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The Never-ending Saga of Marijuana

“So what we get drunk?
So what we smoke weed?
We’re just having fun
We don’t care who sees
So what we go out?
That’s how it’s supposed to be
Living young and wild and free”

This song by Wes Khalifa has stirred some mixed reactions from different parts of the world  (some radio stations even that part “So what we smoke weed?” edited), the same way how people from different parts of the world react  to marijuana.  Though the consumption of marijuana in religious  or spiritual rites dates back from the 3rd millenium BC.  Today, consumption, possession, sale, transport and cultivation of marijuana is illegal in most countries and is highly regulated when used medicinal purposes.  Recreational consumption isn’t legal anywhere in the United States but medical uses of marijuana are legal in  Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

In some, consumption in small amounts is decriminalized  and is merely considered as a misdemeanor. In Czech Republic, possession of up to fifteen grams for personal use or cultivation of up to five plants is merely a misdemeanor from year 2010. The plant and sale remains illegal.

Surprisingly, in some countries, the laws are overlooked. While marijuana is technically illegal in Cambodia, the use of cannabis is widespread among the Khmer people and foreigners visiting the country. Marijuana can easily be purchased and smoked in public areas without the threat of arrest. Unofficially, – you’re relatively free to buy and use marijuana, yaba, and heroin from the streets of Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville , so long as you don’t flaunt it unnecessarily. Marijuana is even a main ingredient or added as side garnish by “Happy” restaurants located in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.

Marijuana (from the Mexican-Spanish marihuana) also known as cannabis when used medically has several well-documented beneficial effects.

The cannabinoids and THC in preparations of the cannabis plant has “antispasmodic” qualities and can be used as muscle relaxant that is known to help a patient of seizures and work as analgesic  and relieve patients of migraine

The human body  is naturally attuned to these molecules and it uses them them to great effect. Marijuana has shown that it can help with symptoms of the chronic diseases as it stops nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and pangs of hunger as an effect of chemotherapy.
Research have also shown that the THC found in marijuana can prevent Alzheimer’s by blocking the deposits in the brain that cause the disease. It can also help  in the treatment of  multiple sclerosis by stopping the neurological effects and muscle spasms that come from the fatal disease.
A recent post from www.huffingtonpost.com reveals that the collaboration of two scientists – Pierre Desprez, a molecular biologist who spent decades studying the gene that causes cancer to spread (ID-1) and  Sean McAllister  who was studying the effects of Cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-toxic, non-psychoactive chemical compound found in the cannabis plant - has lead to the discovery that a compound derived from marijuana could stop metastasis in many kinds of aggressive cancer. A fact that could siginificantly altering the fatality of the disease. The result was derived from both laboratory and animal testing, and is awaiting permission for clinical trials in humans.
Since they found no toxicity in the animals they’ve tested, both are hoping that clinical trials with humans as subjects will soon begin.
The scientific community may welcome this development but some sectors of society may be not too receptive.

Why the mixed reaction?

When consumed, cannabis has psychoactive and physiological effects.

Is there hope for dope? (photo credit from http://www.economist.com/)

One of the neurological effects is the noticeable subjective change in perception, mood  and emotions. Thus a person who has consumed marijuana could become euphoric or emotional a few minutes after its consumption.

It also impinges on the central nervous system by attaching to the brain’s neurons and interfering with normal communication between the neurons. These nerves respond by altering their initial behavior. For example, if a nerve is suppose to assist one in retrieving short-term memory, cannabinoids receptors make them do the opposite. So if one has to remember what he did five minutes ago, after smoking a high dose of marijuana, he has trouble. It impairs not only the short-tem memory but also dampens concentration.

As for the  physiological effects, smokingweed increases the heart rate and appetite and lowers blood pressure.

Long-term effects are less clear; its effect to intelligence,memory, respiratory functions and the possible relationship of cannabis use to mental disorders are still under discussion. Deaths attributed directly to overdose of marijuana are infrequent but there had been documentations about marijuana-related deaths.

How ironic it is that at this day and age, there’s still so much to learn and explore about marijuana.

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From WellBody.net™, post The Never-ending Saga of Marijuana

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