I started this marijuana “madness ” 2 weeks ago, by popular demand. I thought I would just do one piece of it, and re-visit anti-malarial drugs – which unfortunately is being abused by all of us. A lot of people wanted to know the most effective anti-malarial. I plead with them to permit me to discuss it next week.
For now, I am faced with marijuana epidemics. Someone from Abuja wanted to know which one was better “marijuana” or “cocaine “. I corrected him that he should rather ask, which was worse – marijuana or cocaine. When I asked which one he was taking – he prevaricated and said that cocaine was for the rich, and wee-wee(as he chose to call it), was for the poor. Then I cautioned him, ” whether you are rich or poor, please stay off both of them”.
As I said last week, research has shown that most young men, out of curiosity experiment with marijuana, more than they do with cocaine, may be probably because of its high cost. Our duty is to discuss those 10 facts, as enunciated by Drug Policy Alliance ( DPA). Parents must be made aware of everything about the dangers of marijuana. We stopped at number 3 last week. Now let us continue.
(4) Does marijuana legalisation lead to increased use?
Change in marijuana laws have not been found to have a significant impact on rates of adult use. When it comes to use by young people several recent reports have found that use among teenagers has actually decreased.
(5) What is the relationship between marijuana and cancer?
• According to the most scientifically valid studies, long term marijuana smoking is not associated with elevated cancer risk, including lung, melanoma, prostrate, breast or cervix.
• Scientists hypothesise that the anti-oxidant properties of marijuana might override any cancer-causing chemicals found in marijuana smoke therefore protecting the body against the impact of smoking. That alone is a huge surprise to most people, but that is just the beginning.
• A study in 2009, actually found that moderate marijuana smoking over 20-year-period was actually associated with a reduced risk of head and neck cancer. Infact some of the chemicals especially Tetra-Hydro-Cannabinol (THC) and Cann-Bi-Diol(CBD) have been found to promote tumour cell death, and show potential as effective tools in treating cancer.
6) How strong is today’s marijuana?
The marijuana available today is the same plant, that has been used for thousands of years. Due to the large number of marijuana varieties, however, the level of THC – the main ingredient varies.
7) Does marijuana impair driving the way alcohol does?
Yes and no. Large doses of marijuana can affect perception and psychomotor performance, changes that could impair driving ability. But in driving studies, marijuana produces little or no car-handling impairment – consistently less than that produced by moderate doses of alcohol and many legal medications.
8) Are many people becoming dependent on marijuana?
Fewer than 10% of those who try marijuana ever end up meeting the clinical criteria for dependence. Whereas 32% of tobacco users and 15% of alcohol users become dependent. That means people are less dependent on marijuana than on alcohol and tobacco.
9) Does marijuana negatively impact mental health?
Not very pronounced, most people diagnosed with severe mental illness, have a history of alcohol or other drugs abuse. Which mean that those using marijuana alone have no comparative increment in mental illness.
10) Does using marijuana have long term effects on the brain?
There is no convincing evidence that even heavy long-term marijuana use by adults, permanently impairs memory or other cognitive functions.
It is strongly recommended that teenagers, should not use marijuana as their brains are still developing, and in particular, the part of the brain that controls emotional development, can be sensitive, and be easily damaged.
Marijuana as treatment.
¤ Research by (DPA) suggests that those with mental illness might actually be self-medicating with marijuana – turning to the plant to help manage symptoms, rather than becoming ill after use.
¤ Emerging evidence indicates that psychiatric patients who try marijuana show significant improvements in symptoms and clinical outcomes (such as lower mortality rates and better cognitive functions) compared with those who have not. This must be administered under strict professional and clinical guidance. Who knows in 5 to 10 years we might be heading to a breakthrough in treating our so called “mad people “(schizophrenia & depression) , whom we erroneously thought that the major cause of their “madness” was smoking marijuana.
¤ Lastly some of the unique chemicals in marijuana such as cannabidiol(CBD), seem to have antipsychotic properties. Now researchers are investigating it as a possible treatment for schizophrenia and depression.
• Whatever you do, this write-up is not a licence for us to start experimenting with marijuana as a cure-all for our perceived mental illness. Always be medically guided.
Next week we shall revisit anti-malarial and its abuse.