The Pros and Cons of Marijuana Use in the Brain Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Marijuana is one of the most discussed drugs in the world because of arguments based on its benefits and perceived detrimental effects. Part of the reason for the arguments is that marijuana is still classified federally as a Schedule 1 narcotic, meaning it falls under the class of hard drugs—such as heroin, LSD and cocaine (DEA, 2018). Thus, many countries limit its use and sale. However, many people actually see marijuana is a useful drug with social and medicinal benefits, such as its ability to relieve pain (Joy & Mack, 2000). In some American states, for that reason, marijuana has been legalized, and people are free to use it for recreational purposes as well as medical reasons. Indeed, for many years, people have associated marijuana use with mental relaxation and with its ability to reduce depression and tension. However, there is not a significant sample size of studies that have been done to support the argument (Yarnell, 2015). The following paper outlines and discusses the contribution of marijuana in the management of anxiety, mental disorders, aging, brain deficits and pain, while also examining on the other hand the possibility of and potential for brain damage caused by use of marijuana.

Background on Marijuana and Its Chemical Components

Cannabis sativa is a naturally occurring plant that has been known to mankind for thousands of years. CBD, as it is commonly referred to today, stands for cannabidiol—a naturally-occurring chemical constituent that is just one of the several dozen types of cannabinoids contained in cannabis. CBD oil is used today to help prevent or treat a range of different health issues (Romano & Hazekamp, 2013). Cannabis is known as both hemp and marijuana—the former is valued for its practical uses (both industrial and herbal) and the latter is valued for its intoxicating effects. The difference between hemp and marijuana is the degree to which Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is present in the plant. Hemp plants typically have less THC than marijuana plants and though both are cannabis plants, the latter are the more potent when it comes to getting a “high” in the modern parlance. CBD is present in both plants but its presence is greater in hemp cannabis than in marijuana cannabis.

Cannabis was a common plant in the Neolithic Age and could be found everywhere from Northern Europe to China (Barber, 1992). As Russo (2007) points out, it was very possibly one of the earliest plants to ever be cultivated by human societies—mainly for its diverse range of uses and the lightning speed at which it could grow. Archeologists have found evidence of cannabis usage among the ruins of the Oki Islands off Japan, dating from 8000 BC (Long, Wagner, Demske, Leipe & Tarasov, 2017). Lu and Clarke (1995) have shown that “from the time of the earliest primitive societies (about 4,000–5,000 years ago) to the Qin and Han dynasties (221 BC to 220 AD) ancient Chinese techniques of hemp sowing, cultivation, and processing developed rapidly and became fairly advanced”(p. 27). The multi-regional proliferation of cannabis most likely increased as trans-Eurasian migration developed over the centuries. Its use in textile production in Europe did not develop until the High Middle Ages, when as Barber (1992) notes the inhabitants of Christendom became more and more aware of the plant’s powers. These powers were discerned through the smoking of the hemp bud, which Barber (1992) argues more than likely originated as a custom in south-central Asia and spread west from there during the Middle Ages.

While cannabis is not really a “cure-all,” it has been found to be “an extraordinary non-toxic medication that relieves the pain and discomfort associated with a variety of common human ailments”—and its treatments over the centuries have targeted “dysmenorrheal, neuralgia, gout, epileptoid convulsions, senile insomnia, rheumatism, convulsions, mental depression, insanity, uterine hemorrhage, migraine headaches and asthma” (Deitch, 2003, p. 210). Colonial Americans smoked cannabis for its medicinal purposes (pain relief) and it was common practice to make hemp tea or to smoke hemp. Hemp fell out of favor in the U.S. after the Civil War when the Industrial Revolution introduced new methods of making products out of petroleum (Deitch, 2003). As Deitch (2003) summarizes: “we know colonial Americans were aware of the medicinal properties of cannabis. It was one of the few medicines they had, and they used it as commonly as we use aspirin today” (p. 25). The common methods of consumption were to brew hemp tea, eat it, or smoke it. Today, however, the CBD from hemp is extracted and sold in oil form and may be used in a number of different was to treat ailments of various kinds.

