When you say medical marijuana, it’s the usual plant that “potheads” roll and smoke like a cigarette in order to get high. The difference is that, medical marijuana refers to using the whole unprocessed plant or its extracts to treat symptoms of illness and various conditions.
Unfortunately, medical marijuana is not legal in every country. It’s not even legal in all states of the US. Some news even reports that there are families in the US moving to other states just so they can have access to medical marijuana for their children with epilepsy and other conditions. This is why a lot of people have been fighting for the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes for many years.
Components of Marijuana
The marijuana plant contains chemicals called cannabinoids. Our body produces its own natural cannabinoid chemicals and these chemicals play a vital role in regulating pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, body movement, appetite, pain, and all the 5 senses. To help you understand further, let us explain.
There are two main active cannabinoids in the marijuana plant that are of medical interest; the THC and the CBD.
THC. This chemical increase appetite and reduce nausea. THC may also decrease pain, swelling and redness, and muscle control problems.
CBD doesn’t make people “high.” It may be useful in reducing pain and inflammation, controlling epileptic seizures, and possibly even treating mental illness and addictions.
So if our body produces cannabinoids, why isn’t it legal everywhere? Is it because it’s addictive? Not really. The risk of marijuana addiction and dependency are lower compared to other common drugs. Marijuana dependency has been estimated at about 9%, as compared to the 32% for nicotine and 15% for alcohol. The reason why it’s not yet FDA approved is because it’s quite challenging to study an illegal substance, isn’t it? You need a special license in order to conduct a study on the said plant and those who were able to legally study the plant and conduct clinical trials that show that the benefits of the marijuana plant, they’re very limited. Which means that the studies aren’t large enough of a scale to get an FDA approval.
The Big Question: Does it Work?
There is really no solid yes or no answer to that question, just like there is no guarantee that a certain brand of paracetamol can help cure your headache because your body might react differently to that medicine as compared to the guy sitting next to you. Those who have used it for therapy, however, reports that it worked for them and improved their various conditions.
In other countries, like in some states of America, medical marijuana is being used as treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, appetite loss, cancer, anorexia, glaucoma, schizophrenia and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms, nausea and pain.
To find out more about the medicinal properties of Marijuana, here’s a simple medical marijuana guide that you can quickly learn basic facts from.
Available Medicines in the Market
As time goes by, we see significant improvements in the world of medicine. There is an FDA approved drug called Epidiolex, an oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy. It contains a purified drug substance derived from marijuana which is made from CBD. It was clinically studied with three randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials involving 516 patients and the results shows that it is effective in reducing the frequency of seizures when compared with placebo.
Another FDA approved medicine is Dronabinol. This is a man-made compound that contains cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant. Dronabinol has standardized concentrations of THC and does not contain other compounds found in the regular marijuana plant. The drug activates cannabinoid receptors in the body which causes a wide range of effects in the brain. This enhances sensation, appetite, euphoria and the like.
Studies on Medical Marijuana
There are many scientific studies or researches being conducted in order to come up with more medications. This includes a recent animal study on rodents showing marijuana extracts may help kill certain cancer cells and reduce the size of others. It also exhibited evidences suggesting purified extracts from the whole marijuana plant can slow down the growth of cancer cells from one of the most serious types of brain tumors.
This is why the medical marijuana has caught so much attention as it holds potential cure for cancer and even AIDS. For now, until more clinical trials are made, we won’t be seeing any more of those medicines out in the market.
Aside from clinical studies to develop medicine from the plant, there are also new strains of medical marijuana. These have been specially developed or designed to have fewer chemicals that causes euphoria. They were also made to have more of the chemicals thought to provide the health benefits of the usual marijuana plant.
So if you live in a state where medical marijuana is legal, you can just go to your local dispensaries to get the doctor prescribed medical marijuana for your condition. If you live in a country that hasn’t legalized marijuana yet, then you might have to wait a while longer.