Cannabis: Is It Really a Magic Medicine?

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Vichai Chokevivat

Abstract

This article aims to conduct a brief documentary review the knowledge status of cannabis or marijuana as well as relevant policies and laws in other countries. The results show that, technically, several countries have got extensive and in-depth knowledge of cannabis, while in Thailand, the technical community is almost asleep in this regard as evidenced in the fact that there are very few technical papers on this matter, despite a wide distribution of information and opinions about it, conjecturally on social media.  It has been viewed as a magic drug or panacea that can miraculously cure all kinds of illnesses without any danger or addictive effects. But according to the review of international literature, it has been found that cannabis is addictive and affects the brain and other parts of human body. Long-term cannabis use adversely affects the frontal lobe of the brain that controls memory and thinking ability, and increases the risk for psychosis, depression and suicide. Cannabis smoke has tar like tobacco smoke and contains more than 50 carcinogens. The use of cannabis affects user’s behavior that is related to accidents. Regarding the medical use of cannabis, there has been some therapeutic evidence, but the number of concrete study results is rather small. As for legal measures, the first law on cannabis control was enacted in 1840; since then stricter control efforts had been undertaken and the drug was classified as a narcotic and becomes illegal. Later on, research on cannabis use for medical treatment was initiated; its legal control has been relaxed since the 1970s. After more studies have been undertaken, its medical use has widely spread, but requires a doctor’s prescription with limited indications. Uruguay is the first country that has legalized recreational cannabis; and Canada is second, allowing such use in various states. In the USA, over half of the country has permitted medical cannabis use; some states have also legalized recreational use. But the federal government has maintained cannabis as schedule 1 drug. Legal restrictions began with the reduction of criminalization, followed by legal use within a certain limit. No country has allowed the free or unlimited use of cannabis.

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Review Article

References

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