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Is Marijuana “healthier” than cocaine?
Hi everyone! Crystal, your friendly molecular neuroscientist, here for DNews.
Whenever we read the news, we see new information about the positive benefits of marijuana and
more reasons why cocaine is really, really, bad for you. Recent studies report cocaine
use leading to everything from tissue damage in your eye, to an impaired ability to see
the unfavorable consequences of your actions. Why is that? Is it just a case of one being
more “organic”? No. No its not.
Cocaine and marijuana come from plants so I guess they can both be considered “natural
products”. But they activate completely different systems in our brains. Cocaine is
so popular because it is really great at activating our brain’s “pleasure center”. When
our neurons are sent swimming in dopamine it make us feel really, really good. For the
half hour or hour that the drug is active in our system, we feel happy, alert, euphoric,
and invincible. Which is great! except when it causes us to act irrationally, make self
destructive choices, and the source of that high becomes dangerously addictive.
Cocaine use is dangerous not just because the drug is highly addictive, but because,
like methamphetamine, it is a powerful stimulant that has an effect on our bodies as well as
our brains. Cocaine use can lead to an inability to regulate body temperature and at the right
doses, it interferes with cardiac function leading to high-blood pressure, arrhythmia,
and death.
Cocaine has been used in a medical context as well. It is used sparingly as a numbing
agent in nose and mouth surgeries, but that usage can hardly be considered therapeutic
and its potency and addictive qualities, not to mention its schedule II status as a controlled
substance, make it undesirable as an anaesthetic.
On the other hand, a wealth of research has been performed revealing the positive health
benefits of marijuana. But perhaps the most interesting characteristic of this controversial
plant are its anti-breast cancer properties. There’s been a lot of discussion over “compassionate
use” of marijuana due to reports that it helps patients undergoing chemo battle pain
and nausea, and increases their appetite. But quietly published studies are beginning
to reveal that compounds found in cannabis may directly inhibit the growth of some breast
cancer cells which is an exciting result for medicine.
Despite its legalization in many states, marijuana is still listed as a highly controlled substance
by the US government , a classification that makes research on this drug challenging to
perform in the US.
Given the current academic literature, I’d say marijuana wins by a mile in terms of health
benefits when compared to cocaine, but please remember the use of the term “healthy”
is relative! and not only is the composition of the drug important, how its used, and the
environment it’s used in, is important too. Lastly, neither I nor DNews condones the illegal
use of drugs so be smart out there and stay healthy.
What do you think? Could there be health benefits to cocaine? Subscribe to DNews and let us
know in the comments below. You can also find more on drugs and the brain by following me
on twitter @PolycrystalhD


Weed Or Cocaine: What's Worse For You?

337 タグ追加 保存
王健安 2016 年 6 月 11 日 に公開
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