Let us drop all pretense, many people get a medical marijuana card under flimsy purposes in order to use the drug to get high. There are marijuana derivatives that use a modified THC active ingredient that removes the mind-altering features from the drug, while retaining all other medical benefits. Those derivatives sell miserably when introduced to the medical marijuana market. This does not mean that the drug as a whole is pointless for soothing medical issues. Though it is not a “cure all” marijuana does have some strong known effects that combat various illnesses, as well as treatment for many illnesses.
It’s first and most noticeable effect is to reduce any symptoms of nausea and sickness in the patient. It doesn’t matter the source of the nausea, marijuana does very well in suppressing any urge to vomit, as well as any uneasiness or lack of physical capability related to that. In fact, it’s sickness reducing ability makes it an ideal symptom reducer for:
- Chemotherapy Illness
- Morning Sickness
- Hepatits C Treatments
- and several others
Along with the ability to reduce nausea, marijuana provides a euphoric and pain relieving effect on those that smoke it. Though in derivatives where the THC ingredient was reduced in efficacy the euphoria was similarly reduced, but it still proved very effective in treating anxiety and depression sickness, and the pain relief extended to arthritis patients with particular joint problems as well. For many, those problems are enough to consider marijuana worthy or use as a medical tool, but for others, it takes further evidence and use before you can consider a drug ‘useful’ as a medical treatment.
Well, what if marijuana helped solve other issues as well? What about…neurological issues? There is evidence that the various components in marijuana will assist with treating nervous system and mental issues.
For example, in 2006 a research institute in California discovered that THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, can prevent an enzyme from accelerating the formation of “Alzheimer’s plaques” in the brain, as well as protein clumps that can inhibit cognition and memory, more effectively than commercially marketed drugs. (Original story here.)
There are also studies from Virginia and Canada that indicate that marijuana can be useful in treating the symptoms of Multiple Schlerosis and Epilepsy. (stories here and here) In summary, Marijuana looks like it might assist controlling the neural functions that control spasms, both the ones that cause seizures, as well as the ones that slowly degrade a person’s motor functions. The muscle relaxation effects of marijuana adds additional assistance to generally reducing the anxiety and muscle spasms in a person’s life.
I know many people who use it for pain control, particularly people who prefer not to be hopped up on morphine or oxy all the time. It works also for people experiencing fibromyalgia and other forms of nerve pain.
Many call marijuana a ‘gateway’ drug. If someone uses marijuana, they will start craving stronger highs, and that will lead to abuse of other drugs. Recent studies show that the opposite may be, in fact, true. In tests done in rats by researchers in France, it appears that injections of THC in opiate addicted animals (ie, mice with addictions to morphine and heroin) rats suffered reduced effects of withdrawal and showed less sensitivity to opiates of all kinds. (study here) In this case, marijuana is slamming the door on the gateway, not kicking it open wider.
Medical marijuana is a divisive issue, both politically and professionally. People, researchers, politicians, and medical professionals come down on both sides of the issue, for and against the medical use of marijuana. It looks like more evidence is piling up that the good involved in medical marijuana use is outweighing the bad by a large margin. It also looks like the government in the US is recognizing this as well, not to mention they have an opportunity for another source of income to help flagging economies. Momentum, political and medical, being what it is, it might soon be a point of much less debate, as it becomes more obvious that medical marijuana use is going to stay.