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A Starter’s Guide To Medical Marijuana

As the debate about legalizing medical marijuana continues and more states in the US uphold the plant as safe, people have various questions about the subject. To some, the thought of using marijuana is perturbing. This is due largely in part to the negative publicity marijuana has had over the years. Despite a myriad of information suggesting otherwise, it is still cast as a dangerous drug with serious side effects. In fact, some communities still consider it taboo to smoke cannabis. With that said, if the doctor was to prescribe marijuana for your pain treatment, what should be your reaction?

It all boils down to your knowledge about the subject. It is easier to choose whether or not to use medical marijuana once you understand some basics about it. Numerous scientific studies have shown that there is plenty of medical potential within this plant. Yet it has been banned in the US on grounds that it is of no medicinal value by the very government holding and using a patent on the medical use of cannabis. This only supports what our forefathers knew about cannabis; they had frequently used it in the past to treat pain related to different conditions.

What Can Medical Marijuana Treat?

In the past few years, clinical researchers have discovered proof that cannabinoids have powerful analgesic properties. In this case, it has been tested on numerous conditions, especially those which tend to leave patients battling with pain. Research shows that marijuana attaches to the cannabinoid receptors existing in the human biological system and cause nociceptors to respond fairly to pain sensation. As a result, some researchers believe that the primary application of medical marijuana would be for treating chronic pain.

A clinical review of the available scientific literature on medical marijuana appearing on a PubMed’s issue of June 2015 summarizes the following additional conditions as among the few which could be managed effectively using cannabis.

  • Cancer: cannabidiol (CBD), an active ingredient of cannabis is believed to control the multiplication of cancer cells in the breasts and brain.
  • Cannabis can be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, and asthma.
  • Nausea and vomiting: it could be given to cancer patients after chemotherapy to ease their pain and nausea.
  • Appetizer: those HIV/AIDs patients with extreme weight loss could use marijuana to boost their appetite as a countermeasure to their problem.
  • Glaucoma: cannabis is believed to relieve pressure exerted on the eyeball due to this illness
  • Epilepsy: one can use medical marijuana to control seizures if they are epileptic
  • Could be useful in relieving gastrointestinal problems.

Safety Concerns

Some still inaccurately associate marijuana with violence, addiction, and insanity, among other social evils. Actually, one of the main concerns is that legalizing it will cause their teenagers and young adults to indulge in cannabis, when in fact studies have shown that teen use actually drops in states that choose to legalize its use. Others find it challenging to distinguish between medical and recreational use, especially in regard to the application of the law. Yet the ubiquitous nature of cannabis and this world-wide awakening will soon make that apprehension unnecessary, as cannabis will once again be seen for the utility plant that it truly is. 

When it comes to drug addiction, it could be helpful to mention that cannabis does not show a high dependency level, especially when compared to the vast majority of licit prescription drugs; most of the traditional painkillers are narcotics. A comparison between such prescription drugs and marijuana shows the latter as less likely to cause addiction. In fact, there are studies indicating that if used with opiates for long-term conditions, marijuana provides better therapeutic results while reducing the effects of opiates; while many would suggest getting rid of the pharmaceuticals all together. 

Another interesting feature about marijuana is its safety profile. Did you know, there are no known deaths related to marijuana or cannabis overdose? You might be amazed to learn that marijuana is among the safest of all possible painkillers in existence today. This could explain why there is an almost 25% decline in deaths related to prescription drug overdose in states that have legalized medical marijuana. This is according to an august, 2015 survey appearing on JAMA International Medicine for the period between 1999 and 2010.

How does one use it?

If you thought you have to smoke to experience its analgesic properties, relax! Marijuana could be administered in other forms such as vaporizers, edibles, concentrates and so forth. However, it could be helpful to mention that smoking has proved to give the best results.


Ian Lebowski
Ian Lebowski is a Denver native, outdoor enthusiast and environmentalist. With a background in industrial organizational psychology, he spent a decade working in software testing before moving into a career advocating the use of cannabidiol oil use to treat epilepsy with INSYS Therapeutics, Inc. In 2015 he founded to continue pushing for cannabis reform for medical use.

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