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Benefits v. Harm of Marijuana

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Marijuana is a plant with psychotropic properties. Smoke the leaves and you’ll find yourself floating high above your worries and anxieties. It’s no wonder that human beings all over the world have smoked this plant for thousands of years. Marijuana also has some analgesic properties and anti-nausea properties, making it a natural antidote for ancient humans with chronic or terminal illnesses. A mummy found in Russia, called the Siberian Ice Princesses, most likely died from late-stage breast cancer. She was buried with a small amount of cannabis, signifying the importance of the plant in her life. 


Today, scientists have identified the chemicals partly responsible for the effects of marijuana. Cannabidiol or CBD is now FDA approved to treat a certain type of epilepsy thanks to its anti-seizure effects. This chemical is extracted and purified from the cannabis or marijuana plant. Since CBD does not get people “high,” it can improve quality of life without incapacitating the person.


THC, the psychotropic chemical in marijuana, has some anti-nausea properties. Many cancer patients on chemotherapy find it useful to smoke marijuana to help with the side effects of their treatment. Another benefit of THC is that it stimulates your appetite, it “gives you the munchies.” This helps AIDS patients who have successfully lowered their viral load to gain the weight necessary to recover. 


And finally, the biggest difference between marijuana and other drugs is that it’s practically impossible to overdose. While it is possible to experience negative and unpleasant side effects, smoking or eating a lot of marijuana products won’t kill you. And since this drug does not stimulate the dopamine reward centers, it’s not possible to develop a chemical dependence on it.

Negative Side Effects

Of course, there are downsides to using marijuana. Taking too much THC can cause paranoia, rapid heart rate and high blood pressure. It’s often advised that people who don’t enjoy the side effects of THC should use products that also contain CBD, since it tends to counteract the negative effects.

Lung Scarring Due to Vaping

Another downside has to do with vaping. Specifically, the ingredients in the vape oil. Unregulated, black-market versions have led to serious lung injuries and inflammatory conditions such as popcorn lungs. These can end in permanent lung scarring and lung damage. If you are interested in vaping, always get your oils from legal dispensaries in states where marijuana is legal. 

Psychological Dependency

Finally, people can form psychological dependencies on marijuana. This means that you feel as though you need to smoke cannabis in order to calm down or feel less anxious. A good tip before doing any psychoactive drug is to make sure that you’re in a good place. Using marijuana or alcohol or other prescription drugs to deal with stressors in life won’t make the stressors go away. Plus, you never learn to deal with these stresses since you’re choosing to avoid them. If you’re thinking of using marijuana for medicinal purposes, make sure to speak to your doctor first. If you’re thinking of using it for recreational purposes, make sure that you’re doing it for the right reason – to have fun.



Reprinted with permission from

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