Books examine medical benefits, hazards of marijuana

Marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), or related drugs can be used to treat the extreme nausea and vomiting that often accompany cancer.

Another well-publicized therapeutic use of marijuana is in reducing the vision-destroying intraocular pressure that occurs in the eye disease known as glaucoma.

Other possible medical uses of the THC ingredient found in marijuana include an antiasthmatic effect, a muscle-relaxant effect, an antiseizure effect and an antidepressant effect.

From:

Chocolate to Morphine: Understanding Mind/Active Drugs, by Andrew Weil, M.D. and Winifred Rosen (1992)

Cannabis has several effects on semen. The total number of sperm cells and the concentration of sperm per unit volume is decreased by habitual marijuana use.

Additionally, there is an increase in the proportion of sperm with abnormal appearance, and reduced motility (inability to swim properly).

When marijuana use stops, the quality of the semen gradually returns to normal over several months.

Less reliable data are available on the affects of cannabis on female sexual response. Chronic smoking of marijuana (3 times a week for six months) adversely affects the female reproductive cycle. And some preliminary tests reveal that marijuana may interfere with ovulation in some way.

There is some evidence to support that marijuana use during pregnancy can result in low birth weight. But often, women who smoke marijuana during pregnancy also use other drugs, i.e. alcohol or cocaine, so it is difficult to tell what effect marijuana actually has.

Some of the chemicals in marijuana are proven carcinogens, which can cause lung cancer. Marijuana also produces up to 50 percent more tar than an equivalent weight of tobacco, which could lead to lung diseases such as emphysema.

Smoking a few marijuana cigarettes a day for six weeks significantly impairs lung function, and it is well-documented that heavy marijuana users have a much higher incidence laryngitis, bronchitis, asthma-like problems, cough and dry throat, which can lead to other lung impairment.

Nothing verifies that smoking marijuana kills brain cells.

From:

Drugs and Society, by Weldon Witters, PhD., Peter Zenturelli, PhD., and Glenn Hanson, PhD. (1993)

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