Controversial - Medical Marijuana - Pros and Cons.

More is known about the psychological dangers than about the benefits of marijuana. How does this plant affect the brain, and could it be useful in treating mental disorders?

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What is known about marijuana:

Marijuana comes from hemp. While it contains over 400 chemicals, scientists understand the best effects of two: THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and cannabidiol.
THC is the chemical in marijuana that is primarily responsible for its effects on the central nervous system. It stimulates cannabinoid receptors in the brain, triggering other chemical reactions that underlie the psychological and physical effects of consuming marijuana.
Less is known about cannabidiol, although studies show an interaction with THC to produce sedation (sedation - lowering the activity of the central nervous system without shutting down consciousness, but it is possible to partially reduce it. It reduces tension and anxiety, often accompanied by sleepiness). Cannabidiol may also have anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective and antipsychotic effects, although research is still in its early stages to apply it to clinical treatment.

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Ways of taking:

Drug delivery remains a major challenge in medical marijuana. The FDA has approved two types of pills containing synthetic THC. Dronabinol (Marinol) combines synthetic THC with sesame oil. Most of the active substances are metabolized during digestion, thus only 10% to 20% of the original dose reaches the bloodstream. Nabilone (Cesamet) requires a slightly different preparation of synthetic THC, therefore it is completely absorbed into the bloodstream. The two drugs do not work suddenly and quickly, and the amount that reaches the bloodstream varies from person to person.
Another drug studied in the US (and approved for sale in Canada) combines THC and cannabidiol. In Canada, it is marketed as Sativex. This drug is sometimes referred to as "liquid cannabis" because it is sprayed under the tongue or elsewhere in the mouth using a small handheld device. However, as it takes time to notice any effects, the drug must be absorbed into the oral mucosa before it reaches the bloodstream.
So it seems that inhaling is the fastest way to get THC into the bloodstream, which is why patients prefer to smoke the most. But this method of administering drugs works quickly, smoking marijuana exposes your lungs to many chemicals and presents many of the same respiratory hazards as smoking. Some studies suggest that a device called a vaporizer can reduce the amount of harmful chemicals delivered to your lungs when you inhale.

Effect on the body:

One of the reasons why marijuana works to relieve pain and reduce nausea is because in some people it reduces anxiety, improves mood, and acts as a sedative. But so far, mixed conclusions have been drawn from the small number of studies conducted examining the use of marijuana to treat mental disorders, partly because the drug may cause conflicting effects in the brain depending on dose and innate genetic susceptibility.