Marijuana smoking safety, danger, medicinal uses by Ray Sahelian, M.D. Benefit and health risk
Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the U.S. The main active chemical in marijuana is THC. Dozens of names are used to call marijuana including pot, ganga, weed, grass, herb, smoke, and many others. Occasional use appears to be safe.
Potential medical benefits
Cannabis can help reduce nausea and vomiting, stimulate hunger in chemotherapy and AIDS patients, and can lower intraocular eye pressure (glaucoma) and perhaps reduce pain in certain medical conditions.
Marijuana side effects
Short-term marijuana side effects include memory and learning problems, distorted perception, and difficulty thinking and solving problems. Many people notice euphoria, relaxation, a sense of wellbeing, sleepiness, increased appetite, and better music appreciation. Others may not like the effects and could experience unpleasant thoughts and paranoid feelings.
Long term side effects of heavy and regular marijuana use include lung disease, chronic cough, mucus, nasal congestion, lack of motivation, decrease in sexual desire, a few extra pounds, and potentially various types cancer. However, one study listed below shows no link between marijuana smoking and lung cancer. Heavy and regular consumption of tmarijuana triggers psychosis and schizophrenia in a small number of people. MRI tests show patients given the active cannabis compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) have reduced function in the inferior frontal cortex brain region. This area is associated with controlling inappropriate emotional and behavioural responses to situations.
Marijuana use may increase the risk of developing testicular cancer. A study of 369 Seattle-area men ages 18 to 44 with testicular cancer and 979 men in the same age bracket without the disease found that current marijuana users were 70 percent more likely to develop it compared to nonusers. The risk appeared to be highest among men who...