I’ve had over 400 requests to republish this blog entry on Medical Cannabis (Marijuana). there is so much mis-information and worse, so much politicking that I thought it prudent to report.
|La cucaracha, la cucaracha,||The cockroach, the cockroach,|
|ya no puede caminar||can’t walk anymore|
|porque no tiene, porque le falta||because it doesn’t have, because it’s lacking|
|marihuana pa’ fumar.||marijuana to smoke.|
First, I’d like to talk a bit about the history of Marijuana. Pot, Weed, Bamba, Ganja, call it what you will, many people have many different strong opinions about Marijuana. The fact is that Marijuana use goes back to the third century B.C.and is originally from central and south Asia. It is used recreationally, spiritually, religiously and now medicinally. In some form or other, it is estimated that about 200 million people use it and that number is probably understated.
Believe it or not, in the mid 1800’s Marijuana use was fashionable and there were many establishments where it was sold and used quite freely. (A precursor to what would happen in Amsterdam in the later 20th century.)
In the early 1900’s a wave of conservatism swept the country leading to the “Prohibition” which made alcohol illegal. Marijuana was than looked on as an addictive and dangerous drug and steps were taken to also make it illegal. For more info see the:Towns-Boylan act.
The 1930’s started a hysteria about Marijuana with many believing that it not only led to harder drugs but could turn you into a homicidal maniac (as seen by such movies as “Reefer Madness”). This was directed at the masses, however the upper classes, movie stars and musicians still used it regularly. The 1960″s brought a large resurgence among the younger and not so young generations and after an initial propaganda campaign by the government about it’s evils, the laws began to slowly loosen as studies showed it’s relatively benign nature. Though still illegal in the U.S and other countries, 15 states now have legalized it for medicinal use. Interestingly, it’s medicinal properties were known going back to the beginning of the 20th century.
Marijuana is a psychoactive drug and comes from the Cannabis plant. The major psych-active component is THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol).
There are many medicinal uses for Marijuana so get ready as this will be a long list: This is well documented so it is not an opinion.
Spinal cord Injuries
Lou Gehrig’s Disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)
PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorders)
and the list goes on and on.
So why all the controversy? One reason is that many scientists felt that smoking Marijuana could be dangerous. However this need no longer be the case. Marijuana can be eaten, sprayed into the mouth, and used in a vaporizer (where the important components are extracted and inhaled without the other chemicals). Therefore, this eliminates the toxic compounds. Another reason is that the governments have not figured out a way to tax Marijuana as they tax alcohol and cigarettes. A third reason is that Large Pharmaceutical companies want to be able to control it, hence a potentially large income stream and lastly, Alcohol companies, see it as competition. I’m sure there are other reasons.
There are two basic strains: Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica.
Cannabis Sativa causes the “stoned feeling” as well as other body feelings (pain loss, appetite increase etc). Cannabis Indica minimizes the “stoned feeling” but includes all the other body feelings. There are also strains which are mixtures of the two and in varying degrees.
Marijuana can be very strong, quite weak and everything in-between. A visit to a Medical Marijuana dispensary is a very enlightening experience. You might see many Jars of different types of Marijuana with many different slang names, displays of cupcakes, brownies other food products, lotions, sprays and other forms. Many of the people working in the dispensaries can quite knowledgeable about the different stains and guide you to the right type which would be most beneficial to help with your symptoms. At least here in California dispensaries are in no way back alley operations, but can be multi-million dollar businesses, very modern with doctors and other health professionals on staff. Many times, employees have to go through days or weeks of training so they are familiar with all aspects of Marijuana. In some cases, these employees are much more educated than pain doctors.
As of now, Marijuana dispensaries are legal in 15 States in the United States, though Federal Law always trumps State law and it is still illegal federally. However the Federal government has take the stance of “looking the other way”. On the other hand, some county District Attorneys have ordered the closure of dispensaries and instituted arrests of those involved. Their motive is usually political in nature and it is a good bet they will be running for another office in the near future.
Marijuana is a political and moral issue and I pass no judgment, however I can say with confidence that we all know that Fibro meds can be very strong and sometimes pretty severe side effects. I’ve seen many patients in my office who could not tolerate these meds, yet medicinal marijuana got them out of bed, dramatically helped their pain and allowed them to start functioning normally.
As with all meds, Marijuana is not for everybody. Some people will have bad reactions such as increased anxiety, and paranoia.Some are allergic. For these people Marijuana is a very unpleasant experience and should be avoided. I suppose that this is an example of how we are all wired a little bit differently. I do believe that Marijuana should be taken out of the political arena and looked upon as a possible health aid as there are so many suffering, whose symptoms can be alleviated or at least decreased.
My personal story involves my sister in law who went through horrible chemotherapy and radiation for Breast Cancer, yet Marijuana helped her tremendously to get through the process, she did not lose weight and was able to continue working. It really did wonders for her. I welcome your comments.
Some added info that was not in the post originally:
Sixteen states in the U.S. have legalized medical marijuana: Alaska, Arizona,California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont,Virginia, Washington and Washington D.C.
Other countries have their own legalities, in some countries, it is a crime, but if used for medicinal reasons, it is sometimes okay-ed. The best bet is to check the politics and legalities of your particular country and province.
The following link is from wikipedia and is a breadown of the legal status by country:
NORML is an organization where you can get more information on medicinial cannabis, it’s web page is:
NORML provides world politics, research links and basically the latest news and information on this topic and is an excellent resource.