For years marijuana has been used both medicinallly as well as recriationally. These days society has made a huge commotion about this drug, trying to determine if it is an “okay” thing to allow people to use. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that this drug is being used more and more frequently whether it is legal or not. For instance a lot of artists, espcially in the rap and hip hop industry, have used references to marijuana use in their songs. These songs are being listened to everyday by millions of people. Often times the main listeners of this music are impressionable young children or young adults. This makes me wonder what kind of impact this is having on the youth of America in whether or not they are using marijuana. Not only that but why are people using the product; is it because getting high is cool and fun, or could it actually help these younger people feel more calm, get more sleep, eat better, etc.? I think this is why it is such a hot topic and why some states have decided to legalize this drug where others say it is too dangerious or unhealthy to allow.
Since the use of marijuana in the United States is such a controversial issue, have you ever found yourself asking why? or what makes a plant, of all things, something to argue over? If you have, you may want to first understand what makes this plant a drug. Endocannabinoids were the topic our neurochemistry class discussed this week by reading and anylizing the article “Endogenous cannabinoids revisited: A biochemistry perspective”. We discovered that the plant Cannabis sativa (marijuana) contains more than 400 chemical components, 60 of which belong to the cannabinoid class. Recently the main cannabinoid psychoactive component in marijuana was discovered. This is what we know as THC. THC does produce many psyhoactive effects in ones brain. Research has found that these cannibinoids act on the CB-1 and CB-2 receptors in our brain causing a person to feel “high”. Although this is largely frowned upon, recent research has been focussing on how the chemical components in marijuana may be more beneficial than harmful if used properly. For example we discussed that one study found that a certain strain of the drug, that had lower THC levels, can be used to treat people with epilepsy. The reason that a strain like this works better than other strains is becuse there is a cannibinoid called cannibidol in marijuana that is linked with health benefits and is less psychoactive than the THC. By consuming a strain that has less THC and more cannibidol in it, a perosn would have reduced psychoactive effects and possibly have more health benefits from the drug. There is a lot of research going on today that is trying to find out how using cannibinoids in different treatments would work and how they would be beneficial to society. Treatments for a lot of things are blossoming such as: treating cancer and cancer symptoms, helping with eating disorders, slowing down the effects and controlling the symptoms of HIV and AIDS, helping with depression, reducing headaches, and aiding in many pain disorders. I think people warm up to this idea because it is a “natural” solution to very difficult problems we face in the health problems we are experienceing today. A lot more research needs to be conducted in order to pinpoint specific treatments using endocannibinoids, cannibinoid receptors, etc. however, I do think scientists are going in the right direction to discover how marijuana can be considered a treatment not just a drug.