Cannabis, Good or Bad for Health?
These are the conclusions of the most comprehensive study ever done on the health effects of cannabis. The new work, published by the United States National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, is the most rigorous on the subject.
The American government commissioned it to shed light on lawmakers. They are receiving all kinds of conflicting pressures on this issue. But the report leaves things at the starting point. In some respects, yes; in others, no. Maybe yes, maybe no. Satisfied and short: science is not in a position today to answer these questions unequivocally.
A Common Controversy on Cannabis
The effects of weed on health have long been at the center of bitter controversy. The common argument is whether its use is good or harmful to health. For some, it is a dangerous substance that, like any other drug, creates dependency and carries a series of risks that cannot be overlooked. On the other hand, others defend recreational use because it has nothing to do with heroin, synthetic drugs, and even alcohol. They believe in a friendlier and more social medicine that does not make users sick. THC oil side effects have long been at the center of a bitter controversy over whether its use is good or harmful to health.
These confronted positions have been nuanced in recent years with the arrival of the third point of view that defends that, used properly. Under medical supervision, cannabis helps treat some diseases. Outside the debate, most countries’ authorities have remained firm when considering that cannabis is a drug. And as such, it must be prosecuted.
Effects of weed on health
In recent years, other questions have been asked by many researchers, who have left abundant scientific literature on the effects of cannabis. It means that, unlike what happened two decades ago, there is now a lot of information. But it is one thing to have a lot of data and another to have unequivocal answers.
It is clear to the authors of the report prepared by the United States Academy of Sciences that, after reviewing the essential works on the subject published since 1999, they have concluded that neither the benefits nor the problems of cannabis have proven beyond doubt.
Why does cannabis affect your coordination?
The American institution’s report marks a before and after in the study on the effects of using cannabis or some of its derivatives on health because the committee has reviewed more than 10,000 works. The result: the most comprehensive and rigorous study ever published on the impact of cannabis on health.
That they have failed to dispel the doubts does not mean that the study authors – a team of sixteen experts in different fields, from neurology to psychiatry to epidemiology and oncology – have not reached any conclusions. On the contrary, they have come close to a hundred. They have not been able to state categorically that cannabis is therapeutic, as many say, but not that it can cause all kinds of physical and mental disorders, as others say.
The publication of the report comes at a time when some countries are considering the possibility of decriminalizing the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes, an intensified debate since, now a year ago, a group of scientists from different countries published ‘The Lancet’ a controversial article in which they called for the decriminalization of drugs. Scientists claimed that the current policy on prohibitions does not work to combat addiction, puts users at risk, and fuels crime and organized crime.
The recent report does not enter the legal arena but alerts to the growing trend to advertise the alleged benefits of cannabis. The authors say that, around them, an industry similar to that of vitamins is growing, encouraging people concerned about health to consume products that, in reality, are not of any use.
These are the main conclusions of the study:
According to the committee, there is evidence that cannabis or its derivatives can be used to achieve a significant decrease in pain. They also improve people with multiple sclerosis spasms if they take cannabis derivatives orally; the same products decrease nausea and vomiting from those who undergo chemotherapy treatment.
The study analyzes the arguments of those claiming that cannabis increases cancer risk. It concludes that this statement cannot be demonstrated. With current data in hand, it cannot be said that it increases the risk of cancers associated with tobacco, such as cancers of the lungs or neck.
Heart attacks, strokes, diabetes
Some data seems to point to the possibility that cannabis smoking may be a factor that stimulates heart attacks. Still, it cannot be reliably stated, nor is there irrefutable evidence that it causes strokes or diabetes.
As with tobacco, the data shows that smoking cannabis regularly causes increased chronic bronchitis, chronic cough, and phlegm episodes. Instead, there is no evidence to show that it causes other respiratory illnesses, such as obstruction or malfunction of the lungs or asthma.
There is no evidence that weed or its derivatives have any positive or negative effect on the immune system. On the other hand, although limited, some data suggest that its use could have a beneficial anti-inflammatory effect.
Mental health benefits of cannabinoids
It appears that cannabis use could lead to an increased risk of developing schizophrenia and anxiety. Besides, it seems to a lesser degree, depression. Furthermore, users who consume more cannabis have more suicidal thoughts than the rest of the population.
According to the study, a person who has used cannabis before driving is more likely to have a traffic accident. It has also been shown that many minors consume accidentally in places where use is allowed.
One of the most common accusations of cannabis detractors is that its use creates memory and attention problems. The study concludes that this is so and points out that it could negatively affect students’ academic results. Besides, there is a negative impact on their ability to establish normal social relationships.
Consumption during pregnancy
Some data suggest that smoking cannabis during pregnancy could reduce the baby’s weight. But there are not enough elements to conclude that mothers’ use directly affects children.