Pros

Marijuana Use is Important in the Management of Anxiety

Marijuana users indicate that immediately they take it, they feel relaxed. One of the components of marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which facilitates production of dopamine and produces the feeling of euphoria—the high that is typically associated with marijuana usage. Once dopamine, which is found in marijuana, gets into the body, it helps individuals to relax because it keeps muscles active. After consumption of marijuana, people tend to be more active resulting to increased levels of confidence. In addition, the use of marijuana is suitable in prevention of Alzheimer, which causes memory loss (McCarthy, 2016).

Amyloid plaques can be easily prevented by subjecting patients to dosages of marijuana. Marijuana’s cure for amyloid plaques limits development of Alzheimer (McCarthy, 2016). Those who are suffering from acute depression and experience irritation feelings can use marijuana to cool the feeling. According to McCarthy (2016), depression can be easily cured through the use of marijuana. Introduction of marijuana in the body limits development of a series of thoughts which limit mental functionality.

Romano and Hazekamp (2013) point out historical records are useful in understanding how cannibinoids have worked in the past for people. Such records, they note, “have been historically helpful to provide hints on the biological processes controlled by the endocannabinoid system, and on…

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…or her. Therefore it is helpful to examine how the disease label can be removed so that a more spiritual approach with positive social supports can be given. Prayer can help in this process.

For an addict, the counselor should ask if the person was religious of if he or she had any particular inclination towards prayer as a form of intervention. We might discuss the subject of prayer and what researchers in the past have indicated about it and whether or not it can be an effective approach to therapy. If the person were inclined to pray or had expectations of prayer being helpful, methods could be discussed and how to use prayer effectively in the session. The important thing to do would be to set parameters so that both the client and counselor know what is expected of both. Once parameters have been set—say, for instance, to begin and end each session with a prayer to God—it would be important to note what is being praying for, how it is wanted for God to intervene. That would entail devising a prayer for the session. It could be one agreed upon or one the counselor and patient write. It could also be left open and each prayer could be spontaneous. Who would lead the prayer would also have to be discussed. In this way, prayer would be used to assist in the therapy but it would not be the sole means of therapy. Also it would show that the counselor is respectful towards the client’s wishes and needs and that he is open to whatever course of action he or she saw as best. This would facilitate the formation of a strong alliance between me the therapist and the client. This alliance based on trust and respect is important in the development of the therapy and would also improve the chances of prayer being effective in the course of the sessions.

Conclusion

Marijuana use is beneficial to the brain since it helps in managing various brain disorders such as hallucinations, anxiety, sleep disorders and management of depression.In addition, complex mental challenges such as epilepsy and Alzheimer can be managed through the use of marijuana in an appropriate manner. The use of marijuana helps management of anxiety, mentaldisorders, aging brain deficits, and pain management. However, its misuse or abuse, particularly by young people can lead to increased brain damage. To address the issue of marijuana use, abuse or addiction, cognitive behavioral therapy can be a useful method of intervention as it focuses on making behavioral changes. CBT gives the addict an opportunity to examine his issues or trauma, and it helps the addict to set goals for himself to pursue over time. Furthermore, counseling can provide spiritual nourishment. The addict can focus on gaining assistance from others or from God, and the addict can start a new life based on prayer and action. . Prayer can be an effective addition to CBT counseling for these diseases and the…

Sources Used in Document:

References

Advanced Holistic Health. (2018). 10,000 year history of marijuana in the world. Retrieved from http://www.advancedholistichealth.org/history.html

Asamsama, O., Dickstein, B. & Chard, K. (2015). Do scores on the Beck Depression Inventory-II Predict Outcome in Cognitive Processing Therapy? Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Policy, 7(5), 437-441.

Barber, E. J. W. (1992). Prehistoric Textiles: The Development of Cloth in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages with Special Reference to the Aegean. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Caulkins, J. P., Kilmer, B., & Kleiman, M. A. (2016). Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford University Press.

Corrigan, P. W. (2016). Lessons learned from unintended consequences about erasing the stigma of mental illness. World Psychiatry, 15(1), 67-73.

DEA. (2018). Drug scheduling. Retrieved from https://www.dea.gov/drug-scheduling

Deitch, R. (2003). Hemp: American History Revisited: The Plant with a Divided History. New York, NY: Algora Publishing.

Estoup, A. C., Moise-Campbell, C., Varma, M., & Stewart, D. G. (2016). The impact of marijuana legalization on adolescent use, consequences, and perceived risk. Substance Use & Misuse, 51(14), 1881-1887.

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