Deakin Communicating Science 2016

EES 200/101

Weed: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

In my last blog post I discussed the Science of Marijuana, and what actually gets you high. This time I’ll be discussing the Pros and Cons of its use, so sit back and relax dude! Let’s chill for a bit and sort this out!

Now, in my opinion I feel that the pros of Marijuana far outweigh the cons. My opinion doesn’t really matter though, I’m here to discuss facts…and science!

Cons

Now, a little unconventionally, I’ll be starting with the cons.

In my last blog post I mentioned that THC confuses the signals between neurons, as a result of this the user may experience: hallucinations, short term memory loss, and distorted perception (Volkow, N.D. 2016).

Of course, this means that you probably shouldn’t operate any heavy machinery (or cars for that matter) while under the influence, though alcohol still takes first place in the cause of accidents on the road.

Research shows that as a recreational drug used by adolescents it is likely that “pot” could be a gateway drug, leading users to abuse of other narcotics like: cigarettes, ice, ecstasy and other party drugs.

Spongebob_Brain_Fire

Figure 1: What might (not) happen after prolonged use. (retrieved from WordPress Media Library)

When Cannabis is used frequently from adolescence and through adulthood, results have shown that it has adverse affects on memory, IQ and general brain function. In some instances of abuse of the drug, addiction has been seen.

Additionally, based off of studies exposing rats to THC for prolonged periods of time it has been seen that it actually might increase the rate of neuron loss in the hippocampus (in the brain).

Pros

Marijuana has been proven to relieve many symptoms from a range of diseases, and though it is still being clinically tested, the results have been promising.

It can provide pain relief, prevent seizures and relieve symptoms of Cancer. This has been seen when it has been provided to children suffering from epilepsy and terminal cancer. So Marijuana confuses the signals sent between our neurons and blocks up receptors for a short period of time, hence the pain relief and relaxation associated with the drug.

Now, aside from the negative effects of prolonged use of Marijuana, it is actually quite harmless. Cannabis is a naturally occurring plant species. It’s only processed to activate the THC in the plant before being distributed.

Let’s take a look at this info again…

An important thing to note when looking back over this information is that the cons are all as a direct result of abuse of recreational Marijuana.

 

 

 

9abc3e758f13e85a432a840b70e53d13

Figure 2: Breaking Bad

While ice, ecstasy and other party drugs might be cooked up “Breaking Bad” style, with an array of poisonous, carcinogenic substances, you might notice that Marijuana is actually the best of a bad bunch.

 

There is minimal processing of the plant and it’s actually safer than smoking cigarettes, which as we all know, are still very much legalised.

You might wonder why there seems to be more Cons in this blog than Pros, but that’s because my next blog post is based around the biggest Pro: Medicinal Marijuana.


References:

Deakin Comsci 2016, Spongebob Brain Fire, gif, WordPress, retrieved 8 May 2016, <https://deakincomsci2016.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/spongebob_brain_fire.gif&gt;.

Hill, KP 2015, Marijuana : the unbiased truth about the world’s most popular weed, Center City, Minnesota Hazelden, 2015.

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 2016, What Are Marijuana’s Long-Term Effects on the Brain?, retrieved 8 May 2016, <https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/how-does-marijuana-use-affect-your-brain-body&gt;.

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 2016, What Are Marijuana’s Effects on General Physical Health?, retrieved 8 May 2016, <https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/what-are-marijuanas-effects-general-physical-health&gt;.

The Greens 2016, ‘Relieving Suffering’, Greens, retrieved 8 May 2016, <http://greens.org.au/initiatives/vic/relieving-suffering&gt;.

unthankpin 2014, Walter White Cook, image, Pinterest, retrieved 8 May 2016, <https://au.pinterest.com/pin/342695852866417184/?from_navigate=true&gt;.

Volkow, N.D. 2016, Letter From the Director, retrieved 8 May 2016, <https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/letter-director>

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One comment on “Weed: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

  1. isabelleplusscience
    May 10, 2016

    Hey there, really enjoyed your choice of topic as I feel any talk of drugs is usually either widely censored or otherwise completely avoided…especially when conceiving them in a positive light. I was interested to know the effects of marijuana on memory as well as the potential for addiction. I do agree that the drug has numerous benefits for example alleviating stress and providing a temporary relief from joint and muscle pain. This I suppose would be a result of the THC’s pain relieving properties. It has also proven beneficial for individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress, enabling the mind to relax in a calm and non-violent manner which is much more likely to occur when using alcohol as an escape. Unfortunately, I must however admit that marijuana as a drug though a ‘lesser evil’ one might say when comparing with other more lethal drugs, can lead to extremely hazardous consequences for some individuals. Those with a genetic history of mental illness more specifically mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or psychosis have an extremely high chance of triggering these illnesses within themselves through marijuana. This is known as drug-induced psychosis and is the reason marijuana is especially dangerous for people who already have a predisposition to mental illness.

    Like

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This entry was posted on May 10, 2016 by in Geelong - Wednesday 3pm and tagged , , , .

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