A Balanced View of The Effects of Cannabis
Marijuana, also known as cannabis, has been used for centuries by people worldwide. Its popularity is on the rise, especially here in Canada. Most people in Canada use it either recreationally or as a medicine. Many patients use it to relieve the pain and discomfort associated with cancer and other diseases.
Many users experience a “high,” which is more mental than physical. It’s commonly referred to as a “marijuana high.” The effects seem to last for about two hours but can be felt for much longer. Cannabis use is often associated with creativity, social freedom, independence, and making mistakes.
Effects of cannabis:
A balanced view of the effects of cannabis would include all of these symptoms but would probably downplay them in comparison to the more dramatic effects of the drug. In general, most people who smoke or ingest cannabis report some level of malaise, irritability, and poor concentration.
What is the truth? Well, the truth is, all of these effects occur in some people but not in others. There is no such thing as a “cannabis-allergic” person because nobody is completely “cannabis-allergic.” There are many reasons for this: First, not everyone who ingests cannabis suffers from its effects. It is true even when someone smokes it. Many people who smoke cannabis say they do not experience its effects whatsoever.
It is also true of people who ingest it other than smoking. Why? Simply because the body eventually adjusts to whatever level of cannabinoids (active ingredients) consumed.
Another factor contributing to this “cannabis-buddy effect” is that most people who use cannabis use very low amounts of it. Take, for example, a person who uses a joint once or twice a week. In most cases, this person’s body has no problem with all of that low-level use of cannabis. However, suppose this same person starts using much higher levels of cannabis. In that case, his body will eventually stop compensating for the low levels he was using, and his experiences with cannabis (good and bad) will be much more severe.
These are all negative side effects that are very real and very well-documented. However, many people use cannabis without ever experiencing these side effects. Why? Simply because for them, the positive effects far outweigh the negative ones.
Positive effects include:
- Relief from muscle spasms and pain, especially in the terminal stages of cancer and other diseases;
- Relief from nausea caused by chemotherapy;
- Increased appetite and reduced weight loss in patients with HIV/AIDS;
- Diminishing of symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia; and
- Reduced need for opiates (nearly always a positive event) in patients with chronic pain.
- However, a recent study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology indicates that cannabis may be associated with improved performance on tests of attention and focus. The study was conducted by researchers at New York University and is believed to be the first to demonstrate this positive effect of cannabis on mental function.
- The list goes on and on.
However, most people who use cannabis do not want to get high. They want to find relief from their symptoms. It means they are using it for medical purposes and are not getting high. Some users will smoke only enough cannabis to obtain relief from their symptoms and then stop using the drug altogether. It is a very important distinction. You see, when you are using cannabis for medical reasons, it is considered “medical use” even if you are not getting high at all.
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