Cannabis, also known as marijuana, has been used for at least 3,000 years to treat various ailments. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet recognized cannabis as safe and effective for any medical condition. Cannabidiol (CBD), a compound found in cannabis, was approved by the FDA in June 2018 for the treatment of some types of epilepsy. While cannabis is increasingly being legalized in the United States, the question of whether it is safe or not remains a contentious issue. This article examines the scientific evidence for the medical benefits of cannabis and the associated health risks to answer the question of whether cannabis is good or bad.

Research indicates that cannabis or products containing cannabinoids, which are the active ingredients in cannabis or other compounds that act on the same receptors in the brain as cannabis, can be effective in relieving chronic pain. Chronic pain is a leading cause of disability in the United States. Cannabis use may also help people with alcohol or opioid dependencies to fight their addictions, although this finding is controversial. However, the more that someone uses cannabis, the more likely they are to develop a problem with using it. Individuals who begin using cannabis at a young age are also known to be at increased risk of developing a problem with cannabis use.

Cannabis could help to treat some mental health conditions, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. However, cannabis is not an appropriate treatment for bipolar disorder and psychosis. The evidence to suggest that cannabis might alleviate symptoms of social anxiety is contradicted by other studies that suggest that regular users of cannabis may actually be at increased risk of social anxiety.

There is some evidence to suggest that oral cannabinoids are effective against nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. Some studies on cancer cells suggest that cannabinoids may either slow down the growth of or kill some types of cancer. However, early studies on humans that tested this hypothesis revealed that cannabinoids are not effective at controlling or curing cancer.

The short-term use of oral cannabinoids may improve symptoms of spasticity among people with multiple sclerosis, but the positive effects have been found to be modest. The FDA approved the use of a medication containing CBD to treat two rare, severe, and specific types of epilepsy that are difficult to control with other types of medication. In the study, children with Dravet syndrome who received CBD went from having around 12 seizures per month to an average of six seizures per month.

In conclusion, cannabis has some medical benefits, such as relieving chronic pain and reducing seizures in patients with certain types of epilepsy. However, the risks associated with cannabis use, including addiction and increased risk of social anxiety, should not be ignored. More research is needed to determine the long-term effects of cannabis use and to identify the conditions for which cannabis may be a safe and effective treatment.

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