Legalized Marijuana – is it Hope or Hype?
Medicinal cannabis is gaining high attention in the United States with recent media surrounding the controversial use of administering the drug to a child. Her name, Charlotte Figi or perhaps you have heard of marijuana strand known as “Charlotte’s Web”, after her. She suffers from a rare and debilitating form of epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome. To a mother of a child with a debilitating disease, this is Hope; to others against the marijuana movement all other may feel it is Hype. While the medical community needs more research, the government counties to play politics reeking havoc.
Medical cannabis is an herbal and synthetic therapy of THC and CBD that are present in herbal cannabis. Cannabinoids (CBD) is a group of hydro-carbonic compounds found in cannabis. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive substance present in cannabis. Herbal cannabis has the potential of turning into the next wonder drug ie penicillin. Similar to penicillin cannabis or marijuana is amazingly non-toxic, covers a wide range of valuable properties, and inexpensive in comparison to other treatments.
Cannabis has being used as drug since mankind existed. Ancient Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and Indians used it as medicine and many still do today. Egyptians used cannabis for relieving painsin piles, Greeks in dressing wounds and sores, Chinese in treating beriberi, absent-mindedness, malaria, rheumatism, constipation, and menstrual cramps. Found in Vedic literature of India, it was proclaimed as ‘gift’ from God. It was employed for curing insomnia, headaches, depression, and gastrointestinal disorders. Romans recommended the drug for increasing sexual desire.
Contemporary research recommends cannabis as a valuable support in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain reprieve particularly of naturopathic pain, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders associated with Multiple Sclerosis and other conditions. Marijuana is a potent hunger stimulant, specifically for patients suffering from HIV, cancer and chemotherapy treatment. Modern investigations suggest that marijuana’s medicinal properties may protect the body against few types of malignant tumors. There are favorable reports of cannabidoil, called CBD oils, reducing and at times
eliminating seizures in epilepsy. Children who suffer from epilepsy may not have better medical therapy and results so far have been miraculous. Due to the controversy and the unknown long term effects for their age, all
means of Western Medicine have been exhausted. The Epilepsy Foundation announced their full support of epileptic patient’s rights in February 2014 to have access to physician’s care including treatment with medicinal cannabis. Drs. Gary Mathern and Astrid Nehlig, editors in chief of Epilesia, have given reference to a website survey for gathering more needed data from patients, clinicians, and other medical professions.
Every health benefit from marijuana is not supported by medical research and study but more are emerging each day. Researcher Client Werner, the author of ‘Marijuana, Gate Way of Health’ is of the opinion that cannabinoids reduce inflammation and growth of certain types of cancers and can even kill them. THC diminishes, according to the author, the growth of plaques around neurons that are associated with it. He has studied the effects of THC and CBD. CBD does not have same psychotropic as THC, but contain many of other desirable effects such as relief of pains and nausea as well as cancer protection. That is why number of states in the US and countries world wide are increasing investigation on how to cultivate plants that have more CBD than THC.
Many medical journals publishing papers and articles discussing and recommending medical cannabis. To mention few, The Journal of Arthritis Research and Therapy of 2008, The British Journal of Pharmacology of August 2011, The Journal of Glaucoma of October 2006, The Canadian Medical Association Journal, May 2012, The British Journal of Pharmacology, April 2011, Journal of Pain Medicine, November 2009 and the Journal of Phytotherapy Research, December 2009. Many more are being published each day. As of this article, a PubMed search indicated 12,905 published documents ranging from pros and cons to policy and politics.
Side effects of medical marijuana cannot be ignored. Marijuana is not recommended for pregnant or breast-feeding mothers as it may damage the fetus. Other ill effects of marijuana are dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, headache, red eyes, blood pressure, numbness and sexual problems. Marijuana if smoked for a long time may cause unfavorable effects to the lung such as the growth of emphysema. As marijuana is a psychotropic drug it can cause the same ill effects similar to any other psychotropic drugs, for instance, neurosis, suicidal thinking, suicide, and perhaps violence.
The U.S. government classified marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance under Controlled Substances Act of 1970.In the US there is difference in legal status with regard to medical cannabis. At the Federal level cannabis in any form is criminal while at state level, marijuana may be legal for both medicinal and/or recreational use. As of today’s post 21 states have authorized medical cannabis and two more states allow it for recreational use to a certain limit. Canada, Israel and Czech Republic permit the use of medical marijuana to a limited extent as well. Presently, many international health organizations support granting immediate legal access to medicinal marijuana under a physician’s direction.
There are multiple arguments for and against medicinal marijuana. Physicians who recommend medical cannabis termed “the herb” as fairly safe. It is scientifically established that THC is clearly effective in appetite stimulation and as an antiemetic. Pre clinical studies infer that cannabinoids are able to play a wide range of sedative roles including immuno-modulatory, anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative and anti-fibrotic actions. Side effects, as matter of concern, should be measured with the benefit/ peril ratio. Cannabinoids should be perceived as potential bio-active compounds and not as illicit commercial substances.
A number of other physicians are very cautious. They contend that as alternative medicine it has health consequences; physical, mental, behavioral and social as was associated with ailments like liver, lungs, heart, and blood vessels diseases. There is inconclusive and inadequate evidence on the safety of the drug. Many are not aware that THC is greatly infected with neurotoxin aluminum. In depth research is required to assess the safety and use of medical cannabis. Many scientists are of opinion that various controlled and meticulous prescription should be administered only after safe testing just like other approved drugs. But unfortunately it is not an approved drug under US Federal laws which further hinders it’s research. Marijuana is a Schedule 1 status; industry is deprived of its efforts to develop compounds by CBD marijuana with conventional painkillers. Drugs derived from marijuana approved by FDA like Marinol, IS considered secure to use when taken at prescribed dosage.
It may be concluded that physicians who prescribe medicinal marijuana are advised to do so only when conventional options have failed after fully informing the patients on the possible side effects.
Definitions & References:
Cannabinoids are group of terpenophenolic (terepeno-phenol-ic) compounds present in cannabis.
Terpenes are a large and varied class of hydrocarbons.
Hydrocarbon: Any organic compound containing only carbon and hydrogen
Phenol: any class of organic compounds with hydroxyl group(Oh)
Epilepsy Foundation statement on rights – http://www.epilepsy.com/article/2014/2/epilepsy-foundation-calls-increased-medical-marijuana-access-and-research
Source and direct links list for published Journal articles – http://www.medicalhealthguide.com/herb/marijuana.htm “Medical consequences of marijuana use”, Review of current literature published by Adam J Gordon, James W.Conley, Joanne M Gordon published on 14 Nov 2013
Marijuana vs. Marinol – A Side by Side Comparison – http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.additional-resource.php?resourceID=000224