Medical Marijuana Changing the Face of Medicine

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Marijuana’s medicinal uses can be traced back as early as 2737 B.C., when the emperor of China touted cannabis tea for therapeutic reasons. While medical marijuana is approved in 23 states and the District of Columbia, this substance is still deemed a Schedule I controlled substance that is not “currently acceptable for medical use” and has a “high potential for abuse.” However, here in the United States the legalization of this substance for medicinal purposes are still taboo and it is especially difficult to do high-quality studies on its medicinal effects in the U.S. due to this stigma. There is a market and a gap that marijuana as a therapy could fill. There are many people interested in the use of marijuana as a medical therapy – this includes physicians, pharmaceutical companies, politicians and patients.

Treatment options
The benefits of medical marijuana have been strongly documented by scientists via research. Two synthetic compounds, based upon the chemical form of THC, have been approved by the FDA. Nabilone and dronabinol are being used to the treatment of chemo-induced nausea and vomiting, and have been found to be as effective as current anti-nauseous medications. Research has proved inhalation of cannabis is just as effective as ingestion of these pills. Researchers are also exploring the effects of a lesser known cannabis related product, cannabidol, for the treatment of intractable epilepsy. For pain, marijuana has been documented to provide relief related to multiple sclerosis- related spatisity and peripheral neuropathy. The primary psychoactive compound in marijuana is THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. THC targets the CB1 receptor, found primarily in the brain. The CB1 receptor activates to quiet the response to pain or noxious chemicals. Marijuana and THC have also been identified as provided relief for patients with debilitating anxiety and other psychiatric conditions.


Decrease substance abuse
The current pain management systems has an alarming number of associated iatrogenic overdoses and addictions. Pain management with THC could be an effective alternative that helps treat pain and decreases the number of people addicted to pain medications. In comparison to the standards of care for pain management, opiods outperform THC, but are still able to provide comfort to patients with chronic or acute pain.

Call to Action
The entire concept that something fairly cheap and readily assessable could be harvested to treat some very debilitating diseases. The stigma associated with the legalization and acceptance of medical marijuana is hindering the full potential of this drug as a medical therapy and it could change the world of medicine.

Online Resources
Medical Marijuana: Hints of Headway http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cncy.21524/epdfMedical Marijuana: Benefits, Risks and State Laws http://www.livescience.com/24554-medical-marijuana.html
United Patients
http://www.unitedpatientsgroup.com/blog/

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2 Responses to “Medical Marijuana Changing the Face of Medicine”

  1. jaminaddae Says:

    I agree with you on the untapped medicinal potential of cannabis. It is not going to be an easy task undoing the harm done by many years of denigration of cannabis. We tend to inwardly judge people who use it irrespective of the reason for its use (whether medicinal or not). It is easier to change legislation concerning the use of cannabis but may take longer to change household and community opinion about the drug and that is going to be the more difficult task

  2. nacrine Says:

    This is really an interesting and hot topic. I also believe that the therapeutic effect and medicinal potential of cannabis is very promising and seriously underdeveloped in the past, and correct administration according to appropriate indications under strict scrutiny should do more good than harm to human beings. But it certainly needs many years to overthrow people’s prejudice toward it and the bias over its usage/misuse and effects, maybe longer than transforming the stereotype of HIV.

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