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Research and Pharmacology

Research and Pharmacology

The Use of Medical Marijuana

In the nursing profession, it is common to encounter co-workers and patients with diverse personality, beliefs and cultural views regarding medications. These views may not only be different from what is known but may also contradict the nursing practice and principles. Conducting a research on recent pharmacological topics helps an individual in understanding the nursing profession and to make informed professional choices during diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of patients. This paper explores the diverse pharmacological views about the use of marijuana and address the pros and cons of the topic.

Medical marijuana or Medical cannabis refers to the use of the unprocessed cannabis plant or its extracts to treat severity of disease symptoms or other medical conditions. Research reviews that the use of cannabis extracts (particularly the cannabinoids) help to reduce muscle spasm and chronic pain hence it improves quality care and patient outcome. As a result, scientific study on chemical components of marijuana have suggested the approval of use of marijuana extracts for medications on various diseases (Choo et al. 2014). Continued research reveals more advanced benefits of cannabis because the plant contains many compounds that can be used to treat a wide range of symptoms and illnesses. While some people argue that marijuana use should be legalized others feel that its legalization may be a motivator to drug abuse.

Medical Marijuana Pharmacology

Medical cannabis is believed to contain more than 400 compounds, which include more than 60 cannabinoids that are aryl-substituted meroterpenes obtained from the plant cannabis sativa (Hill, 2015). The pharmacology of various cannabinoids is essentially unknown but the most dominant psychoactive agent, tetrahydrocannabinol, has been synthesized and studied to identify its effect to users. Other plant cannabinoids including cannabidiol and cannabinol have been researched for their medical use. The studies show that the cannabinoids affect various body parts including brain and liver (Hill, 2015). They have synergistic, antagonistic, and additive effects with THC and they are likely to modify their actions based on frequency of smoking. Synthetic cannabinoids such as cyclohexylphenols, nabilone, and naphthoylindoles are legal for research and therapeutic purposes in most jurisdictions (Hill, 2015).

The journey to legalizing marijuana for medical use began in 1970 when the Us president, Richard Nixon enacted the federal Controlled Substance Act that placed the cannabis plant into Schedule 1. This class belonged to substances tightly controlled by the CSA’s five Scheduling classifications. Notwithstanding the US federal interdiction on production, use, possession, and distribution of marijuana, more and more states legalize the product for medical research (Koppel et al., 2014). As of November 9, 2016, the consumption of medicinal and recreational marijuana has been permitted in the states of Maine, Massachusetts, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Alaska, California, and Washington (Choo et al. 2014). The main purpose to legalize the use of cannabis was to promote public safety and improve public health. However, some people argue that state laws that legalize marijuana for recreational purposes usually promote drug abuse within the state.  This makes the users inherently susceptible to side effects, especially when the authorities are unable to control the intended use.

In addition, medical researchers have performed some clinical tests that reveals the content of cannabis as a source of cure for various ailments. Studies show that despite the stigma, cannabis sativa is not a hazardous plant but a substance of great medicinal value. Many healthcare professionals believe that marijuana is harmless and the government must legalize it so that they can have the right to research on the plant further and to administer it to patients when wanted.

Quality Patient Outcomes, Patient Safety, And Use of the Pharmacology Related to Use of Medical Marijuana

Use of the pharmacology related to use of Medical Marijuana help the physicians in controlling chronic pain because cannabinoids use is an important ingredient in pain management. Long term benefit of cannabis treatment can help improve patient safety and quality of outcomes. A study by Hill (2015) showed that bipolar patients who applied cannabis use disorder (CUD) significantly improved their neurocognitive performance than patient’s whose treatment did not use CUD (Hill, 2015). To have quality patient outcomes and safety, the physicians’ must use medical marijuana with moderation in order to minimize the side effects. In addition, results of neurology response shows that a patient with maniac depressive illness and history of Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD) had a better neurocognitive presentation especially on attentiveness, speed processing, and working memory (Hill, 2015). This can be interpreted to suggest that medical cannabis used to treat patients with mental related disorders improve the cognitive functioning of their body. Therefore, proper use of medical marijuana may promote patient health and safety.

Effects of Marijuana in Promoting Health and Wellness

Legalizing marijuana for medical purposes may increase the level of production, distribution, and consumption. This may be as a result of poor regulations and controls of marijuana growth and use because the plant can be readily grown in any area. Most of the health problems associated with marijuana emanates from uncontrolled smoking. Apart from lung cancer, marijuana smoking has the possibility of causing pulmonary diseases, memory loss, paranoia, lowered sex drive, impaired motor skills, and nonseminomatous testicular germ cell tumor in adult males. When someone smokes marijuana, the effect may be short-term or long-term depending on the frequency of the use. 

Excessive smoking of marijuana leads to the absorption of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as well as other cannabinoids that directly interact with two different receptor cells (CB1 and CB2 receptors) in the body and brain (Hill, 2015). The CB1 receptor controls the movement of the body, balance, short-term memory and coordination. These activities are highly affected by cannabinoids, extract from cannabis. On the other hand, the CB2 receptors have more to do with the individual’s immune system because marijuana also affects the spleen and the lymph node. Therefore, uncontrolled use of marijuana may suppress the activities of the two receptors hence making the immune system to develop resistance that may affect the stability of the body.

Health Benefits of Medical Marijuana

Despite being outlawed for its negative mental and psychological effects, there are many health benefits of ingesting or smoking marijuana. Ingestion in the form of pills is more beneficial because the patient does not take in the unwanted smoke and tar which usually come from smoke.  According to Hasin et al. (2015), marijuana can relieve various types of chronic pain, vomiting, nausea and other forms of ailments. Patients suffering from different diseases such as cancer, sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s disease, Glaucoma and AIDs may also benefit from using medical marijuana (Hasin et al., 2015). For instance, Cannabidiol stops cancer by turning off a gene called Id-1. The drug also reverses the carcinogenic effects of tobacco, prevent epileptic seizures, and decreases severity of Dravet’s Syndrome.

In most cases, patients using cannabinoids experience an improvement in their immune systems and gain weight when it would otherwise be impossible to do so. For example, cancer patients may feel better while ingested with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol during chemotherapy treatment and may be more inclined to eating solid food because the THC in marijuana balances the patient’s immune system. Patients suffering from severe personality disorders like ADD, ADHD, or social anxiety also claims to feel better after smoking or taking marijuana pills. These observations are interesting considering that the drugs have been known to cause mental instability in human being.

Inequities Regarding Access to Pharmacology Related to Medical Marijuana

Despite the proposed changes in the legalization of marijuana, access to marijuana pharmacology may be limited due to increased inequalities based on gender, race, sex, age, religion, ethnicity, and social class. Due to racial and gender discrimination, access may be denied to some population because of stereotypes based reasons. In the United States, inequity is subjected to the minority groups including Pacific Islanders, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, African Americans, and Asian Americans (Hasin et al., 2015). Concerns of accessing marijuana pharmacology for children may be also a major concern to the society because it may affect their brain development, which may lead to decline in cognitive function and poor performance in school. Teenagers who use marijuana perform poor in exercises involving decision making, lead to poor attention and memory loss.

The illegal use of medical cannabis may cause negative effect on children and expectant women to an extent that drug cannot be recommended for treatment. In the long-run members of the public may feel inadequately disadvantaged and public pressure may challenge the government to reverse the long standing policies on narcotics or adopt a militaristic approach to production of these drugs.

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