Marijuana, or cannabis, as it is more appropriately called, has been part of humanity’s medicine chest for almost as long as history has been recorded. Of all the negative consequences of marijuana prohibition, none is as tragic as the denial of medicinal cannabis to the tens of thousands of patients who could benefit from its therapeutic use.
Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of Active Clinical Studies. These include pain relief — particularly of neuropathic pain (pain from nerve damage) — nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant, specifically for patients suffering from HIV, the AIDS wasting syndrome, or dementia. Emerging research and Studies suggests that marijuana’s medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors and are neuroprotective.
Currently, more than 60 U.S. and International Health Organizations support granting patients immediate legal access to medicinal marijuana under a physician’s supervision.
Before 1937 Cannabis could be found in these bottles and was known to be very effective in helping ailments, many of us suffer from today. There are marked differences in the knowledge on the medical use of cannabis and cannabinoids in different diseases because of the prohibition placed on its use. Today we understand cannabis is effective in reducing nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy, anorexia and cachexia in HIV/Aids, chronic and severe pain especially from neuropathic pain, spasticity in multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury. Recently there have been big advancements in the positive effects cannabis is having on seizures caused from different forms of epilepsy. However, the scientific evidence for a specific indication does not necessarily reflect the actual therapeutic potential for a given disease.
Clinical studies with single cannabinoids or whole plant preparations (smoked cannabis, cannabis extract) have often been inspired by positive anecdotal experiences of patients employing crude cannabis products. The anti-emetic, the appetite enhancing, relaxing effects, analgesia, and therapeutic use in Tourette’s syndrome were all discovered in this manner.
Incidental observations have also revealed therapeutically useful effects. This occurred in a study with patients with Alzheimer’s disease wherein the primary issue was an examination of the appetite-stimulating effects of THC. Not only appetite and body weight increased, but disturbed behavior among the patients also decreased. The discovery of decreased intraocular pressure with THC administration in the beginning of the 1970s was also serendipitous. Additional interesting indications that have not been scientifically investigated, but remain common problems in modern medicine may benefit from treatment with cannabis or cannabinoids. For this reason, surveys have been conducted questioning individuals that use cannabis therapeutically. They were conducted either as oral non-standardized interviews in the course of investigations of state or scientific institutions (House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology in the UK, Institute of Medicine in the USA) on the therapeutic potential of cannabis or as anonymous surveys using standardized questionnaires.
My Compassion declares that it is the right of doctors to be able to discuss the medicinal use of cannabis with their patients.