Pot is no longer just for rebelling against the man…or your parents. Today marijuana has cut its long hair and is pushing its way forward into productive society. Despite a deeply imbedded cultural stigma attached to marijuana use, an objective look at its incredible health benefits could help it break through.
In 1972, the United States’ Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act. This based the ban of marijuana on the claim that it had “no acceptable medical use.” But in 2014 we know better. To date, twenty-three states (including Maryland) and the District of Columbia have all legalized the use of medically prescribed cannabis, numbers rising. Ten other states now allow for “low THC, high cannabidiol (CBD)” products for medical applications. THC is what gets you the traditional psychedelic effects of marijuana, whereas CBD can be manipulated to treat disease.
This plant has been put to good use for a variety of medical practices. Marijuana has been prescribed to alleviate chronic pain, diabetes, glaucoma, and symptoms of the AIDS virus. Patients with Multiple Sclerosis and those severely disabled by muscle stiffness have reported after being given a liquid extract of marijuana in a 2004 study, that they experienced a considerable decrease in tremors and spasms. Cancer patients have been experimenting with marijuana to combat their disease for years. Many have found that using marijuana between treatments will reduce their symptoms by dulling the senses – patients report eased nausea, reduced vomiting, cured insomnia, and an increased appetite to combat their expected weight loss.
Perhaps one of the most remarkable uses for medical marijuana have come from the Stanley Brothers, the family who started the Charlotte’s Web™ breeding project. Named for the five year old girl who inspired their efforts, Charlotte’s Web is a low THC, high CBD strain of marijuana, bred by the brothers to treat cases of intractable epilepsy. So no, this strain was not made to intoxicate children; quite the opposite, as it was created to bring them back to the world. Charlotte Figi was the first to test this project – and her seizures stopped from Day 1.
There are no secondary effects to be seen from Charlotte’s Web. A person cannot overdose on this. The Stanley Brothers currently treat 180 epileptic children with Charlotte’s Web and have been finding even broader uses. Autistic kids who have never spoken before or moved, have learned to speak, and have learned to sit up on their own. A strain of marijuana which spent years being called the “hippies’ disappointment” for its lack of THC is now disappointing no one.
Marijuana researchers have found that the number of ailments becoming treatable by cannabis increases in correlation with its further application. The Institute Of Medicine issued a report stating “Scientific data indicate the potential therapeutic value of cannabinoid drugs, primarily THC, for pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation…”
The Institute also found that smoked marijuana can have just as many adverse effects as positive, such as decreased lung function. Medical Marijuana is a different subject, largely because it is rarely ‘smoked’ in the traditional way. For those with chronic disease, and for those who have spoken with their doctor first, this could be the help they have been aching for.
What are your thoughts on Medical Marijuana? Do you think it should be more available to the chronically ill, or do you disagree with this premise? Please comment below.