Sorry, But Marijuana Isn't The Miracle Drug

Sorry, But Marijuana Isn't The Miracle Drug

It isn't the end-all-be-all of medical breakthroughs like you think.

Everywhere you look these days marijuana is being legalized and praised. Whether it's for medicinal or recreational purposes, states have been legalizing in quick succession over the last few years.

Most recently, Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wyoming, and Washington, D.C. all have policy makers who are pushing for legalization by the end of 2017.

Medicinal marijuana isn't without its benefits: It can be used to treat glaucoma, may help reverse the effects of long-term tobacco use (and therefore improve lung function), it can control epileptic seizures, stop cancer from spreading, decrease anxiety, and so much more.

But here's my unpopular opinion: I don't think marijuana is the miracle drug everyone claims it is. I think that the actual benefits are shadowed by the belief that there even are benefits.

While I think that there are a ton of incredible uses for medicinal marijuana, I also believe that the prescription drugs that have been developed by the "evil" Big Pharma aren't as disastrous and dangerous as they're made out to be. Trust me, I dislike Big Pharma as much as the next guy, but there are tons of cogs in that machine who truly care about the people they're developing drugs for.

I'm not the only one who has this view. Penny Whiting and her colleagues did a study analyzing 79 randomized trials over the medical effects of medical marijuana, and found that "most of the studies showed improvements among the participants taking the cannabinoid products over those using placebo, but in many, the scientists admitted that they could not be sure that the effect wasn’t simply due to chance since the association was not statistically significant."

This is concerning on its own, as the claims being made by marijuana activists aren't necessarily accurate.

This is what concerns me as someone who is going into the medical field. The rhetoric of activists is that anything produced by Big Pharma is toxic and dangerous, while marijuana is natural and will be better than anything Big Pharma produces.

This rhetoric is so incredibly dangerous. There are going to be people who drop the medications they HAVE TO HAVE for illnesses they cannot control in favor of something that is "natural" like marijuana (spoiler alert: it isn't always natural).

I know Big Pharma has done a lot of questionable and horrible things, but they have also produced life-saving things, such as insulin, chemotherapy, and beta blockers; the list goes on.

I worry that as marijuana becomes legalized across the country (and it will, eventually) public health will suffer rather than thrive. More people are going to suffer rather than there be this incredible medical revival that activists are claiming.

Cover Image Credit: Huff Post

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Vitimin Therapy

How Vitamin Therapy Can Help Recovering Alcoholics

How Vitamin Therapy Can Help Recovering Alcoholics

The consumption of too much alcohol not only affects your personality, but also your body and organs. The liver is the organ that is affected the most by this drink, as many have had to undergo surgery, alcohol poisoning, or even death as a result of overconsumption of alcohol and its addictive properties. This article is going to discuss vitamin therapy and the benefits that it presents to one who is in recovery from alcoholism.

Vitamins are essential for the recovering addict, as these individuals are likely to be suffering from malnutrition or vitamin deficiency. Alcohol does not provide much nutrition, and chances are, an individual who is prone to constant binge-drinking is not wary or particular concerned about maintaining a healthy diet. Methods of taking vitamins include taking supplements, or being mindful about eating vitamin-rich foods. Another method that is gaining more popularity, especially with celebrities, is using a vitamin drip; this is also referred to as “vitamin IV therapy” and involves the process of shooting vitamins directly into the bloodstream.

When detoxing from alcohol, it is essential to have proper nutrition, meaning that one must be careful as to what they consume. Maintaining poor nutrition, on the other hand, can slow down the recovery process and make it more stressful on the individual’s body.

Malnutrition in general can cause a variety of health problems, and alcoholics who suffer from malnutrition are experiencing extra pain and hardships on their body. When you are recovering from alcohol abuse, you are not just recovering from the psychological effects of addiction, but also the physical symptoms as well. Hard drugs also cause negative side effects such as loss of appetite, insomnia, nausea, and dehydration. In turn, this can lead to severe vitamin deficiencies and loss of brain function. This shows why good nutrition, wellness, and a proper diet can change and restore an alcoholic’s body functions and promote overall health.

Other harmful drugs such as cocaine or Xanax artificially manipulate our dopamine levels. Even when they may be prescribed, abusing them or taking more than is recommended can cause a serious chemical imbalance.

