Marijuana, also known as cannabis, is a drug that is often abused along with other drugs like heroin and cocaine. Due to its beneficial nature in some circumstances, some states over the world have decided to legalize medical marijuana. Although, benefits of using marijuana are posited, it is an open secret that people tend to abuse this drug once they start using it. Its short and long term effects are too severe and grave to be ignored. Some effects of this drug abuse can be irreversible, thus resulting in permanent damage to a person.
According to a study by the National Eye Institute, marijuana can help treat glaucoma, an eye disease that causes blindness (Welsh & Loria). It is also suggested that marijuana actually improve lung health and decrease the harmful effects of tobacco (Welsh & Loria). A study conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University also concluded that epileptic seizures can be controlled by the help of cannabis (Welsh & Loria). This finding was very popular after it was published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
Another very important research led to the conclusion that the marijuana may be useful in stopping cancer from spreading in the body (Welsh & Loria). Also, another use very commonly seen is to cure a patient after chemotherapy. This is because marijuana is believed to stave off pain and keep away nausea. It reduces anxiety obviously because it acts like a sedative if taken in small doses. However, higher doses can lead to over-anxiety. Marijuana can also be used to give relief to patients of Parkinson’s disease because it helps them sleep better by reducing their pain and violent trembling (Welsh & Loria).
However, the harmful short and long term effects of marijuana are enough to send chills down one’s spine. In the short term, low doses of marijuana can cause the following: bad memory and inability to learn, problems in thinking clearly or sorting out problems, hopeless muscle coordination, very short span of attention and concentration, distorted sense of time and place, excessively risky driving, and unusually high food cravings (“Short and Long Term Effects”). If larger doses are taken, marijuana can lead to greater side effects such as the following: depression, excessively bad memory, hallucinations, inability to recognize where one is, and paranoia (“Short and Long Term Effects”).
Long term effects of marijuana have long been researched. Until now, researchers have been successful in concluding that chronic use of marijuana may cause depression to an extent where a person starts to have suicidal intentions (Tacon). It may even lead to schizophrenia (Tacon). One of the chemicals in marijuana reduces the ability of the immune system to work properly, thus making a person vulnerable to other illnesses. Sexual dysfunction may also result as a result of long term use. This happens because marijuana decreases the reproductive hormones. Memory can be permanently destroyed if the use of the drug is not controlled. Lastly, a child born to a mother who uses marijuana chronically may be abnormal by birth.
In order to put an end to at least the short term effects, the patient has to be cured of marijuana addiction. Therapies like motivational enhancement therapy (MET), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management (CM) are effectively employed to keep a person away from any further use of marijuana (Edwards). Antidepressants are prescribed in order to help a patient cope with feelings of depression induced by marijuana use (Edwards).
Edwards, Roxanne Dryden. “Marijuana.” Medicine.net. MedicineNet.Inc, n.d. Web. 4 Oct. 2014.
“Short and Long Term Effects.” Courtinfo.ca.gov. Administrative Office of the Courts, n.d. Web. 4 Oct. 2014.
Tacon, A.M. “The Long Term and Short Term Effects of Marijuana Use.” Livestrong.com. Demand Media, Inc., 16 Aug. 2013. Web. 4 Oct. 2014.
Welsh, Jennifer & Loria, Kevin. “23 Health Benefits of Marijuana.” Businessinsider.com. Business Insider Inc., 20 April 2014. Web. 4 Oct. 2014.