Medical cannabis, or medical marijuana, has been gaining a lot of attention in recent years due to its potential therapeutic benefits. Despite its potential, there are still many controversies surrounding the legal, ethical, and social implications associated with its use. The United States Pharmacopoeia and the FDA have considered the complexities of regulating this plant-based therapy, including the many compounds and the complex interactions between the substances in this product. Proponents argue that there is evidence that supports botanical medical cannabis in treating a variety of conditions, while opponents argue that randomized trials are lacking and that it has not been subject to the rigors of the FDA approval process.
Regardless of personal opinions and perceptions, denying or ignoring the implications of the use of this substance on the patient's health and the infrastructure of the health care system is irresponsible. In this article, we will explore the potential benefits and risks associated with medical cannabis use.
What is Medical Cannabis?Medical cannabis is a plant-based therapy that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of conditions. It contains many compounds, including cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
These compounds interact with receptors in the body to produce a range of therapeutic effects. The most common methods of administration are inhalation (smoking or vaporization) and ingestion of edible products.
Potential BenefitsProponents argue that there is evidence that supports botanical medical cannabis in treating a variety of conditions, especially when symptoms are refractory to other therapies. It has been shown to be relatively safe, with few deaths reported from its use, and it is relatively cheap compared to pharmaceutical agents.
Additionally, it can be self-evaluated by patients to determine if it is effective for their condition.
Potential RisksLike some herbal preparations or supplements, medical cannabis can also present health risks associated with its use, including psychoactive, intoxicating and harmful effects. There is also a potential for dependency, addiction and abuse. Additionally, there is no standardization for product packaging and controls to prevent inadvertent use by minors or pets.
Short-term use of cannabis has caused short-term memory problems, motor coordination problems, impaired judgment and paranoia or psychosis at high doses. Long-term or heavy cannabis use has caused addiction; brain alteration; development; cognitive impairment; poor educational outcomes; and relapsing MS.
ConclusionMedical cannabis has been gaining a lot of attention in recent years due to its potential therapeutic benefits. However, there are still many controversies surrounding its use due to its potential risks.
Clinicians must be aware of these implications and informed about how this therapy can practically influence a variety of healthcare settings. Ultimately, it is important to weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before deciding if medical cannabis is right for you.