26 May 2022


Benefits and Challenges of Medical Use of Marijuana

Format: APA

Academic level: College

Paper type: Research Paper

Words: 1297

Pages: 4

Downloads: 0

Marijuana falls under Class 1 Controlled substances. It means that several restrictions have been placed on it to ensure that only a select group of people use or access it. However, many states in the US and other countries are decriminalizing marijuana as there appears to be evidence that it has medicinal properties for chronic health conditions that conventional medicine cannot treat. However, the therapeutic use of marijuana is facing several challenges, which make it a tiresome process that locks out potential patients from using this drug medicinally. The paper look at the benefits and challenges faced while using marijuana medicinally.

Medicinal benefits 

One of the benefits of using marijuana is that it is an effective pain reliever than conventional medicine found in drug stores. Some debilitating health conditions lead to acute pain among patients. Such debilitating health conditions may include various types of cancer, which appear to overpower the pain killers that may be provided (Webb & Webb, 2018). A study conducted by the University of Toronto found out that the cannabinoids found in marijuana were effective analgesic compared to conventional painkillers (Webb & Webb, 2018). Out of the 18 randomized controlled trials carried out in this research, fifteen trials reported a significant reduction in pain after using cannabinoids (Webb & Webb, 2018). Something good was that there were no side effects noted in the study subjects. The findings of this research show that marijuana has pain-relieving properties that are more effective than regular pain killers. The cannabis component can be extracted from marijuana and then be used for pain-relieving (Karst, 2018). More so, the cannabis was found to be lacking withdrawal symptoms, which imply that people may stop using cannabis at any moment without registering adverse outcomes.

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Fig 1.0 The image shows use versus perceived risks of marijuana showing that with use of marijuana does not lead to increased risk.

Another medicinal property of marijuana is that it leads to appetite stimulation and prevention of nausea among the anorexic, late-stage cancer, and HIV patients. Patients who may have lost their appetite are given 15mg of dronabinol every day to stimulate it (Hadland, Knight, Harris, 2015). Research has shown that dronabinol is more effective than other placebo research that may have touched on appetite stimulation. After six weeks of using dronabinol, most patients who may have lost their appetite are likely to regain it fully. Dronabinol is a substance that is extracted from marijuana

There are also possibilities that marijuana may be containing elements that can be used in the treatment of developmental conditions like autism. In a study conducted by Stanford University, the findings indicated that after using marijuana on mice that had Fragile X syndrome that is responsible for autism, significant changes in the functioning of this syndrome were noted (Grant, Atkinson, Gouaux & Wilsey, 2017). The implication is that if the same is to be applied to human populations, there are possibilities that it may lead to arresting autism and other innate behavioral disorders (Karst, 2018). Another case study of a boy aged six years and suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) showed that after getting a daily dose of dronabinol for six months, he was able to show improvement in hyperactivity, irritability, and lethargy.

Other conditions that research appears to be showing may be handled by using compounds found in cannabis include seizures, behavioral, and developmental conditions. The Fragile X syndrome appears to be the one that controls most of these conditions in the brain (Hadland, Knight, Harris, 2015). However, studies carried out on laboratory mice have shown an increase in brain activity for mice that had seizures (Hadland et al., 2015). The implication is that marijuana can be used to treat seizures among people if the findings of the above research are anything to go by. The change in behavior of the mice from being erratic to calm also shows significant strides in the treatment of the ADHD conditions among


Medicinal Challenges 

The use of marijuana medicinally also faces several challenges. Some of these challenges emanate from the mode of administration to the effectiveness of the research carried out on cannabis due to the many restrictions placed its way. The style of administration poses a challenge since marijuana is mostly smoked (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division; Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice; Committee on the Health Effects of Marijuana: An Evidence Review and Research Agenda, 2017). Many patients who may have never smoked a cigarette may not know how to smoke marijuana. More so, convincing a patient that through smoking marijuana, he will get healed is a challenge. That is why other modes of administration, like the use of vaping, are being fronted by the medical practitioners. The vaping makes it possible for marijuana to diffuse into the patient’s bloodstream within a short time, thereby leading to the therapeutic outcomes.

