In the wake of the legalization of marijuana across the United States, a recent research study has thrown a wrench into the works and given more cause for skepticism in the ongoing campaign to legalize marijuana.
Conducted by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, the report casts a shadow of doubt over the safety of marijuana usage despite most of the conclusive evidence found being categorized as “limited” and/or “moderate.”
The newly released report has also debunked some myths concerning the capabilities of marijuana, one of which was its purported ability to cure cancer, while reinforcing some of the more popularly known effects of the substance such as its effectiveness in treating chronic pain.
Most of the findings of the research can at best be termed as educated guesses, owing to the fact that marijuana is still in the spotlight in most states as a Schedule I substance.
While the advice that can be given is to take the findings with a grain of salt, the report does uncover some much sought after truths to the usage of marijuana both for recreational and medical uses.
The Benefits of Marijuana
As earlier advised, the report is far from conclusive due to the fact that marijuana is still heavily monitored by law enforcement.
Nevertheless, conclusive evidence was found concerning marijuana’s ability to quell the chronic pain. Being one of the most cited reasons for the medical use of marijuana, however, this fact comes as no surprise.
Its ability to also curb vomiting and nausea, which is often induced by chemotherapy, is what makes marijuana a vital remedy for cancer patients worldwide.
Marijuana has also been considered as an adequate treatment for multiple sclerosis.
While there is no evidence that blatantly refutes this claim, the lack of an authoritative case study is what leaves a considerable shadow of doubt over its ability to treat this condition.
On a more positive note, there has been considerable buzz over marijuana’s role in the elimination of the opioid epidemic.
The spate of deaths that has resulted from the use of synthetic opioid painkillers could be curbed by using marijuana alternatives.
While both drugs pose their fair share of risks, marijuana is easily the safer option owing to the fact that no marijuana overdose death has ever been reported.
The report went on to rebut some of the healing properties of marijuana, albeit with facts based on weak evidence.
For instance, marijuana was found to have no benefits in the treatment of dementia, multiple sclerosis, and glaucoma—points that had been previously considered pivotal in the fight to legalize marijuana.
There was also an acute lack of evidence that marijuana could treat a range of mental and physical illnesses including Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and spastic syndromes following spinal trauma.
Marijuana’s Harmful Effects
On the much less talked about side of the debate, a considerable amount of new information concerning the harmful effects of marijuana has helped put things into perspective.
Topping the lists of marijuana’s risks was respiratory illnesses brought on by the smoking of marijuana.
One of the more interesting findings was that marijuana users suffer a greater risk of developing schizophrenia, amongst other psychoses.
There was also a lot said concerning marijuana usage among pregnant women, specifically that it causes the birth of underweight infants and other complications.
Limited evidence additionally pointed to marijuana having a hand in the onset of testicular cancer, causing cardiac arrests, bringing complications during pregnancy and causing chronic obstruction in the pulmonary artery.
Away from the medical implications, marijuana was found to impair memory and learning, and to reduce its users’ the attention spans.
Worth noting is the fact that these harmful effects were only linked to the smoking of marijuana, meaning that no consideration was given to the other forms of marijuana consumption.
Marijuana’s Safety in Question
Safe to say, there will be more than a few renewed perspectives on marijuana usage.
The report has burst the rapidly growing bubble of exaggeration that was marijuana’s benefits by introducing some previously unheard of problems which could have severe implications on its legalization.
While the astounding lack of information still cripples the researchers’ ability to come up with meaningful findings, the report has shed a ray of light on a drug which boasted of a reputation that was marred with inconsistencies based on biased beliefs rather than scientific findings.