As reported by CNN, 24 people at an Ohio music festival, “The Last Weekend on Earth,” held at the Ohio Dreams – Action Sports Camp in Butler, were hospitalized on August 6, 2016, due to a marijuana overdoses. The music goer’s consumed ultra-potent cannabis candies. During the 2016 rap music festival, someone began throwing bags of colorful candies/sweets around at 11:00 a.m. EST. The bags labeled as prescribed medibles held around 20 pieces of candies each.
Captain Donald Zehner of the Richland County Sheriff’s office reported that there was no loss of consciousness among the 24 who overdosed. The festival goers were treated with the drug Narcan, according to Nikki Workman, a spokesperson for the Ohio Health Mansfield Hospital. Narcan is typically used to counteract overdoses of drugs like heroin, oxycodone, and other such opiates.
Paramedics first arrived at about 4:00 p.m. EST at the OhioHealth hospital in nearby Mansfield with the overdose victims. The paramedics originally thought the overdoses were caused by opiates, but when the patients did not respond to the Narcan, they tested the candies, which came back with a very high dose of THC. With the nation’s fast track to legalize the use of marijuana and the notion from users, that the drug is one that people cannot overdose, this news may come as a big surprise.
According to Business Insider, more than 20 states have legalized the use of medical marijuana, noting that CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Sanjay Gupta, has reversed his view on the use of medical marijuana. However, recreational pot usage is said to still be a controversial topic.
Health Benefits vs. Negative Effects
Though the use of medicinal marijuana and its benefits are under scrutiny as advocates for the drug try to get it legalized, new laws are in place to help researchers study the medical use of the drug and how it impacts the body. At the current time, only six percent of marijuana studies are centered around the medicinal benefits of the drug.
Along with the health benefits, there are also negative ones as well. Research has shown there are good health effects when used for the treatment of Glaucoma, a disease that increases pressure in the eyeball damaging the optic nerve and causing loss of vision. The use of cannabis decreases the intraocular pressure (IOP) and may slow the progress of the disease inevitably preventing blindness.
Cannabis is also effective when used to treat epileptic seizures. According to Business Insider, Robert J. Delorenzo, of Virgina’s Commonwealth University administered marijuana extract to epileptic lab rats and the results of the drug given them rid the rodents of the disease for 10 hours.
Another benefit found in cannabis is preventing the spread of cancer, according to researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Fransico in 2007. They report that the drug helps by turning off a gene called Id-1. The researchers conducted a study of breast cancer cells with high levels of the gene, treating the cells with Cannabidiol, a chemical found in cannabis, the cells decreased and were less aggressive spreaders.
Research has also shown that smoking cannabis, when abused or overused, leads to dependency and messes with memory and emotions. The drug also slows brain development when users start smoking it in their teenage years. It hinders learning abilities reducing the capacity to think, which can last a long time or even be permanent.
Cannabis has negative effects on child development during and after pregnancy. The use of the drug while pregnant is linked to increased risks of brain development and behavioral problems in babies. The challenges for children of mothers who used cannabis during pregnancy include attention, problem-solving, and memory.
Another negative effect of the drug is that smoking it irritates the lungs and users who puff it on a regular basis can have the same adverse breathing problems as tobacco users. The list of challenges include, coughing with phlegm, frequent lung illnesses, and higher risks of lung infections.
The findings on anxiety are a double-edged sword, while it is said by some researchers at the Harvard Medical School in 2010, that the drug can calm the user improving the smoker’s mood acting as a sedative, it is also said that higher doses of marijuana can increase anxiety and make the user paranoid. Suicidal thoughts as well as depression, especially among teens, are a concerning health issue.
Although there are a plethora of health benefits for smokers of medicinal cannabis, that also include, soothing tremors for Parkinson’s disease, PTSD, Lupus, pain relief, multiple sclerosis and issues associated with chemotherapy. Cannabis users also have adverse effects like lower satisfaction, poor mental and physical health, dropping out of school, job absences, accidents, injuries and relationship problems.
The use of medicinal cannabis has many great benefits helping people nationwide with ailments not calmed by any other drugs on the market. While recreational users who do not have an illness should steer clear and leave it the people who really need the drug.
By Tracy Blake
Edited by Cathy Milne
National Institute on Drug Abuse: What is marijuana?
Business Insider: 23 Health Benefits Of Marijuana
CNN News: 24 hospitalized in drug overdose at Ohio
Leafly: What Are the Side Effects of High-THC Cannabis?
Featured Image Courtesy of Eleanore Wilson’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Top Image Courtesy of Adri H’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License