This post is springing up from a discussion that took place on the subject of how beneficial or harmful is Cannabis? The popularity of marijuana continues to rise, and what makes this interesting is that currently, marijuana is a schedule 1 substance, which effectively limits how in-depth it can be researched in the United States. To thicken the plot; this conversation came up as a young adult within the group that was discussing, was caught by his parent. The topic of how cannabis affects a developing teen's brain was also part of the conversation.
A question that was posed was as follows..."What are the positives of letting a healthy young adult smoke pot?"
This is a great and valid question to ask if you're a concerned parent. Thinking of all the information I've come across on this topic throughout my time being a health optimizing expert. Trying to give a simple answer just isn't possible. It is a complex topic with many variables that will inevitably end up as a long-winded response. What is a healthy person and what are we going to use as a control? Someone living a standard American life on a standard American diet?
Let's dive into the little bit of the research that has come in the recent past as states have begun to legalize and therefore open the door to more honest and open research.
Marijuana has been with us in some way or another since the dawn of humanity. After all this time, there is still a lot of public debate about what, exactly, pot’s risks and benefits are. A meta-analysis from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine attempts to fill the gap in our limited knowledge to this point. By streamlining more than 10,000 studies published since 1999, the review, conducted by more than a dozen research teams, provides the clearest look at the scientific evidence on marijuana yet. The research finds both some strong benefits and major downsides to cannabis. It seems to be promising for chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and cancer patients. But it also seems to pose a significant risk for respiratory problems if smoked, schizophrenia and psychosis, car crashes, lagging social achievement in life, and perhaps pregnancy-related problems if abused The findings are for marijuana or cannabinoids, chemical compounds commonly found in pot. It’s possible that, down the line, some of the benefits, in particular, will be split from the marijuana leaf itself — although many experts believe that there’s an “entourage effect” with marijuana in which all of its cannabinoids and chemicals, which number in the hundreds, work synergistically to make its effects as potent as possible. The report is, by its own admission, only the best guess for a lot of its findings, because much of the research out there just isn’t very good. The report pins the lack of good research largely on government policies — particularly regulatory barriers linked to marijuana’s federal classification as a highly restricted Schedule 1 substance — that make it hard to conduct good research on the drug. The National Academies ultimately calls for these barriers to be removed so that more research can be funded to get a better idea of what this plant is capable of, especially as more states legalize it for both medical and recreational uses. In any case, this report is the best look at marijuana yet. It is nearly 400 pages. This article will be a summary of this and many other resources that I've come across in my curiosity to optimize health. ￼ What are marijuana’s benefits? Since the mid-1990s, 28 states have legalized marijuana for medical uses. But in all that time, the benefits of pot have remained "hazy." Despite some research pointing that it can be good for general to intense pain and muscle stiffness, many of the claims about what pot can do for other ailments — such as epilepsy and irritable bowel syndrome — are based on anecdotal evidence and to continue to be researched. The report can’t fully validate or invalidate all of the claims about marijuana’s claimed benefits, given that there's still not enough research on any of these questions, and much of the studies that are out there are lacking as it's really the wild west in our understanding of it. As research continues to dig there are some solid preliminary findings. The review confirms what previous studies have found: There is “conclusive evidence” that marijuana is good for treating chronic pain. This is one of the most common reasons cited for marijuana’s medical & recreational use — With my experience working with patients at a pain clinic, I've noticed anecdotally that the ones that are more open to cannabis, and of course are committed to their exercise rehab seem to heal much faster than those that report not to consume cannabis, but are equally committed. The report also found “conclusive evidence” that marijuana is effective for treating chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Coupled with the findings on pain, this suggests that marijuana really is a potent treatment for cancer patients in particular, who can suffer from debilitating pain and severe nausea as a result of their illness. It's also pointing towards being beneficial towards everyday pain that many suffer from such as back pain and discomfort from menstrual pain in women. The report also found positive correlations for patients with multiple sclerosis(which I've witnessed first hand), sleep disturbances, fibromyalgia, Tourette Syndrome, anxiety, and PTSD. There was even “limited evidence” of a correlation between marijuana and better outcomes after a traumatic brain injury. The report also disproved — or at least cast a lot of doubt — on some of the claimed benefits of pot. It found “limited evidence” that marijuana is ineffective for treating symptoms associated with dementia and glaucoma. It found “no or insufficient evidence” for marijuana as a treatment for cancer-associated anorexia, irritable bowel syndrome, epilepsy, spasticity in patients with paralysis due to spinal cord injury, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, drug addiction, and schizophrenia. This doesn’t mean that marijuana can’t treat any of these, just that we need to come to a clearer understanding of the mechanisms behind how these diseases and cannabis interact — for example, some patients who are prescribed for these ailments, will swear that marijuana helped treat their situation — There’s just not enough evidence so far to evaluate the claims. This means that we need to keep looking, as there is still much to learn. ￼
The bottom line is that marijuana/cannabis can pose benefits and harm, just like most everything else that we come into contact with. At the risk of an oversimplified example, water is one of the best things we can consume, but if we overdose on it we can thin our blood to the point of death, or drown. Dose, and mindset matter. I for one am looking forward to learning about all the benefits and harm that cannabis and many other interesting substances have in store for us to unlock and learn from. Here's to the tough conversations that come up as parents learning to grow with growing children, and to optimizing every part of that growth.
Track Of The Day - Young, Wild & Free - Snoop Dogg & Whiz Kalifa