Medical Marijuana – Myth or Miracle?

The heated debate over the use of medical marijuana has been picking up steam ever since several states have legalized its use. Both sides have taken a tough stance, thus leaving patients who are considering using this plant for medical purposes to untie the Gordian knot themselves, and this additionally complicates their already delicate situation. Is it possible that experts can’t establish a middle ground and achieve a consensus on such a sensitive issue and help thousands of people form an opinion about this, undoubtedly, beneficial substance? Obviously, the long-standing societal prejudice against cannabis gets in the way of embracing its many medical advantages despite hard evidence of its effectiveness.

The pain barrier

Pain caused by various medical conditions is one of the most common reasons why people decide to start using marijuana. Namely, traditional painkillers come with a number of side effects, which is why many cancer patients, people struggling with muscle spasms brought on by multiple sclerosis, migraine sufferers, or those afflicted with peripheral nerve damage seek solace and pain relief in cannabis, because of its analgetic properties minus the harmful effects. Relevant statistics show that in states where medical marijuana has been legalized, a lower prescription overdose death rate has been observed. Bearing in mind that official estimates say that 25.3 million Americans are plagued by debilitating chronic pain which prevents them from leading normal lives, it’s clear why overcoming backward notions about the alleged dangers of medical marijuana and making the most of its pain-relieving potential is of vital importance.

Cannabis 101

Weed. Pot. Getting high. Those are the most common terms that people use when they refer to cannabis, and this is the main point of concern among those who are against it. However, although marijuana does undeniably have psychoactive effects, it’s important to understand how this medicinal plant actually works. Namely, the human brain, as well as the central and peripheral nervous systems, are equipped with endogenous cannabinoid receptors. This practically means that our brain produces marijuana-like chemicals responsible for regulating many psychological and physiological processes, including appetite, mood, and memory. However, it’s also in charge of regulating the psychoactive effects of cannabis. There are two major chemical compounds in marijuana and they’re the sources of all its benefits, but it’s important to highlight that there are some significant differences between THC and CBD, abbreviated from tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol respectively, the most important of which are their diverse effects on sleep, as well as the fact that THC is notoriously accompanied by psychoactive effects. However, CBD is non-psychoactive, which makes it suitable for all kinds of medical uses.

The last resort

Apart from its therapeutic and soothing properties, marijuana is, as some studies show, a remedy for several chronic or even terminal diseases.

  • Sufferers from Alzheimer’s can greatly benefit from marijuana’s appetite stimulating and calming properties. Namely, it can help them gain weight and ease agitation. Some preliminary results indicate that marijuana can also slow the buildup of protein deposits in the brain, thus slowing the progression of the disease.  
  • HIV/AIDS patients who use medical marijuana have reported a healthier appetite, better sleep, and a mood boost.
  • When it comes to cancer, some animal studies report that marijuana extracts can stop its growth or even kill certain cancer cells. Since cannabis is also endowed with antiinflammatory properties, its compounds are beneficial for preventing colon inflammation, subsequently reducing the risk of colon cancer. Adverse effects of chemo can be particularly exhausting and cause nausea and vomiting. Cannabinoid receptors in the brain have been found to control these two side effects, so that even the Food and Drug Administration has officially allowed the use of several cannabinoidbased drugs for treating chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
  • Glaucoma, a disease which damages the optic nerve, is among the leading causes of vision loss, and its certain types are characterized by increased pressure in the eye. Cannabis can help reduce the risk of blindness because it can lower that pressure and prevent damage to the nerve.

Ethical dilemmas

Despite all the above-mentioned health benefits, marijuana is still largely considered illegal and inappropriate due to its euphoria-inducing properties. However, an increasing number of countries have legalized its use for medical purposes, so that now various forms of cannabinoids are available, such as concentrates, vapes, topicals, or edibles. Still, legal issues aside, it’s essential to seek advice from your doctor before you decide to use marijuana or its derivatives for treating any health issue, as that’s how you’ll eliminate any potential harmful effects or the risk of misuse. Recreational use of marijuana is something completely different and should be treated separately. Insistence on the criminalization of this plant could deprive many people of finding comfort and relief from various unpleasant health problems and robbing them of the possibility to improve the quality of their life. Another thing that should be taken into consideration is that only premium quality cannabis can deliver the desired results.   

Medical marijuana might not be a magic potion or a panacea, but it’s definitely an ingredient that can ease pain and help ailing people feel better.

Author Details

Samantha Olivier

Writer at 1988
Samantha has a B.Sc. in nutrition, and has spent two years working as a personal trainer. Since then, she has embarked on a mission to conquer the blogosphere. When not in the gym or on the track, you can find her on Twitter, or in a tea shop.


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