We all know that THC can cause euphoria, but also anxiety, dysphoria (unhappiness), psychotic symptoms, and clear intoxication. Drugs that produce a high are addictive and dependence-forming. They lead to withdrawal when the user stops. Marijuana is considered a “soft” drug because it doesn’t produce these things to the extent that other, “hard” drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, do.

So why do so many people use it if it’s illegal, and why is its illegality rarely enforced? Because it has a long list of positives that no other recreational drug satisfies:

  1. Can produce a powerful high, which, counter to other drugs that produce such an effect, is not very addictive
  2. Cannot be fatal
  3. Is relatively safe if used consistently
  4. Is a plant, or taken from a plant
  5. Has been used for at least 3,000, and possibly for up to 5,000, years by humans
  6. Is not known for violence
  7. Criminal aspects are mostly created by it simply being illegal
  8. Most users don’t find their life revolving around it, and can maintain a respectable quality of life
  9. There is little to no risk of operating heavy machinery, or otherwise conducting a risky task, while under the influence
  10. Little risk in getting it

It’s true that opium comes from a plant; that most those whom partake in alcohol still hold quality livelihoods; and that peyote has been used by indigenous people for thousands of years. But all ten traits, and more, apply to marijuana use.

Furthermore, people rarely commit horrible crimes to get pot. They don’t pawn all of their valuables for it. Nor does it come with many of the risks that drugs by injection have. They can’t die from using just it. It doesn’t cause violent behavior, but usually makes people peaceful, or full of glee. And one of the main justifications: it’s a plant.

Compared to other common drugs, marijuana is doing at least all right, and at most, stellar.

Below are benefits arising from the use of weed. A summary precedes links to sources. A number in parentheses may follow an entry, which details multiple sources finding the same given effect.

Before beginning, we recognize a mechanism by which marijuana might slow down, reduce the spread, and even destroy, cancer cells

Cannabinoids as therapeutic agents in cancer: current status and future implications offers an impressive amount of information on the relations between cannabinoids and a range of cancer types.

And other conditions marijuana combats:

  1. Pain (6)
  2. Nausea (3)
  3. Treatment-resistant epilepsy (2)
  4. Insomnia
  5. Tourette syndrome
  6. Dyskinesia
  7. Spasticity
  8. Bladder dysfunction

Not only yet, but the below chart details how 11 of the (approximately) 66 cannabinoids found in weed have significant medical applications. If we’re to be fair, however, then we’d check out these claims, the same as we do below for the government’s take. After all, this website is clearly pro-weed.

And here we have another, differently styled, somewhat overlapping chart, created for the same purpose of relating some of the medical benefits of the various cannabinoids in marijuana.

https://www.420magazine.com/gallery/data/1420/nutritionofcannabis.png

As with many herbs that have some sort of healing power, there are people who claim that giving just one, or even a few, cannabinoids, has significantly less healing power than the whole plant.

That said, there is one particular phytocannabinoid (cannabinoid produced by a plant) that has many health applications, as studies continue to find and verify. The chemical in question is cannabidiol (CBD). In fact, CBD deserves its own page.

Weed has a diverse amount of applications to various illnesses, most of which are physical. But for instance, being in chronic pain can make one very depressed; so at least indirectly, marijuana can alleviate depression.

I stumbled across a chart entitled This Marijuana Effects on the Body. It was compiled by the government, which places marijuana alongside such drugs as heroin and bath salts, so they’re bias too. For mysterious reasons, the chart no longer comes through on the webpage.

Let’s give the government a chance by researching the claims made in the diagram. In absence of the image itself, I’ll write the claim, and then respond

  • Claim #1
    • Marijuana isn’t good for the eyes
  • Response:
    • The media hasn’t reported any eye damage
  • Response:
    • Does this effect contribute to its ability to fight glaucoma?
  • Claim #2:
    • Smoking marijuana can lead to serious lung problems
  • Response:
    • It’s never good to smoke anything, to fill one’s lungs with tar
  • Response:
    • Even so, marijuana may not be associated with such severe problems as cigarettes, such as lung cancer
  • Response:
  • Response:
  • Response: A mega study, involving 5,000 people over 20 years, found no decline in lung function after daily marijuana use
  • Claim # 3:
    • Marijuana is addictive, and produces very difficult withdrawal symptoms after stopping regular use
  • Response:
    • Marijuana can be addictive, withdrawal difficult, but Comparing Dangers of Popular Drugs clearly states these effects are much more mild for the marijuana user, than those whom regularly comsume nicotine and alcohol
  • Response:
    • Some people can smoke everyday for years, then stop cold turkey without significant withdrawal
  • Response:
    • My experience:
      • Stopped after about 16 months
      • Pretty difficult, though not nearly as bad as other substances
      • After a month break, went back to smoking on weekends
      • It wasn’t all bad, though: clarity of thinking improves
  • Claim #4:
    • Marijuana presents a dental danger
  • Response:
    • If the smoking is unnaturally frequent and excessive
  • Response:
    • Maybe if someone became lazy and didn’t brush their teeth?
  • Claim #5:
    • Weed harms the cardiovascular system by increasing heart rate and blood pressure, by the burden of unhealthy weight gain, and may increase the liklihood of suffering a stroke
  • Response:
    • The increase in heart rate and blood pressure is usually mild
  • Response:
    • Tolerance to increased heart rate and blood pressure develops fast, so that there isn’t a great risk to heath
  • Response:
  • Response:
    • Marijuana may not be just neuroprotective, but cardioprotective, which makes it difficult to prove that it can cause strokes
  • Response:
  • Response:
    • High dose, long term use of weed, is highly associated with low blood pressure and low heart rate
  • Claim #6:
    • As for the brain, the(absent) chart lists issues in problem-solving, learning, memory, thinking in general, and loss of coordination, and problems related to depth perception depth perception
  • Response:
    • Painkillers, antidepressants, antipsychotics, anti-epileptics, and many other applications that one or more cannabinoid(s) could also be medically viable at treating, can create these side effects too
  • Response:
    • No one said that marijuana must be used around the clock
  • Response
    • Normally in medication management, the effective dose of a medicine produces little psychoactive effect

Even despite these negatives, marijuana has a lot of things going for it. Medical marijuana is more and more being legally used as a real medicine for a variety of illnesses. Even recreational marijuana use is being sanctioned by some governments.

So, what’s wrong with it? Should everyone light up, expecting their life to be easier and more fulfilling? Is marijuana a panacea? Does the high rate of marijuana use in people with mental illness reflect its use as an effective, and safe, psychiatric medication for all, with little to no risk?

Sources: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/glenn-d-braunstein-md/marijuana-facts-fiction_b_2575507.html, http://www.fool.com, https://www.drugabuse.gov, Uppers, Downers, All Arounders: Physical and Mental Effects of Psychoactive Drugs, https://www.whaxy.com,