Informational Guide on Medical Cannabis
If you have ever heard of the song, “Lets Go Get Stoned,” as sung by Ray Charles or Joe Cocker, you know the lyrics were referring to getting high or using cannabis aka marijuana. This mind altering drug goes by other names as well; names such as weed, pot, joint, blunt, hash and mary jane are quite common among users. Cannabis is a plant that contains a chemical called cannabinoids or cannabinolidic acids.
Another substance that is found in cannabis is THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, which gives the users that “high” sensation. When speaking of marijuana, the actual substance used in creating the high feeling comes from the leaves and flowering tops of the cannabis plant. Marijuana is considered to be a schedule 1 controlled substance today, because of the THC, which can be highly potent, depending upon the concentration factor of the THC.
This plant grows in Asia, Africa and Europe. The Chinese were the first to use the plant, taking its hemp fibers to make clothes and fishing nets. However, the plant became even more valuable when a Chinese Emperor discovered its medicinal value in 2737 BC. Cannabis became the medicine to ease the symptoms of illnesses such as gout, malaria and rheumatism. It was in1841, when Queen Victoria used the plant to calm her menstrual cramps.
With this information, it goes to show that cannabis used in medicinal purposes is nothing new. It’s just having a come back in the 21st century.
History of Use
Before becoming a product in the United States in the 60’s, cannabis was known throughout India and the Middle and Far East Nations, including that of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Records show that the use of marijuana as medicine has been in existence for about 5000 years. In the beginning, it was the Indians and Chinese who used this plant mainly for physiological and psychological benefits. However, it became an antiseptic and an analgesic through the Middle East and Europe. By the time the medicinal purposes hit the West, the medicinal purposes was limited to treating burns. During the periods of 1840-1860, it became the intoxicant choice of the influential of France. The use of marijuana became illegal in the United States in 1937, being used only to treat ailments such as glaucoma and ear, nose, throat and skin infections.
What it is Used For
With all the pros and cons of this plant that grows wild and natural, in this new age, the medicinal purposes of this potent drug is now being used to treat medical conditions such as asthma, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, migraines and even stress release. It has been reported by the Institute of Medicine, that the medicinal uses for marijuana also includes the therapeutic effect of THC in controlling nausea and vomiting. It is also said to be an appetite stimulator.
The Safety of Cannabis
The Institute of Medicine reported in 1999, that smoking marijuana is within the same range of effects associated with other medications. The concern lies within the cardiovascular, immune and hormonal systems and the cognitive functions of an individual. In some research, it was found on certain patients; the side effect of the drug was psychological, impairing perception for instance, or a decrease in blood pressure. However, once the marijuana was combined with other medications, there was the increased risk of heart attack. According to lead researcher, Donald Abrams, he states that smoking marijuana for medicinal purposes could be safely conducted if done in a controlled clinical setting. However, outside the controlled setting, it was found that middle aged and the elderly cannabis smokers, though moderate in takers, had an increase risk of having a heart attack after the first hour of smoking the potent drug. 2% of these patients with heart attack symptoms had just smoked cannabis, showing that the drug increases blood pressure and heart rate.
According to the National Institute of Aging, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, a disease that attacks the brain. This disease causes one to become forgetful and unable to think clearly. You can only treat the symptoms of the disease, making the patient feel more comfortable and somewhat normal. However, there are prescription medicines that help with sleep, depression and that fretful feeling associated with Alzheimer’s. With this known information, can marijuana help treat this disease? You decide from the pros and cons if marijuana or cannabis is a treatment or a cure, is it worth the risk.
Research is being done and one staff scientist at the Scripps Research Institute and the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology has decided that the use of marijuana with its potent THC is an effective inhibitor. The scientist claims that the THC works better than the prescribed drugs such as Donepezil. Researchers claim that the THC and its components just may improve the therapeutic effect for treating the symptoms and the progression of Alzheimer’s. But, the key words to remember are “just may improve”. Another scientist found that the cannabinoid receptors work in the pathology of the disease, preventing the neurodegenerative process from taking place.
However, there are some scientists who disagree with these findings, stating that the compounds that make up cannabis interfere with the immune system, brain waves and the nerves. Changing dosages of cannabis can bring about opposing effects on the body. For instance, though Andandamide worked at protecting memory loss and nerve degeration, the use of the cannabinoids for a prolonged period of time becomes ineffective and damaging. It is also noted that while the patient is given a temporary high, the prolong use can lead to depression, leading to more mental stress, strain and problems.
Sometimes, people need a little help coping with life, but according to the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Center (NCPIC), anyone suffering from schizophrenia or those who are vulnerable to the disease should not use marijuana. Those who suffer with schizophrenia already have a hard time distinguishing what is reality and what is fantasy, or a figment of the imagination, because they suffer from delusions and hallucinations. It has been reported that using cannabis makes these symptoms worse for those suffering with the psychotic disorder.
Although cannabis has been used to treat symptoms of depression, it has been also reported that the drug causes higher levels of depression, making the symptoms worse, especially on those who have never smoked or ingested the substance.
The chemicals THC and CBD found in cannabis are used to treat mental illness because of their calming effect, helping people with bipolar avoid the manic high and lows. So, when it comes to using cannabis for medicinal purposes, there is a good side and a bad side, the good side outweighing the bad and what is best for the patient.
It is no secret that HIV/AIDS is an epidemic sweeping the world and taking people out by the groves. The reason for this is because there is no cure for this human disease. Although there are medications to treat the infections and perhaps prevent infections; however, the side effects of the harsh drugs present more medical complications for the patient. Some of these side effects include nausea, pain, loss of appetite and severe gastrointestinal effects, causing the individual to just waste away, because they are literally starving themselves to death.
