarettes) is 3-4 times stronger compared to tobacco. Thus, it may have the same problems — emphysema and other lung diseases, weakened immunity and cancer – that is associated with tobacco.
  2. The residue from smoked marijuana has a tendency to accumulate on brain cells. They form a “sticky” substance akin to molasses making it very difficult for brain cells to both send and receive various neurotransmitters. It is similar to trying to put a key into the keyhole that is filled with taffy.  Also, scientists have stated that one marijuana cigarette takes as long as one full year to be completely removed from the system.
  3. A new study from the American College of Cardiology states that marijuana can be problematic in terms of heart health. Factors include a 26% in strokes and heart failure. According to prior studies, heart muscle cells have “cannabis receptors” which impact the muscle‘s ability to contract.
  4. Perhaps the strongest reason to avoid the use of marijuana to treat medical disorders is that marijuana may cause the acceleration or aggravation of the very disorders it is being used to treat. Smoking marijuana regularly – defined as 1 joint a day –  damages the cells in the bronchial passages which protect the body against inhaled microorganisms and decrease the ability of the immune cells in the lungs to fight off fungi, bacteria, and tumor cells.
  5. According to research from Harvard Medical School, “Marijuana has long been known to trigger attacks of mental illness, such as bipolar (manic-depressive) psychosis and schizophrenia.”

Given the legalization in a few states, the future trend is in this direction for more states to follow. Hopefully, both sides of the argument will be reviewed so a person can make the most informed choice.

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