Medical Marijuana Cons

Annie Skamarycz, Editor

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As controversy strikes some of those who reside in states where medical and recreational marijuana is being legalized, people go back and forth debating whether medical marijuana is a beneficial medication to treat symptoms caused by certain illnesses. So the question is, how does marijuana affect the brain-  in teenagers and adults?

According to Canabo Medical Clinic’s article, “10 Most Common Conditions Medical Cannabis Is Prescribed For” marijuana  can help with severe conditions; these include multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, cancer, HIV/AIDS, arthritis, epilepsy, and insomnia. Cannabis can help with spasms and seizures with conditions such multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. On some occasions, multiple cancer patients are prescribed medical marijuana for severe symptoms such as nausea from chemotherapy, anorexia or weight loss. HIV/AIDS  has with symptoms like decreased appetite, anorexia, and nausea.

Although medical cannabis has been found to assist multiple patients with illnesses or conditions accompanied by severe symptoms, looking more closely at the topic – research shows that THC/CBD can have harsh effects on brain development, cognitive ability, and memory. According to scientific research, people under the influence of THC have been found to experience symptoms such as altered senses, altered sense of time, mood changes, impaired body movement, difficulty with thinking and problem solving skills, and impaired memory. Some side effects from THC taken in higher dosages include hallucinations, delusions, and psychosis. These risks must be taken seriously.

As adolescents, our brains are still developing; our prefrontal cortex, which is located at the front of the frontal lobe in the brain, is still developing in our teenage years. Constantly putting THC into your system as a teenager can severely long-term affect the brain. When people start heavily using cannabis in their teenage years, it long-term effects thinking abilities, memory, problem solving skills, and the ability to learn. Researchers are still studying how long marijuana’s effects last and whether some changes may be permanent.

A study from New Zealand conducted in part by researchers at Duke University showed that prescribed patients who started smoking medical marijuana heavily in their teens had an ongoing marijuana use disorder and lost an average of 8 I.Q. points between ages 13 and 38. These lost abilities did not return to those that didn’t quit marijuana until their adult years.

Medical marijuana (or cannabis) has been found to help many who have been affected by certain illnesses or conditions. However, the effects THC has on the brain -especially on the developing brains of adolescents — can be severely harsh.