According to researchers at Columbia University, the use of medicinal cannabis benefits people with HIV/AIDS. It can be added to their pain management regiment, and it can be used to stimulate their eating metabolism; allowing the patient to eat with less discomfort. It also reduces stomach cramps. Medicinal cannabis allows for a better quality of life for the individual suffering from AIDS.
When it comes to the medicinal purposes of marijuana, according to the University of California, cannabis is used mainly for treating terminally ill patients. Cannabis is also used for those patients going through a long painful treatment of a disease. They use it to treat diseases like multiple sclerosis and cancer victims; whereas, treating the symptoms and the aftermath of chemotherapy. The use of cannabis helps with the side effects of nausea and vomiting of cancer patients. This form of treatment is used on patients who have not responded well to the standard antiemetic drugs.
Dispensaries and Legalized Medical Marijuana
With all the uses of medicinal cannabis, there is still a debate going on, even though it is legalized in many states in the United States. However, in order to obtain this medicinal drug, one needs a doctor’s recommendation and a medical marijuana card to purchase the product from marijuana centers and dispensaries, which also needs a license to run the business. In other words, you can’t just walk in like you do the typical pharmacy or drug store and pick up your cannabis. To begin with, you must go through the application process and then go through a waiting period before you can purchase it. However, the waiting period will depend upon the state where the center is located. For each state has their own set laws and regulations on dispensing the medication. There are 16 states in the United States that have legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes; they are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, Nevada, Rhode Island and Vermont to name a few. Also on the list of states is the District of Columbia, (DC) which became effective on July 27, 2010.
From the National Cancer Institute, this website discusses the care of cancer patients with the use of marijuana. Article also shows the effect of anti cancer drugs and how a marijuana cigarette treats patients going through chemo.
This article is taken from a report on the use and the effect of cannabis and cancer patients. Article shows how the drug is considered a medicine, describing what illnesses it is used for.
Information found on this site gives a summary chart of what states have legalized medicinal marijuana. Chart shows when the states legalized it and how much the possession limit is.
The information found on this website explains the laws of using medicinal marijuana. You will find information on the centers, the waiting period and how to obtain a marijuana card for medical purposes.
There is a big controversy on medicinal marijuana dispensaries, and this article takes a look at the debate. Article shows how the Supreme Court got involved to supersede state laws.
Explained in this article are the facts and issues of medicinal marijuana. Information shows that though legal in some states, problems exist on the federal level.
The information contained on this websites shows which states have an active medicinal marijuana program in affect. It gives a brief summary on each state and gives their amendment information.
Medicinal marijuana continues to be a debate as explained in this article. The article also defines what medicinal marijuana is, showing how it affects the brain.
Information found on this website gives a general reference to medicinal marijuana use and the AIDS patient. It gives pros and cons of its use.
This is a brief article on the topic of the use of medicinal marijuana and the HIV patient. Information shows how patients benefit, giving the positive side of the drug.
From the BBC News, this article shows how cannabis is used to treat the mentally ill. It explains how the chemicals found in the drug are used to help bipolar symptoms, calming the highs and lows of patient’s mood swings.
Mental health covers many medical concerns. One of the issues is that of schizophrenia. This article takes a look at the use of cannabis with this disease.
Another mental disorder is that of Alzheimer’s. The article gives a general reference, showing the pros and cons of treating the disease with cannabis.
From the Scripp Research Institute, information on this page shows that the main substance found in marijuana can lead to an effective treatment of Alzheimer’s.
The information on this page reports a survey that was taken to discover what is the worse addicting drug between alcohol, tobacco and cannabis? It states that doctors see more patients with health problems relating to alcohol and tobacco than that of cannabis.
The information found on this page explains what marijuana is exactly. It also gives information on other names that are associated with this drug, as well as showing how it works and its effect on the brain.
Information found on this page comes from a 2002 petition. The brief article gives the acute side effects of cannabis, its long term use and its illegal status issue.
This is a comprehensive article that covers the marijuana issues of danger, safety and its medical uses. The article names several illnesses that benefit from cannabis.
As shown in this article, cannabis is used to treat patients with chronic pain. Also given is the overview of the scientific research done on medicinal marijuana.
On this page you will find addiction facts on the use of marijuana. The facts come from sources such as the National Institute of Health. It also covers how much money is spent annually on marijuana addiction.
The information found on this page comes from the Heritage Foundation. It gives an abstract on why marijuana should not be legalized because of its addictive state. However, there are those who believe that it is not addictive, creating a debate among the masses and the courts.
This is a very informative article that names that talk about the dangers of marijuana use. It lists the effects that the drug has on the immune system, brain function and so much more.
This article explains why and how marijuana is being used as medication to treat certain illnesses. You will find information on what doctors and scientists are saying about this drug as a choice medication.
From the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, this article shows how complex it is treating MS with cannabis. Though there are patients confirming the positive side of using marijuana, there is a fight going on with the federal government because of research and study.
This article shows how cannabis has a positive effect on stress release. It names several disorders such as anxiety, which marijuana is being tested to ease the symptoms.
This article covers the issue of chronic pain and the use of medicinal marijuana. When it comes to managing pain, more states are permitting the use of the drug for medical purposes.
This website gives the many uses of marijuana on a medical basis. It tells how cannabis works as a medication and what conditions are treated with it.
Information found on this page gives the history of marijuana use. It also covers the history of its medical use in both the 19th and 20th centuries.