A recent study indicates marijuana may help individuals suffering with mental health disease. There are currently 28 states which allow the legal use of cannabis in one form or another. Recently (November 2016) recreational use of pot was approved by four states with four others approving medical marijuana. Scientists have discovered that cannabis contains greater than 100 cannabinoids which cause biological effects on the body. Medical marijuana is currently prescribed for conditions such as: arthritis, cancer treatment side effects, PTSD, depression as well as anxiety.

Pot’s role in modern medicine is still a bit blurry. There is a shortage of clinical research in this area mainly due to the fact that the majority of studies focus on illegal use of cannabis instead of researching its therapeutic effects. Another huge factor in the lack of research is the fact that marijuana is classified as a schedule 1 drug, making it practically impossible to study. A team of scientist in the U.S. and Canada conducted a study of the science in search of answers regarding pot’s possible mental health benefits.

During this research scientists found proof that marijuana may benefit individuals suffering from depression, social anxiety as well as PTSD and published their finding in the journal Clinical Psychology Review. On the other hand; the use of cannabis appears to have greater negative than positive side effects for individuals suffering from bipolar disorder. “This is a substance that has potential use for mental health,” said an associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, Zach Walsh. “We should be looking at it in the same way [as other drugs] and be holding it up to the same standard.”

Even though further study is necessary, research proposed that marijuana can possibly deal with addiction. “We are really excited about the potential substitution effect,” said study author Zach Walsh, associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia. “If people use cannabis as a replacement for opioid medications, or to get off of opioids or cut back, we could see some pretty dramatic public health benefits. The level of opioid overdoses is so high right now.”

All drugs can have side effects. Walsh along with other scientist agreed that until more is revealed all aspects of marijuana need to be further researched in order to better understand its benefits as well as any possible dangers.

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