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Is Cannabis as Bad for You as Alcohol?

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Is Cannabis as Bad for You as Alcohol

(CTN News) – The effects of alcohol on health have been studied for many years. However, cannabis research is still in its early stages, and it will take years to fully comprehend the effects of its commercial usage – in novel formulations and dosages — on public health.

Since studies have demonstrated risks even with little drinking, there is no amount of alcohol consumption that is entirely safe from a medical perspective.

If my patient drinks often, I suggest they cut down. Suppose they attempt to cut down on their drinking but are unsuccessful.

In that case, I propose remedies to help: Many people are shocked to hear that behavioral therapies, such as individual or group therapy, are as successful at helping individuals drink less as are the three FDA-approved drugs (naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram).

I explain to my patients that while there may not yet be a safe dose of cannabis usage, generally speaking, experts believe that regular and high-THC use is hazardous.

If one of my patients uses cannabis, I inquire whether it is for medicinal purposes and offer them alternatives with more scientific backing.

To protect their lungs, I advise avoiding smoking and vaping and recommend utilizing products with low amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or attempting cannabidiol (CBD) if they still choose to use it.

One of the active components in cannabis is THC, while another is cannabidiol (CBD): The psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, THC, which gives users a “high,” has been linked to greater health problems.

I advise them to try edible CBD products with a THC level of less than 5%, with the proviso that patients should start low and go gently if they want to raise the dosage since edibles may enter the system more slowly and unpredictably.

Cannabis usage was prohibited in many places until relatively recently, which is one reason we know less about the dangers of cannabis compared to alcohol.

Now that more individuals are using cannabis, research that tracks large populations of cannabis users and non-users over time will help us better grasp the possible hazards.

Similar observational studies conducted over many years have contributed much to our understanding of alcohol.

Additionally, to comprehend the potential advantages of various cannabis drugs, randomized, controlled studies are required.

Here are some considerations to bear in mind if you’re thinking about drinking beer or using cannabis:

Alcohol is linked to adverse health outcomes

Some of my patients think that consuming wine helps them and lowers their chance of having a heart attack.

However, the notion that moderate drinking offers cardiovascular benefits has been called into question by recent studies.

It is undeniable that excessive drinking raises many cardiovascular risks, such as hypertension, stroke, and heart failure.

Additionally, long-term excessive drinking has been related to other grave medical disorders, including dementia and depression.

Additionally, alcohol is a known carcinogen, and moderate use is linked to a higher risk of many other cancers.

Breast cancer in women and colon cancer in males is somewhat increased by even moderate drinking, or half a drink each day.

Alcohol may impair driving, increase the risk of assault, and encourage suicide. It may also result in respiratory depression and death in high dosages.

Cannabis can cause harm, too.

Cannabis does not result in respiratory depression, which prevents it from producing what is often known as an “overdose.”

However, high-potency cannabis usage has been linked to acute psychosis, sometimes leading to suicide or fatal accidents.

Contrary to common assumption, it is possible to develop a cannabis use disorder or a physical dependence on cannabis. Cannabis users who use it often may become addicted and go through withdrawal when they cut down or quit.

Cannabis use disorders may be present in people whose cannabis usage significantly impairs their ability to function.

These people could benefit from therapy to help them cut down or quit using.

Most health claims for cannabis aren’t backed by science.

Only three cannabinoid-containing medications have received FDA approval: CBD is used to treat rare forms of childhood epilepsy, and dronabinol is approved to treat anorexia brought on by AIDS.

Dronabinol and nabilone, which contain synthetic THC, can treat chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting in patients who haven’t responded to other medications.

According to studies, cannabinoids may efficiently treat neuropathic pain, and cannabis extracts may help treat pain and spasms associated with multiple sclerosis.

Although widespread marketing strategies and innumerable anecdotal reports promote cannabis as a tried-and-true remedy for anxiety, pain, sleeplessness, and other conditions, these claims need additional investigation before we can provide definite recommendations.

The usage of cannabis may make treating depression more challenging.

However, we shouldn’t mix up cannabis products found in dispensaries with the potential medicinal applications of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis.

Numerous items sold at dispensaries might be contaminated, not genuinely contain CBD, or have a high THC content.

Smoking and vaping cannabis have risks.

My patient had a heart attack a few years ago. He was healthy and active, so it was a surprise.

Even though I had previously noted that he did not smoke, considering the recent heart attack, I re-asked him, “Do you smoke?”

He rejected it. He then took a moment to say that he didn’t smoke. But he had been using marijuana every day after work for years.

Despite the scanty data, several research indicates that cannabis usage, like cigarette use, increases the risk of heart attacks.

Daily cannabis usage is becoming increasingly prevalent among young people, and several studies have shown that those who use it regularly run a greater risk of experiencing negative health impacts.

As a result, we need research that looks at the effects of daily cannabis use on one’s health.

Our study team did several systematic literature reviews. We discovered a connection between cannabis use and testicular cancer, wheezing, and coughing.

Concerns about THC use and mental health

Cannabis usage in youth has been associated with the emergence of depression and attempts at suicide in young adults. This age bracket is also linked to psychosis, which may be fatal.

The National Institutes of Health reported that in 2021, cannabis consumption among young individuals hit an all-time high.

Given the lack of information on how cannabis and numerous drugs interact, I’m especially worried about elderly patients who use both.

The use of cannabis is rising among older persons, but there is little information on how it affects this population.

I don’t advise my patients to utilize alcohol or cannabis for any medical or mental issues based on the facts.

Cannabis supporters often claim that since marijuana is “natural,” it cannot harm humans. We must remember that tobacco is a leafy, green plant in its “natural” state. It had been in use for a very long time.

However, the tobacco industry created extremely addictive products in the 20th century, sparking a global pandemic of nicotine addiction and its associated cancer, cardiovascular, and lung diseases.

It is obvious what drinking too much can do to our bodies and thoughts. It is still too early to predict the impact commercialized cannabis use—and its widespread use—will have on human health.

Related CTN News:

High Tide has Started Selling Cannabis Seeds Online in the U.S.

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