We have all heard it on the news both sides of the story concerning legalizing marijuana for recreational or just pure medical use, and up until recently I had been on the side that was all for it’s legalization and regulation. Why, you might ask? Well, I saw nothing wrong with it. I saw it as a drug that caused seemingly fewer deaths than alcohol but it’s legality was the exact opposite of alcohol in most of the US. I thought of it as a recreational drug and a pain reliever for those who needed it. Well, I thought about it like that until recently when we read an article about the connection between cannabis and the neurobiology of the brain. The connection that was recently found was that there is increasing evidence saying that cannabis users are at an increased risk for developing many neurological disorders including depression, anxiety disorders, psychotic problems and having the possibility of developing schizophrenia. This is caused by over-stimulation of the receptor in the brain that the main ingredient in marijuana binds to. This brings up another topic. Is the risk of getting schizophrenia or other disorders worth the pleasure you get out of it or the relief of pain that some people use cannabis for? For me, that answer is a very big NO! I can say that with the utmost confidence because I have suffered with Generalized Anxiety Disorder for almost 4 years now and I can say that no amount of pleasure that I would get from using marijuana would be worth the risk of getting any sort of mental disorder.
However, I am not saying we should get rid of any attempt to legalize marijuana because through the discussions in the class and through research and reading the article, I did find a glimmer of hope and potential in marijuana in respect to treatment of neurological and other disorders. There is a component of marijuana that has been shown to have incredible therapeutic potential. This component is called Cannibidiol (referred to as CBD for the rest of the post). CBD is the second most prevalent chemical in marijuana. CBD has been shown to have a hand in pain relieving effects, anti-depressant and anxiety reducing effects and also neuroprotective effects, all without the euphoric effects that smoking marijuana has. Neuroprotective basically means that CBD prevents or slows brain cell loss. Although there is still a lot of research to be done on exactly what CBD does and if there are any adverse effects, it is showing promise in relieving many things such as convulsions, inflammation, anxiety and nausea as well as inhibiting cancer growth. For anyone who is looking for more information concerning cannibidiol…
We also talked about the thought that as medical advances and discoveries progress, there comes a point where we are taking all these medications to fall into what society has deemed “normal” and whether or not we should stop taking these medications, thus keeping the disorder but preserving who we are. My answer to this thought was that there are some things, for example anxiety disorder and schizophrenia, that needs to be medicated to be able to function on a day to day basis and that there are things that should be done before medication is taken, for example seeing a psychiatrist in the case of mental disorders or exercise in the case of obesity.
Well that is all for this week. Next weeks topic for discussion? Insulin and Alzheimers Disease.