Cannabis - or marijuana, as it is commonly known - is essentially a psychoactive drug from the cannabis plant, used for therapeutic and recreational purposes. While its use as a recreational drug has been legally prohibited worldwide, it's medicinal properties and benefits have interested physicists and scientists alike, despite being a subject of controversy for many decades.
The following factors have contributed to the growth in the use of medicinal marijuana in recent years
- Despite considerable advancement in the treatment of certain types of cancers , HIV/AIDS, and schizophrenia, a panacea for pain alleviation is found wanting - which marijuana provides.
- The legalization and decriminalization of the cannabis plantation has induced significant growth of its commercial production worldwide.
- Patients of major diseases like cancer need to take informed decisions on their treatment, and the side effects of chemotherapy, radiation or laser treatment have induced patients to take recourse to medicinal marijuana.
- Medicinal marijuana provides a secondary treatment in most cases, and with safety procedures in place, can be used as a treatment running concurrently with chemotherapy and other common treatments.
- Worldwide, patients of various diseases who have tried out marijuana for medicinal purposes have all just one thing to say - it has made them feel better!
Quite naturally therefore, in recent times, numerous researches, studies, and medical bodies have advocated the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Prominent among them are - American Health Association, Federation of American Scientists, American Cancer Society, American Medical Association - all of whom have advised the practicing medical fraternity to use their discretion in prescribing marijuana for therapeutic purposes.
Methods Of Medicinal Marijuana Consumption
- Smoking: Perhaps the most common method of inhalation. One has only to take a few crumbs of the marijuana flower and wrap it inside a small paper roll as in a cigarette. Very effective for most ailments. Provides quick relief from pain. Cheapest to buy and use.
- Vaporizing: Or Vaping as it is commonly known. Consumed by burning the dry marijuana flower at a temperature lower than its combustion. The heat supplied is just enough to breakdown the medicinal compounds ie, THC and CBD without turning in full combustion. Provides immediate relief. Mild to the lungs with no odor, as opposed to smoking. Vaping devices available in the market.
- Beverages: Drinking something with marijuana in it, does give people a 'high'. A good therapeutic. Juices, teas, sodas, lemonade, milk - any healthy drink or beverage goes well with cannabis. It has no cerebral effect, is available in neighborhood stores, and evokes a good feeling. An energy booster. Takes effect after a short time of 30 minutes.
- Edibles: A medicinal treat wrapped inside lollipops, crackers, popcorn, chocolates, ice creams are something that all would love. Delivers lasting relief. One can get precise dosage. Takes only 30 minutes to take effect.
- Trans dermal Patches: Patches containing a dose of 10 mg can be administered on the skin, preferably where the skin is clean and dry, as in inside of wrist or on the ankle or foot. The patch enters the blood stream penetrating the seven layers of skin. Long lasting impact. Smaller dosage can be taken.
- Sublingual Sprays: Also known as Tinctures. Can be administered by squirting a few drops under the tongue which gets absorbed within 10 minutes. Convenient to use, as they are packed in small bottles.
- Topical: Such as pain relief lotions. For external use only. Made from extracts of cannabis combined with a dense decarboxylated oil that has active cannabis. Normally used for various skin diseases, and arthritis/joint pains.
- Raw Fresh Marijuana: Patients who try it out have either depleted other forms of delivery which haven't suited the ailment, or believe that the drying and heating and extracting the cannabis takes away its medicinal properties or reduces it. Can be taken fresh but mixed in a beverage like a smoothie or a juice. Very effective, though the taste and smell may not jell with many.
Medicinal Benefits of Marijuana
As we know, almost all major diseases have an intrinsic element of physical pain, varying in intensity and degree. And while there are many long lasting benefits of medicinal marijuana, the main treatment that it provides is for pain relief and alleviation.
Scientists explain that our human body has certain cannabis receptors, which when activated by the cannabis ingredients, known as THC impacts positively on the brain, which in-turn results in a better feeling and the lessening of pain.
Here a summary of benefits for different ailments
- For Digestive Ailments: Crohn's Disease, Obesity and Diabetes. Just as consumption of fast foods are detrimental to our health, so also is a chronic deficiency of proteins and fat. Cannabis assists in increasing appetite, for consumption of the right kind of food and minerals for the body.
- For Psychological Disorders: Ingesting small prescribed doses of cannabis assists in the treatment of chronic depression, alcoholism, opiate withdrawal, schizophrenia, and anxiety.
- For Neurological Ailments: Patients of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and migraines will get relief from prescribed consumption of cannabis over a period of time.
- Cancer treatment: For Brain, Breast, Lung, Skin cancer treatments. Arrests tumor growth. Neutralizes the negative side effects of chemotherapy like nausea and vomiting. Stimulates appetite. A chemical found in marijuana stops cancer from spreading, at least in cell cultures.
- Provides relief from Joint pains / Arthritis: Many long-suffering patients will vouch for marijuana in obtaining relief from consisting joint pains after consuming the prescribed dose of cannabis . Great therapy.
- Treats Glaucoma: Major eye defects are common among the aged. Cannabis helps in arresting glaucoma, which aids the primary treatment, and the patient considers medicinal marijuana a blessing.
- Can control Muscle Spasms and Seizures: Muscle spasms and seizes are a symptom of a greater disease. Given the abruptness of these attacks and the need for long term treatment, marijuana will help in controlling these attacks.
- Stimulates Sound Sleep Patterns: Who among us doesn't like a good nights sleep? But the modern day work-life imbalance is all too prevalent in our lifestyles and increasing stress levels. Medical practitioners have prescribed cannabis to counteract these negative aspects and act as a pleasant sedative to calm the mind and the spirit.
- Neutralizes The Side effects Of Hepatitis C: Patients of Hep C usually go through a long process of treatment wherein side effects such as fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite and depression are common . Marijuana in prescribed doses is known to reduce or eliminate these side effects and helps cure the disease altogether.
- Has Incredibly Powerful Brain damage control properties: Cannabis protects the brain from concussion and trauma, and also stimulates creativity and a sense of well-being.
All told, the consumption of marijuana needs to be taken with utmost care and with the prescription ( and consultation with ) the physician/ medical fraternity. This apart, the type of delivery / ingestion and treatment must be in sync with the disease and it's diagnosis.