The debate is still raging over whether marijuana is good or bad for our health. Some people argue that it has medicinal benefits and can even help to treat certain medical conditions.
Others claim that it is a gateway drug that can lead to more serious problems down the road. In fact, many people who have never used marijuana say that they would never even consider it because of the potential risks.
So, what is the truth? Does marijuana cause more harm than good? Before you get a Marijuana Test to find out, consider the pros and cons of marijuana use.
What is marijuana, and what are its effects on the body?
Before diving into the pros and cons of marijuana, it’s important to understand what it is and how it affects the body. Marijuana is a plant that contains the chemical THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
THC is the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, meaning it produces the “high” that people feel when they use it. THC attaches to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and alters how the brain functions. For example, it can affect:
- Perception of time
In short, THC can make users feel relaxed, happy, and “stoned.” It can also cause some people to feel anxious, paranoid, or even panicky. Some people may also experience hallucinations or delusions.
THC is just one of many cannabinoids in marijuana. Others include CBD (cannabidiol) and CBN (cannabinol). CBD is thought to have medicinal benefits but does not produce a high. CBN is a breakdown product of THC that can make users feel sleepy.
How is marijuana used?
Marijuana can be used in a few different ways, including:
- Smoking it in a joint (a cigarette made with marijuana)
- Smoking it in a pipe or bong
- Eating foods that contain marijuana, such as brownies or cookies (these are called “edibles”)
- Drinking beverages that contain marijuana, such as tea
- Applying it to the skin in a lotion, cream, or oil
When people smoke marijuana, THC enters the bloodstream and quickly goes to the brain. The effects of smoking usually start within minutes and can peak in about 30 minutes. They can last for several hours.
As for ingesting marijuana, it can take much longer for the effects to be felt. When marijuana is eaten, it has to go through the digestive system first. This process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.
The pros of marijuana use
1. Marijuana can be used to treat certain medical conditions.
First and foremost, many people argue that marijuana can be used to treat certain medical conditions. These include everything from anxiety and depression to chronic pain and cancer.
THC is known to have some medicinal benefits. For example, it can help to:
- Relieve pain
- Reduce inflammation
- Control nausea and vomiting
- Stimulate appetite
- Relax muscles
Studies have shown that THC can be effective in treating these and other medical conditions. In some cases, it may even be more effective than traditional medications.
For example, one study found that THC was more effective in reducing pain than codeine, a common pain medication. THC is also thought to be more effective than other medications for nausea and vomiting, such as prochlorperazine (Compazine) and metoclopramide (Reglan).
Marijuana is also being used to treat more serious medical conditions, such as cancer. Some studies have found that THC can help to kill cancer cells or slow their growth. It may also help to reduce chemotherapy side effects, such as nausea and vomiting.
While more studies need to be done, there is some evidence that marijuana can be effective in treating these and other medical conditions.
2. Marijuana is much safer than other drugs.
Another common argument in favor of marijuana use is that it is much safer than other drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco. This is because it is almost impossible to overdose on marijuana, though there are still Drug Tests for it.
In fact, a person would need to smoke approximately 1,500 pounds of marijuana in 15 minutes to overdose. This is virtually impossible.
On the other hand, it is very easy to overdose on alcohol. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol poisoning kills six people daily in the United States.
Tobacco is also very dangerous. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths yearly. So, while marijuana use does carry some risks, it is much safer than using other drugs.
Related: Marijuana vs. Alcohol: Which Is Less Harmful?
3. Marijuana can be used recreationally.
In addition to its medicinal benefits, many people use marijuana recreationally. This means they use it for the “high” it produces rather than to treat a medical condition.
For some people, using marijuana is a way to relax and unwind. It can also make people feel happy, giddy, and even euphoric. Some people also use it to enhance the experience of music, art, and food.
Marijuana use is also becoming more socially acceptable. In recent years, a number of states have legalized marijuana for recreational use. This means that people in these states can legally buy and use marijuana without medical reasons.
The cons of marijuana use
1. Marijuana is not entirely safe.
While marijuana is much safer than other drugs, it is important to remember that it is not entirely safe. Marijuana use can cause a number of short- and long-term effects. For example, marijuana use can:
- Affect your ability to learn and remember things
- Interfere with your ability to concentrate and pay attention
- Affect your coordination
- Make you feel anxious, paranoid, or panicked
2. Marijuana use can also lead to addiction.
We’ve previously said that marijuana is not as addictive as other drugs, such as alcohol or tobacco. However, it is still possible to become addicted to marijuana.
People addicted to marijuana may have trouble stopping it even though it interferes with their daily lives. They may also continue using it even though it causes them problems.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 30 percent of people who use marijuana may have some degree of marijuana use disorder.
People who start using marijuana before the age of 18 are four to seven times more likely to develop a marijuana use disorder than adults.
3. Marijuana is not entirely legal.
Even though a number of states have legalized marijuana for medicinal or recreational use, it is still not entirely legal. This means that people who use marijuana in these states can still be arrested and punished under federal law.
If you live in a state where marijuana is not legal, you may be at risk of arrest and prosecution if you use it. This is especially true if you have a large amount of marijuana or if you sell it to others.
4. Marijuana has potentially negative effects on your health.
Like any drug, marijuana has the potential to cause negative effects on your health. These effects can be more pronounced if you use marijuana regularly or if you start using it at a young age.
Some of the potential negative effects of marijuana use include the following:
- Respiratory problems
- Immune system problems
- Mental health problems
Of course, not everyone who uses marijuana will experience these effects. And it’s important to remember that marijuana use is not nearly as dangerous as the use of other drugs, such as alcohol or tobacco.
However, with that said, it’s still important to be aware of the potential risks before you decide to use marijuana. Check out Lab Away Home Test Kits for common drugs and STD testing.
The Bottom Line: Does Marijuana cause more harm than good?
So, does marijuana cause more harm than good? The answer is expectedly complicated. On the one hand, marijuana has several potential risks and side effects. On the other hand, it also has several potential benefits supported by scientific research.
The decision of whether or not to use marijuana is personal and should be made after careful consideration of all the pros and cons of marijuana. If you do decide to use marijuana, be aware of the potential risks and take steps to minimize them.