A recent study touting a new version of marijuana could be just the push needed to help legalize medical marijuana: marijuana without the high.
Researches in Israel found a way to reduce the amount of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, to less than 1%, while adding 15.8% of cannabidiol, the “good” substance in marijuana that has medical benefits.
The Impact of Highless Marijuana
Is this a breakthrough? The psychotic “high” are unwanted effects to some users of medical marijuana, and any decrease of addiction potential will be welcome to medical and recreational users alike.
However, some are worried about the legal implications and how law enforcement would tell the difference between the highless drug from the real one–if non-high marijuana is declared legal.
Also, the health benefits of medical marijuana has been a touchy subject for decades. Even without the high, the medical benefits of the hundreds of other compounds found in marijuana can be still debated.
Medical Benefits of Marijuana
Though THC is the primary psychoactive compound, marijuana contains over 400 chemicals. Of these 400, 61 is unique to marijuana: these are called cannabinoids.
Cannabidiol, one of the cannabinoids, has been shown to have the most therapeutic effects medically, and has been the major constituent of medical cannabis.
Medically, the cannabinoids, can be used to treat many illnesses in the following ways:
- AIDS and Cancer: alleviating nausea and vomiting associated with many anticancer drugs, and stimulating the appetite in patients with cancer, AIDS, or a wasting syndrome.
- Glaucoma: decreasing internal eye pressure, thereby slowing down the progression of the disease.
- Chronic Pain: controlling pain in certain connective tissue diseases, such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, systemic lupus, and reflex sympathetic dystrophy.
- Asthma: acting as an anti-inflammatory and bronchodilator.
- Schizophrenia: A recent study has shown that cannabidiol is effective in treating schizophrenia.
- Depression: elevating mood.
Synthetic Marijuana is in the Market
Already, cannabinoid-based medications have already been used and approved to treat some of the above conditions.
Dronabinol (Marinol) and Nabilone (Cesamet) are synthetic versions of THC and is used to treat nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy in patients whose nausea and vomiting have not been successful treated with other drugs.
Recently, a new mouth-spray drug called Sativex has been approved in Canada and parts of Europe to treat neuropathic and cancer-associated pain.
A Word of Caution
Regardless, marijuana is also known to have many negative and unpredictable side effects, which is enough to keep keep potential users wary. Effects include:
- increased blood pressure
- respiratory problems
- slowed reaction time
- short-term memory loss
- anxiety and depression
The health benefits of marijuana are still being intensively studied, as scientists seek to find the balance between the therapeutic and harmful effects of this drug. And then again, perhaps they have hit the balance with this new highless marijuana. We’ll have to wait and see.