The debate over the pros and cons of medical cannabis is ongoing. On one hand, it is known to treat mental ailments, relieve chronic pain, and aid in sleep. On the other hand, it can damage the respiratory system, impair cognitive function, and even land people in jail. Though great strides have been taken to push the benefits of medical cannabis to the public, leading to its legalization in thirty-six states and the District of Columbia, it continues to carry a bad reputation. The federal government still classifies it as a Schedule I controlled substance alongside the likes of meth and heroin.
To help you understand the arguments made on both sides, here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of medical cannabis. Medical Cannabis is most commonly split into CBD and THC primary strains, but there are also different types of CBD, which you can read more about here.
Pros Of Medical Cannabis
The pros of medical cannabis largely anchor on its ability to relieve the symptoms of certain medical conditions. Other advantages include the natural makeup of medical cannabis, and its current availability in different forms, other than just buds to smoke.
Therapeutic Potential Of Medical Cannabis
In legal states, medical cannabis is prescribed to patients to help alleviate symptoms of various diseases. These include:
- Epilepsy and seizures
- Alzheimer's disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Crohn's disease
- Severe nausea caused by chemotherapy
Additionally, medical cannabis can be used to manage certain types of chronic pain including neuropathic pain. It’s safer to use when compared to other painkillers such as opioids, which can be highly addictive and aren’t suitable for long-term pain management.
Medical Cannabis Is A Relaxant
Medical cannabis can be used to relax muscles, which is especially helpful for people who experience multiple sclerosis and muscle spasms. It can also be used to soothe intense mental ailments, such as anxiety, schizophrenia, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Many people also use medical cannabis to aid in sleep.
Medical Cannabis Comes In Multiple Forms
People often associate cannabis with smoking. But medical cannabis comes in multiple forms—you can also inhale it using a cannabis vaporizer that converts the chemicals into a mist. There are also other non-smoking options such as oils, pills, topical ointments, and edibles. Each method works differently in your body. The effects are felt faster if it is smoked or vaporized when compared to oral ingestion.
Medical Cannabis Is Natural
Medical cannabis isn’t a new concept. It’s been used by people throughout history as a natural medicinal agent.
Cons Of Medical Cannabis
The cons of medical cannabis are similar to the negative effects attached to other drugs: health risks, potential of causing harm to others, and illegality.
Medical Cannabis Is A Potential Threat To The Mind And Body
If abused, medical cannabis can damage one’s health. People are particularly discouraged from using it because it’s known to impair cognitive abilities, motor skills, and memory. Smoking cannabis can also increase the risk of cancer and it may aggravate heart-related and lung-related ailments. Some side effects of marijuana can also negatively affect an individual’s personality and mood.
Improper Use Of Medical Cannabis Can Put Others In Danger
Irresponsible use of medical cannabis has been implicated in a high percentage of car crashes and workplace accidents. It can put those close to a cannabis user in danger when its effects handicap his/her normal functioning.
Medical Cannabis Has Potential For Abuse
Similar to other drugs, medical cannabis can potentially be abused and can even lead to addiction or dependency. Some people also consider it as a gateway drug to the use of more harmful substances.
Medical Cannabis Can Get You Arrested
Many states have legalized the use of medical cannabis under certain conditions and regulations. If these aren’t followed, you can suffer the consequences of criminal charges and potential incarceration. Additionally, cannabis is still illegal under federal law, you can even get arrested if you use it or are in possession of it in the wrong place at the wrong time. For example, though the Nevada cannabis law permits the medical and recreational use of cannabis, you can be penalized if you’re caught with it on a flight to Vegas from a state that considers its use illegal.
Medical Cannabis Isn’t For Everyone—But It Can Be Greatly Beneficial for Many
Legalization of medical cannabis in the majority of states in the US indicates its significant therapeutic potential. However, there’s still a need for extensive research to back these claims. For now, it’s best to use it under the supervision of a medical professional and in compliance with state law, to enjoy its proven benefits.