The great marijuana debate

For many years, scientists and medical experts have argued about the pros and cons of using marijuana. Research studies have taken place in some of the best universities across the globe and yet there doesn’t appear to be any evidence that is conclusive enough to reach a worldwide stance on the use of the drug.

It looks like it will be some time before officials take a consistent approach, if ever. From the research studies that have been undertaken, the negative effects of cannabis in any form are related to mental illness, anxiety and paranoia, although this is found to be present in the long-term, heavy users of the drug. The research also found that the demographic of people that suffered the worst effects from the drug were teenagers, as their brains were still developing.

Marijuana is also said to lead to lung problems including cancer when smoked. The plant is also said to produce a lethargic feeling after the initial ‘high’ that many users seek from the drug. There are a number of ways that marijuana can be consumed; through smoking, in food, in tea and even in alcohol and oral sprays. With the popularity of e-cigs rising across many countries, the use of vaping to inhale cannabis has also risen. It is anticipated by many that this is less harmful than smoking the drug, but it is too early to reference any substantial evidence that backs this theory.

Those who argue in defense of the use of cannabis consider the pain relieving attributes to be of significant importance. In certain states in America, the medical use of marijuana has been legalized, and you will often see websites featuring ‘how to get a marijuana prescription’ or similar articles that encourage the use from a medical perspective. Symptoms that they advertise as being a treatment for include migraines, arthritis, MS, insomnia, back pain, chronic pain and many others.

In the UK however, the approach is very different. Cannabis is categorised as a Class B drug along with amphetamines, ketamine and a number of other high-risk drugs. If you are caught in possession of the drug in the UK you can face up to 5 years in prison and an unlimited fine. Supply and production of the plant can result in up to 14 years in prison, and yet you see countless news articles about police uncovering a cannabis farm in an area not so far away.

The debate for and against marijuana use will continue to grow momentum as and when more research results become available. Until this arrives, expect to see more headlines of illegal cannabis plant growing and the illegal recreational use across the UK and many other parts of the world.

Who knows what the future holds for this argument? It could easily swing either way when more evidence becomes available. We are still awaiting confirmation that e-cigs are scientifically proven to be less harmful than smoking in the long-term, so we will have to wait for science.

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Pete White Pete White

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