Like many plants, the Cannabis plant has a history of medicinal use dating back thousands of
years across many cultures. The use of medical cannabis is controversial, since it is listed as a
‘Schedule 1’ controlled substance under federal U.S. drug policy. While a number of medical
organizations have requested removal of cannabis from the list, there are others that oppose it.
Regardless of legal controversies, medical marijuana is trending. The use of cannabis to treat
illnesses has progressed substantially in the last decade. Doctors across the globe are finding
success using it to treat a variety of illnesses. Most of the United States have adopted medical
cannabis laws allowing patients to access medical marijuana. However, each state has its own
unique list of approved conditions. Check this state-by-state guide to see what condition is
approved in what state. Here is a list of ailments that are among the most commonly approved
for use of medical marijuana:
- Chron’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Neurodegenerative Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
Naturally, you’d assume that smoking marijuana is bad for you, because well, cigarettes. However,
a well know expert pulmonologist and professor of medicine at UCLA, Dr. Donald Tashkin, has
been studying the effects of smoking cannabis for over 30 years. He was hired by the National
Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to prove that smoking cannabis is linked to lung cancer, but
Tashkin and his team found the exact opposite. “The THC in marijuana has well-defined antitumoral
effects that have been shown to inhibit the growth of a variety of cancers in animal models
and tissue culture systems,” says Dr. Tashkin, “thus counteracting the potentially tumorigenic
effects of the procarcinogens in marijuana smoke.” In fact, he says, marijuana smokers are less
likely to contract lung cancer than an individual who doesn’t smoke at all.
Weed vs. Opioids
According to a new study by University of Georgia researchers, approved medicinal cannabis
laws have brought a dramatic reduction in opioid use.
Dr. Ethan Russo, a board-certified Neurologist and psychopharmacology researcher, offers an
extremely convincing argument that the use of cannabis on its own, or in conjunction with
opioids can reduce opioid dosages patients require along with the severity of opioid-induced
Can weed help resolve the current opioid epidemic? Dr. Russo certainly thinks so. “THC and
CBD compounds have pain-relieving properties,” explains Russo in the interview. “When used in
conjunction with opiates they help lower the opiate dosage needed, prevent development of
tolerance to and withdrawal from opiates, can rekindle the opiate analgesic effect without additional
opiate dosage, and there’s no evidence of clinically relevant adverse drug to drug interaction
between cannabinoids and opioids.” There are also no cannabinoid receptors in the area of
the brain that regulates respiratory function, which is why it’s impossible to overdose and stop
breathing when using marijuana. This is a major difference between opiates and cannabis and
the main reason why one can kill you and the other can’t.
Treatments such as Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRI’s – the drugs on the market for PTSD –
have a number of brutal side effects, including insomnia, weight gain, impotence and suicidal
thoughts or tendencies. Marijuana has the potential to help with the trauma, but without the
harsh side effects.
Even though the majority of oncologists do not feel informed enough about medical marijuana
and its clinical utility, most discuss medical marijuana with their patients and nearly half recommend
it. This, according to a published study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
There are vast examples of people who are using pot to manage and treat debilitating and even
life-threatening illnesses. Countless testimonials of everyday folks can’t be ignored. Quotes like
“cannabis saved my life” are growing in number, and these are from people who have no interest
in recreational use marijuana. So, yes, it’s becoming more and more evident that weed could very
well be the new wonder drug.