History of medicinal use of cannabis can be traced back to ancient times, where traditional physicians in different parts of the world mixed various medicines with marijuana to treat pain and ailments. Cannabis was introduced in the 19th century for therapeutic use in western medicine; notably, it has gone through several advancements concerning drug administration. However, the topic of marijuana application for medicinal purposes has witnessed mixed reactions with those against the drug, arguing that patients have abused cannabis medicinal drugs for recreational practices for its psychoactive effects. In contrast, proponents of the substance say that cannabis can be useful in the treatment of patients suffering from anxiety disorders and insomnia with limited risks compared to other prescription pills. Therefore, a rise in medicinal applications of cannabis has prompted the legalization of marijuana in several states in the United States.
The medical sector exhibits a variety of opinions concerning the use of medical cannabis. Some professionals have emphasized its importance, arguing that with correct prescriptions, medicinal marijuana can offer various benefits, including slowing and stopping cancer cells from spreading and treating glaucoma, among other benefits (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2017). Since cancer has no cure, the only option for medical providers is to slow it from spreading further. As a result, studies show that cannabidiol has the ability to limit the spread of cancer by turning off its active genes (Karst, 2018). The author also notes that marijuana helps in slowing down the growth of tumors in the brain, lungs, and breast. Furthermore, marijuana can be used to treat glaucoma by lowering pressure inside the eye to avoid loss of vision. However, other medical practitioners argue that the frequent use of cannabis may reduce the effectiveness of other medications such as antidepressants.
Although discussions are ongoing concerning legalization of cannabis so that it can be used to treat illnesses, the drug has, for a long time, been classified as an addictive substance with no medical benefits. However, marijuana is legal in several states in the U.S. as it is used to manage various conditions, such as anxiety, depression, and treatment of glaucoma. Albeit studies have shown that the use of marijuana has harmful effects, some people use it for recreational purposes (Miller & Oberbarnscheidt, 2017). The authors further note that cannabis has hundreds of particular unknown components, which have deleterious effects on a user’s cells after an extended period of usage. Therefore, based on the above evidence, the future use of medicinal cannabis should be limited to discourage its misuse.
Karst, A. (2018). Weighing the benefits and risks of medical marijuana use: A brief review. Pharmacy, 6(4), 128.
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2017). Therapeutic effects of cannabis and cannabinoids. In the health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids: The current state of evidence and recommendations for research. National Academies Press (US).
Miller, N. S., & Oberbarnscheidt, T. (2017). Health policy for marijuana. Journal of Addiction Research and Therapy, 2155-6105.doi:10.4172/2155-6105.1000S11-018
#2 Adianez Hernandez Castro
Presumably, cannabis was first used in medicine around 400 AD. In the USA, it was widely used as a medicine in the 19th and early 20th centuries. However, due to the act of 1937 and subsequent laws criminalizing the use of marijuana, the procurement of cannabis for academic purposes was restricted. Only in 1996, California became the first state to allow the legal access and use of botanical cannabis for medical purposes, after which many states allowed its medicinal use to a certain extent (Bridgeman & Abazia, 2017, p. 180).
1. The therapeutic properties of cannabis are controversial and cause debate. Proponents, mostly including the general public, claim that there is evidence to support botanical drug cannabis in the treatment of various conditions, especially when symptoms cannot be treated with other methods, that there are beneficial cannabinoids, and that cannabis is relatively safe. Opponents, which include government agencies and the FDA, argue that there is insufficient research to support the benefits and harms of cannabis, that there is no formal standardization of pharmacologically active ingredients, and that there is potential for addiction and long-term harm (Bridgeman & Abazia, 2017, p. 181).
2. Current medical research on the subject is controversial. On the one hand, scientific evidence points to the potential therapeutic value of cannabinoid drugs to relieve pain, stimulate appetite, and control nausea. An additional benefit discovered is that marijuana is effective in relieving some of the symptoms of HIV/AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, and multiple sclerosis. On the other hand, smoked marijuana also delivers harmful substances and has psychological effects such as decreased anxiety, sedation, and euphoria, which are potentially undesirable for some patients and situations (NCSL, 2020).
3. The general use of cannabis for medical purposes is gaining increasing recognition throughout the country, which is supported at the policy level by legislative actions, ballot measures, and public opinion polls. About 60% of the population believes that this substance should be legalized. Some health care providers may also consider this therapy under certain circumstances. At the time of 2017, cannabis was approved for medicinal use in 28 states and several more districts in the United States (Bridgeman & Abazia, 2017, p. 180). Such current situation indicates a potential increase in the use of medical cannabis in the future.
Bridgeman, M., & Abazia, D. (2017). Medicinal cannabis: History, pharmacology, and implications for the acute care setting. P&T: A Peer-Reviewed Journal for Formulary Management, 42(3), 180–188. Retrieved 1 April 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5312634/.
NCSL. (2020). State medical marijuana laws. Ncsl.org. Retrieved 1 April 2020, from https://www.ncsl.org/research/health/state-medical-marijuana-laws.aspx.
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