Before I open Pandora’s Box and dive into this highly debated topic I want to make myself clear on two things.
First of all, I have never experienced marijuana in any way shape or form. Due to my lack of usage I am not stating that I know everything about it. Nor, am I stating how it effects me personally. I am only sharing some knowledge I have acquired from facts available online, in books, and what was legitimate research on my side.
Secondly, I am not passing judgment, or crucifying any person who has smoked or is currently. Or any person who is taking any form of prescription pain killers. Whether it may be for recreational or medicinal purposes.
This idea was brought to my attention by numerous people who emailed me, or messaged me via Facebook, for my new category on this blog. They wanted me to write about a newsworthy topic that held importance in their lives, and that they felt strongly about. With this particular genre of writing being outside of my comfort zone I jumped at the idea. I always love a challenge. So here it is for your reading pleasure, and also for you contemplate. As always I welcome feedback of any kind, negative or positive as it helps me grow as a writer.
Medical Cannabis ( medical marijuana) is used as a medical therapy to treat disease, alleviate symptoms stemming from present disease, or in some cases a pain suppressant. The use of this controversial drug in the history of medicine dates back thousands of years. Cannabis may and has been used for reducing nausea / vomiting in chemotherapy patients, people who have contracted AIDS, and for treating pain and muscle spasticity. I am sure there are more medical uses for the drug than I have listed here, but these are the most well known people relate it to. Though most long term effects of usage are unclear at this time there are concerns. Some of the prominent ones listed are breathing complications, behavioral issues, memory and cognition problems, as well as it being continually stated that it is a gateway drug. Some beneficial effects of Cannabis I had found were that it was good for managing neuropathic pain, antiemesis control, and that it has antidepressant properties.
There have been numerous studies that have shown both detrimental and beneficial effects of long term usage of Cannabis as well as pain killers. So now lets look at prescription pain medication in comparison. They too, are used for pain management in many cases. Some of the cases in which they are used are for body aches, AIDS and chemotherapy, and nerve pain. As I previously stated there are more uses than I have listed, I only provided mere examples for both. These type of drugs are also well known for being gateway drugs for “harder highs”. While the long term effects are still somewhat unclear on some of these forms of treatment, I would like to use Oxycodone for an example. This drug is very commonly used and I have seen it in many of my loved ones medical cabinets. What I have listed are what I have found to be some of the most prominent effects. These are anxiety, behavioral issues, impacted bowel, constipation, while in overall the nervous and gastrointestinal systems are influenced. The positive effects of this drug are that it blocks pain messages from the nerves to the brain, increases drowsiness which in some cases is necessary, and lessons anxiety.
If I had taken the time to list all of the effects for both Cannabis and Oxycodone we would be here all day, and I then would be writing a short story instead of this article. My point is that by the facts I have shared you can see that there are effects whether detrimental or not, to both of the drugs. While I was reading I had come across a fact that I found interesting. It had said research has shown that the addiction potential for Cannabis is less than caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol. Which lead me to then in turn look into the addiction potential of Oxycodone. Within minutes of my investigation it was stated that the drug was known to have one of the most powerful addiction potentials. Though it did not give a simple comparison, I am no dummy in realizing that it is far worse than a cigarette. As where Cannabis was less than…
Where I am trying to go with this is to not so much voice my opinion on the matter, but for you to realize that there are many ways to become addicted in almost everything. Even in something as accessible as energy drinks. There are also side effects to every pill, alcoholic beverage, or Tylenol we put into our bodies. Most people are quick to rule out medical marijuana, pain killers, and other forms of treatment because they are “bad”. When people are not noticing that the less publicized forms of medicine are just as harmful long term if not worse.
My view is more complex than a simple yes or no as far as safety is concerned. I see no black and white, but just pure gray. I do not feel comfortable voicing an overall opinion when there is so much information available, and pro’s and con’s to this topic that I am just purely indecisive. (So I am sorry to the reader that specifically asked my opinion.) But I did decide to share a few of the facts with you in hopes that it would spark something within you to research as well. Like I said this is not even the tip of the iceberg.
I ask you this in closing…
What is and isn’t safe to treat people with when there are so many bad outcomes that come with the good? Yes, we know that side effects are unavoidable, but everything also has the potential to become addictive. Even if done in moderation, or as prescribed by a doctor. So from wine and Red bulls, to marijuana and prescription medications, you be the judge and decide for yourself.