Street drugs such as ecstasy or molly, for example, flood the brain with serotonin, causing a chemical imbalance which leads to changes in one’s mood. After multiple uses of the drug, the brain craves the drug as a result of the pleasant feeling it creates in the body. Tolerance to the drug builds up with repeated usage, meaning the individual has to consume higher and higher amounts of the drug in order to get the same effect. This is a key factor for why people quickly get addicted, and end up seriously affecting their brain’s natural chemistry in a negative way.

How Vitamins Helped My Own Personal Recovery [H2]

During my college years, I was prescribed an amphetamine as a result of having trouble focusing. This drug had many side effects, and they were easily noticeable. This drug made me lose my appetite for the majority of my day, which in return made me lose unnecessary weight. This drug also caused me to be dehydrated, which lead to shortness of breath and my heart pounding for hours at a time. I hated what this drug did to me, and it's safe to say that I no longer take it, as I have replaced it with healthy foods such as spinach, peanut butter, fruit, and daily vitamins. Fish oil, B12, magnesium, 5HTP, and a daily multivitamin are all natural vitamins that can be used to restore body function. While B12 restores energy, 5HTP increases one’s serotonin level in the brain. The things you put in your body can truly affect one’s overall health and appearance. Even if you aren’t recovering from drugs, it’s still important to prioritize proper nutrition and take care of your body.

When an alcoholic undergoes addiction treatment, it is essential to assess the damage that they have done to the body. If they undergo a drug rehabilitation program, the doctors may identify symptoms of malnutrition, and suggest vitamins as a supplement to the drug detox process. In extreme circumstances, vitamin IV therapy may be required, as it is a faster process than taking vitamins via pill form or consuming them in meals. Vitamin IV therapy describes treatment involving large dosages of nutritional vitamins which are shot directly into the bloodstream using an IV. The advantage of this procedure is that it works faster, and an alcoholic who is suffering may need vitamins faster than the average person.

On the other hand, vitamins may also be consumed via a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, poultry, and less pasta and sweets. Detox drinks and cleanses are also helpful to the body of a recovering alcoholic, as they may help with dehydration and kickstarting an appetite. Some of my favorite vitamin rich-foods include salmon, asparagus, edamame, strawberries, blueberries with yogurt, orange juice, smoothies, and a chicken Caesar salad. These foods will not only make you feel good, but they restore the body from malnutrition.

While detoxing off from prescription or recreational drugs can be difficult, eating the right foods can the process much easier. From personal experience, being kind to yourself during a hard time will create more positive results. It's better to spend a day feeling healthy and alive instead of tired and nauseated.

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When Will This Flu Nightmare Be Over?

The flu has been different than any other years because of this deadly viral strand.

One hundred and fourteen children in the United States have died from what was supposed to be a simple case of the flu. You have probably heard the endless news updates on more than 11,000 people being admitted to the hospital for influenza disease, and some dying because of it. But why has it been so deadly this year? What changed?

The Center for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) only has one chance to choose the correct strand of the flu to vaccinate from. From their website, the main factors going into choosing the strand are as follows: “The influenza viruses in the seasonal flu vaccine are selected each year based on surveillance data indicating which viruses are circulating and forecasts about which viruses are the most likely to circulate during the coming season. The degree of similarity between available vaccine viruses and circulating viruses also is important. Vaccine viruses must be similar to the influenza viruses predicted to circulate most commonly during the upcoming season.”

So, it seems that a great amount of research goes into selection which viruses go into the flu vaccine. However, this does not completely prevent it. The H3N2 strain is what has caused these fatalities, as it is rare and the most deadly strain of the flu. This year, as press officer of the CDC Kristen Nordlund describes, “is one of the first years we’ve really seen that widespread activity is everywhere. Flu is really across the board in every state at the same time.”

A simple case of the flu can turn into pneumonia, sepsis, or a heart attack, and this is how it becomes so fatal. This outbreak has lasted since November and showed a peak in late February, so the CDC believes it should be over soon, but because of the virus strand, it may last longer.

The number of students that have been forced to miss class because of the flu is astronomical compared to years before. This affects grades, stress levels and learning ability.

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