The cultivation and use of marijuana is illegal in South Africa, and like many other banned substances, it receives substantial negative publicity. In the USA, however, certain states have legalized its use. A great deal of research continues regarding this plant and its psychoactive compound, THC, which, when smoked or ingested, induces a state of euphoria in many people.
Marijuana is somewhat of a medical mystery. The side effects are generally less severe than those of tobacco and alcohol, since marijuana is not a neurotoxin and has an uncertain connection to lung cancer.
Furthermore, use does not result in over-dose effects like as those brought on by heroine, with neurotransmitters causing the respiratory system to collapse and ultimately leading to death.
The fear is that adult use may result in children being exposed to the inherent negative characteristics of excessive irresponsible behaviour, and young people whose brains are developing and who are exposed to marijuana may experience an adverse effect on learning and cognitive development.
Before changes in legislation about the use of marijuana, strong warnings in America included it in the war on drugs, even going as far as saying that drug use is a communist plot to destabilize the nation! At that time, the medical profession was dubious about hailing it as a possible treatment for many illnesses until this could be proven. Research now shows that certain groups of neurons in the brain react to marijuana as they do to morphine, resulting in a "feel good sensation" and an experience of calm and pleasure. Overuse, however, may flood these brain cells, and cell damage may be the resultant outcome.
The medical use of marijuana may relieve chronic pain and inflammation, have therapeutic potential for epileptics by reducing seizures, and may lessen the trembling effects of Parkinson's disease.
As with the abuse of many other substances, cannabis may produce some very negative effects. For example, use may result in altered or hindered brain development in adolescents, which could result in critical nerve circuit connections being absent. People who are predisposed to mental instability could, as result of exposure to this drug, suffer from psychoses and certain forms of mental illness, including illnesses such as schizophrenia. As far as addiction goes, a possible 9 – 10% of users may become addicted.
With the use of cannabis on the rise, however, the future may see it as being accepted as a social drug, and one that provides a feeling of wellness in a world where life is fraught with stress and pressure, and it may ultimately replace other more dangerous substances that are currently being used.
While some people may be comfortable with all of this, others will zealously avoid the intake of drugs at all costs, and will seek to find pleasure and relaxation in practising meditation and visiting wellness centres that offer a calming massage with therapeutic oils, and a holistic approach to taking care of the mind and body. Matsimela Home Spa's therapeutic massage oils, when put together with a calming and relaxing environment, the right aromas, and a good therapist, can work wonders for the stressed and tired mind.