Another challenge facing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes emanates from the many regulatory barriers placed in the way of researchers. These regulatory barriers are tiresome and require a lot of certifications for an entity to be allowed to conduct any medicinal research on marijuana (National Academies of Sciences et al., 2017). Among the regulatory barriers include the need to have clearance from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), among others. With all these regulatory requirements, it may become expensive for serious medical research to be conducted on marijuana.

The process of getting marijuana for medical use also goes through several channels that may make one stop using it. Among these channels is the NIDA and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (Bridgeman & Abazia, 2017). The University of Mississippi is the only one that has been allowed to grow cannabis that can be used for medical uses (Bridgeman & Abazia, 2017). Any other entity growing marijuana is breaching the law and can be taken to court. With only one source of medical marijuana, it becomes a challenge for patients to get their daily dose that can treat their various medical complications. More so, medical researchers can also not move freely with their studies as they have to source their marijuana from the University of Mississippi alone.

Funding to establish more medicinal uses of cannabis is also a challenge. The reason is that in America, it is only the NIH that is tasked with funding research related to the medicinal properties of cannabis (Bridgeman & Abazia, 2017). Any other entity that would like to fund such research has to channel its support through NIH. However, the lack of enough resources has seen NIDA take over the role of funding for this research, which has not yielded the desired results.


Most of the research conducted on marijuana shows that it had medicinal properties that can treat chronic health conditions. These conditions include chronic pain, seizures, and appetite loss. Other developmental and behavioral conditions are also likely to be treated by dronabinol that is found in marijuana if studies done on Fragile X syndrome of lab mice are anything to go by. The fact that marijuana falls under class 1 of controlled substances makes other states or regions reluctant to help in its research. Among the challenges that the use of marijuana for medical purposes face include its mode of administration that does not appeal to many people. The many channels the researchers of this drug have to be subjected to, also pose a challenge in conducting research related to the curative properties of this drug. More so, those who use marijuana for medical purposes have to get it from the University of Mississippi, something that is a challenge to those who could be living far away from this university.

Formula for calculating the amount of marijuana in a drug 

Dose of Marijuana in a drug= Percentage of marijuana in a drug*Weight of the drug.

For example, if a drug has 17% marijuana and the weight of the drug is 1gm

THC Mg=17%*1000mg=170 THC Mg


Bridgeman, M. B., & Abazia, D. T. (2017). Medicinal Cannabis: History, Pharmacology, And Implications for the Acute Care Setting. P & T: A peer-reviewed journal for formulary management , 42 (3), 180–188.

Grant, I., Atkinson, J. H., Gouaux, B., & Wilsey, B. (2012). Medical marijuana: clearing away the smoke. The open neurology journal , 6 , 18–25. https://doi.org/10.2174/1874205X01206010018

Hadland, S.E., Knight, J., Harris, S. (2015). Medical marijuana: Review of science and implications for development. Behavioral Pediatrics, 36 (2) pp 115-123.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division; Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice; Committee on the Health Effects of Marijuana: An Evidence Review and Research Agenda. (2017). The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US) 12. 15, Challenges and Barriers in Conducting Cannabis Research. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK425757/

Karst, A. (2018). Weighing the Benefits and Risks of Medical Marijuana Use: A Brief Review. Pharmacy (Basel, Switzerland) , 6 (4), 128. https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmacy6040128

Webb, C. W., & Webb, S. M. (2014). Therapeutic benefits of cannabis: a patient survey. Hawai'i journal of medicine & public health: a journal of Asia Pacific Medicine & Public Health , 73 (4), 109–111.

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 14). Benefits and Challenges of Medical Use of Marijuana.


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