Everyone seems agreed that the US and the world might be looking at marijuana under a different light in the very near future. As the US throws in the towel in the pursuit of small marijuana users and their prosecution, more and more data is surfacing on the therapeutic uses of the plant.  

Even though massive deregulation of the drug is not going to materialize soon, more and more states are trying to evaluate what legalization of marijuana means to their bottom line.  The decriminalization of marijuana will mean savings from both lessened enforcement and the expense of imprisonment.  It also means income from the taxation of legal doses of marijuana obtained by legal sellers in the states that have already legalized its use.

Many people purport that marijuana in its raw state, i.e. not refined into its pharmaceutical active agent, has myriad uses, all of them curative.  It is true that the moderate use of marijuana does have therapeutic uses, but with it there are also some risks.

Two opposite camps are already materializing in the profit battleground that is the massive adoption of marijuana use and its deregulation in the US.  On one side, the pharmaceutical industry wants to control the use of marijuana by saying that only pharmaceutical processing of its active principle offers any certainties as to its benefits, and avoids its side effects, and on the other, the people who believe that they can self medicate and adopt the drug and reap similar benefits without having to resort to a prescription. 

But the pharmaceutical sector might have one or two points in their favor. The use of raw marijuana, unprocessed and unrefined, has not been tested sufficiently to know what amounts are curative for which ailment. Although there is proof that marijuana has ameliorated or shown promise for a large array of medical conditions, it has not been exactly quantified.  However, placing marijuana in the hands of the pharmaceutical industry would delay maybe indefinitely the results of the trials that would prove what amounts work with which ailment and therefore its accessibility in the near future.   In addition, the costs associated with obtaining medical marijuana extracts could become prohibitive for poor people.  The second point in their favor however, has to do with proven negative effects of marijuana on the human body. 

Old studies and some newer ones have proven that marijuana, especially in certain individuals, can exacerbate cardiovascular problems.  

That could put quite a damper on the enthusiasm of pot lovers in America, who are already lining up to buy weed in states where it is legal.  Almost 52% of Americans make legal and illegal use of marijuana in the 16-25 years bracket.  The new data published by the  Journal of the American Heart Association, points to possible negative effects on the marijuana user, especially in young and middle aged adults.  

Marijuana has also been shown to alter the chemistry of the brain.  Some say that it has a negative effect, since it influences both the areas of emotion and motivation, but others say it is a boon to people with mental illness or psychological problems.  Just this week, US armed forces veterans have pleaded with the government to legalize marijuana for use in members who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.  Some others have said that it could be used effectively in the treatment of anxiety too. 

But the new research points to effects that worsen cardiovascular problems and even possibly hasten death in those people who might have preexisting conditions. 

Of 1,979 cases of hospitalization or emergency care due to marijuana ill effects recorded in a one year period, 34 were found to be cardiovascular complications, with 22 cases specifically heart complications, and 20 of them presenting as heart attacks.  Nine of the 22 cases with clear cardiovascular complications died. 

What the new research points out, is that patients with underlying cardiovascular conditions, or latent conditions, might have to be advised of the risks of using marijuana, since it can impact their health in a significant way. 

The number of cases could also be underreported, making it imperative that the dangers of marijuana for cv subjects be known to them.  

In addition to this study, another study published last year points to similarly dangerous effects of marijuana in predisposed subjects.  An increased risk of stroke was detected in some patients who had underlying conditions and were marijuana users. 

Since the risk of underreporting poses a significant challenge for the medical community if marijuana is legalized country wide, the research should be taken as an incentive to inform the public of the possible risks. 

Partial Source : MNT : 4.24.14

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