Cannabis sativa finds application in the medical field as an opioid (medical marijuana) and as a recreational drug despite the fact that it is a prohibited drug substance in many countries. Currently, there are reports on the increasing trends in the number of deaths associated with the use of marijuana. Regardless of these dangers, some countries across the world have legalized the sale and use of marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes. For these reasons, this review seeks to explore the emerging trends through which marijuana is consumed and the chemicals produced in the course of its use. Furthermore, the use of Cannabis sativa as medicine especially in the management of emerging diseases such a Corona virus disease-2019 (COVID-19) and the perceived harms have been reviewed. Relevant literature was identified from database search published between the period 2012 and 2020 in PubMed, Crossref, Google scholar, Cochrane and Web of Science. The articles were considered relevant if they addressed marijuana (Cannabis sativa) use, its impacts on users and non-users, carcinogenicity, medicinal value and COVID-19 management. A number of methods by which marijuana is used have been identified with each method producing different results among users. The chemicals released during smoking of marijuana and their carcinogenic potential and health effects are reported in this work. Further, Cannabis sativa has found significant use in the management of cancer and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV/ AIDS) to alleviate pain and improve appetite, respectively. Although marijuana is regarded as a prohibited and toxic drug substance, there is limited documentation in literature that extensively reports on its toxicological mechanisms especially its role as a cancer causing agent. On the contrary, most scientific studies have reported its use for medical reasons. Accordingly, there is need for further research on cannabis application as a medicinal drug, investigation on its possibility in the managing of the severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus-2 (SARS-Cov-2) and its epidemiological concerns. Campaigns for the legalization of cannabis for use in clinical medicine are fundamentally recommended but must take into account possible toxicological concerns, health ethics and psychotic problems.
Cite this paper
Omare, M. O. , Kibet, J. K. , Cherutoi, J. K. and Kengara, F. O. (2021). Current Trends in the Use of Cannabis sativa: Beyond Recreational and Medicinal Applications. Open Access Library Journal, 8, e7132. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/oalib.1107132.
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