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Taboo: A Little Lesson in the Healing Properties of Medical Marijuana

There is a large amount of controversy over marijuana dealing with who should be allowed and who should not be allowed access to it. There are many positive attributes of marijuana. For instance, people who suffer from chronic illnesses benefit tremendously from cannabis. It is often referenced in a negative light, without acknowledging its valuable properties. So, why not explore that part? 

Here’s what I’ve found:

The breakdown

Cannabis consist of two main components: THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). The difference between these two parts is what allows some forms of marijuana to be legal and others to be illegal. THC is the psychoactive component that causes the high behind this natural herb. An article by the American Psychological Association (APA) says, “marijuana has been shown to impair functions.” Of course, the long-term use of any drug can cause damage. The article explains that frequent users of cannabis in people over 16 does damage to the white matter of the brain; leading to less communication among neurons. Basic function performed by the brain are based on the use of neurons.  Neurons all over your body connect and send sensory signals to your nervous system, which then send information to the brain.

In no way am I advising anyone to try marijuana, but it is unfair for it to have such a harsh view in our current society, when legal drugs that do just as much (if not more) damage, like cigarettes and alcohol, can be purchased with ease all over the United States.

On that note, here are just a few examples of harmful chemicals found in a cigarette:

Acetone – A solvent for fibers and plastics.

Cadmium – A carcinogen. Capable of causing cancer in living tissues.

Phenol – In resin that is in plywood and other construction materials.

Carbon Monoxide – Easily gets absorbed into the bloodstream, because body cannot tell the difference between it and oxygen. It has no taste or smell.  

Nicotine – Highly addictive. Chemical that reaches the brain within 15 seconds. 

Just sayin,’ cigarettes are not better just because they are legal.  Moving on.

THC vs. CBD

Now, in contrast to THC, CBD is non-psychoactive. In other words, it does not get you high. It has healing properties, like anti-inflammatory. High Times magazine explains,“CBD is able to bind to the CB [cannabinoid receptor 1]1 at a different spot on the receptor than THC does. When THC binds to a CB1 receptor on the outside of a neuron, the receptor creates certain signals on the inside of the cell. If CBD binds to the CB… the same time as THC, the neuron gets a lesser signal.” All this is saying is that CBD does not create the same psychoactive high as THC because it affects the receptors in different ways.  

My experience

Based on my personal experience with CBD, it has worked better than any medication I have been prescribed for my Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH). This rare brain condition mimics that of a person with a brain tumor. In a normal body, spinal fluid is made by the spine and flows to the head to keep the brain a float. The body constantly makes these spinal fluids and flushes it to make room for new fluid to come in. My body, however, does not flush it out fast enough; so, it causes me to suffer from chronic migraines – my head literally fills with fluid. 

Because there is no cure, I rely heavily on CBD and its anti-inflammatory properties to ease away my migraines. Because it contains CBD, not THC, I am still able to function, while treating my condition. Another great thing about CBD is that it is legal in many states, but it remains a point of confusion over all. There are countless online forums full of people sharing their positive, and life changing experiences while using CBD for treatment of their illnesses and chronic pains – though the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) continues to consider it generally not completely legal under federal, since it’s still technically in the legal definition of marijuana.

Shedding light on the medical properties of marijuana helps us get over some of the preconceived notions and negative reputation that surrounds it. Regulating its usage, like any other drug under the FDA, gives people with life-threatening illnesses a better chance to live happy and healthy lives.

Ivy Banks

SCAD ATL '20

Born in northern Virginia and raised by New Yorkers, Ivy was exposed to a lot growing up. Ivy Bank$ is a Film & Television major at SCAD Atlanta. Born to two Artist, it's no mystery on why she decided to take up the arts herself. As a little girl she lined the walls of her room with her own paintings. As she grew, so did technology and her interest in different art forms. By her preteens she took up filmmaking, and has stuck with it ever since. At the age of 17, she was diagnosed with a rare brain condition that only spared her some sight in her right eye. Due to the extreme amount of vision loss, she stepped away from physical filmmaking. To deal with the pain of a huge lifestyle change she took up writing. Writing for Ivy has become a way for her to express her deepest thoughts, and help others visualize the way she views the world. She's very passionate about writing screenplays, and aspires to direct her own studio film one day. Follow her on Instagram @boy.no
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