There are topics in the media world that don’t cease to be approached again and again. The use of marijuana for medical purposes (as well as for recreational purposes) is one on these topics. Everywhere you turn, you will most likely encounter something to hint at how legal or illegal this plant is in various parts of the United States and of the world.
And yet, although many people have a very strong opinion on what marijuana is and why it should- or should not- be legal, the harsh truth is that most of the people have absolutely no idea at all what it can treat or even why it is allowed to treat those medical conditions.
So, why do some people use medical marijuana? What is it good for? And even more than that, is it good for anything? Read on and find out more about the answers to these questions (and more).
Marijuana: From Ancient Times to Modern Day
It is not breaking news- marijuana has been around for a very long time. Most of the people would associate the increase in the use of this plant with the 1960s, but that is not completely accurate. Although that decade was a revival in the interest people showed for the plant, marijuana had been around for much, much longer than when hippies lit their first “joint”.
The oldest mentioning of the addictive plant we now know today comes not from Native Americans as many would expect, but from the Chinese (more exactly, from the Shen Nung, a Chinese emperor, in 2727 BC). Greeks and Romans were not complete strangers to cannabis either, nor were people in the Islamic Empire.
In the Western world, marijuana was used for fiber, for clothing and for paper as well (in the form of hemp). Even more than that, cannabis seeds were used as animal food and the plant’s oils have been used as vehicle for paint too.
As you can see, marijuana is not new to us in any way you look at it. What is new though is the fact that it has been recently legalized as a recreational drug in certain American states (although it had not always been illegal and there were times when doctors themselves prescribed patients with marijuana in various forms – but they did the same thing with cocaine as well).
Medical Marijuana: What Is It Used For, Actually?
Medical marijuana is “medical” for a reason: it is meant to treat certain symptoms. Thus, it will only be available by prescription. People who need medical marijuana will receive a so-called “marijuana card” and they will be put on a list as being allowed to buy it from specialized and authorized places named “dispensaries”.
The main symptom marijuana can help with is pain in its multiple variations. Almost any disease or medical condition that causes pain can be treated with the help of the much-debated plant. Therefore, the following medical conditions could be made better with the help of marijuana:
- Severe headaches and migraines
- Pain related to long-term conditions (glaucoma, nerve pain and so on)
- Pain related to cancer
- Muscle spasms when they are caused by MS (multiple sclerosis)
- Certain symptoms caused by diseases such as HIV, chronic illnesses and nerve pain (such as weight loss or loss of appetite, for example)
- Seizures caused by various disorders
- Crohn’s disease
When it comes to administering marijuana for people who have lost their appetite or for people who have lost a lot of weight, you should also know that the Food and Drug Administration in the United States of America has also approved THC, which is basically the main ingredient in marijuana that has appetite increasing effects and that can be used to treat nausea as well.
Does It Work and, If So, How?
There is much debate on whether marijuana actually functions as a treatment or it the effects the patients notice are related simply to the placebo effect. Several studies have been made on this topic, but up to the moment no clear answer has been given. Therefore, the opinions are still split: some say it does work, while others say that it does not offer anything beneficial for the human body.
For instance, some recent studies made on a group of patients showed that those who took the larger doses of marijuana (without knowing that it is a large dose) saw a significant degree of improvement on the level of pain they were feeling (as compared to when they were not administered anything and when they were under the placebo effect).
If it Does Work, How?
Well, to be honest, this is not very clear either. But those who believe in the miraculous properties of this plant believe that it enhances certain chemicals the human body already produces. For example, the human body produces its own analgesics, but what marijuana does is emphasize the strength of the natural analgesics released in the body.
Marijuana can be taken in different ways. One of the most encountered ones involves smoking it, but there are other methods of administering this plant too. For instance, some people vaporize it and other people eat it (usually in cookies and candy). Also, there are people who take liquid marijuana extracts as well.
It is to be kept in mind the fact that marijuana is not perfect and that it can show adverse effects. Dizziness, drowsiness, euphoria and short-term memory loss are among its most well-known adverse effects. Even more than that, you should also know that there are certain medical conditions in which case the administering of marijuana (regardless of how it is administered) can be dangerous and even life-threatening under certain circumstances. Thus, people with heart diseases, people who have a history of psychosis and women who are pregnant should be forbidden from taking this plant under any form it may be.