Weed as Medicine

How Marijuana is changing the face of Healthcare? When most people think of Marijuana, the image that they get in their heads’ is that of the typical stoner; the lazy, not completely hygienic, always hungry hippie or teenager. However, this is becoming more and more an image of a bygone age. Today’s average Cannabis user may surprise you! As Marijuana becomes more and more accepted as a legitimate form of medication, coupled with the scientific advances we have experienced the last few decades, we as a society are faced with the challenge of reincorporating Marijuana as a cultural norm vs. a taboo. It becomes more and more apparent that as we continue to learn how Cannabis effects us physically, the potential for Marijuana as a medicine for a host of issues, becomes more clear.

Over the last few decades, we have learned a great deal about Cannabis as a plant, as a drug, and as a medicine, and we are constantly learning so much more each day. Despite the fact that in many places around the world Cannabis is still a taboo, it is becoming an ever more accepted form of treatment for many patients. The two main chemicals in Marijuana that medical scientists are interested in, are THC, and CBD. We have learned a great deal about both of these chemicals recently, and some of the factual findings may surprise some people. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, “Scientists are…conducting preclinical and clinical trials with marijuana and its extracts to treat symptoms of illness and other conditions, such as:

  • diseases that affect the immune system, including:
  • HIV/AIDS
  • multiple sclerosis (MS), which causes gradual loss of muscle control
  • inflammation
  • pain
  • seizures
  • substance use disorders
  • mental disorders

They then go on to say, “THC can increase appetite and reduce nausea. THC may also decrease pain, inflammation (swelling and redness), and muscle control problems. Unlike THC, CBD is a cannabinoid that 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.” We are at the point in our cultural history that we are finally (once again) accepting the fact that Marijuana has medical properties, and is not a useless, and or dangerous plant. As we learn more about the truth of Marijuana’s health benefits, and as research and testing get more and more funding, the future of Cannabis looks ever more bright.

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One of the major aspects of the advances in the realm of Cannabis medicine, is the fact that patients no longer have to smoke the herb in order to consume its beneficial chemicals. Considering the fact that the carbonization of the plant material is easily one of the more dangerous aspects of traditional Marijuana consumption, avoiding this has opened the door to a whole new group of people who otherwise would have never considered the medicinal qualities of Cannabis. From oral sprays, topicals, and capsules; to syringes, and edibles, vaporizers and more! It is amazing what can be infused with Cannabis these days. Drinks, pizzas, oils and diffusers, lotions and so much more, the medical Marijuana industry continues to innovate, and make new products to better fit patients with a variety of ailments. Different types of consumption, will lead to different effects, and the length of effect may also differ depending on what was consumed, and how. A tincture will hit faster than a traditional edible, but may not be as strong etc. Smoking is fast, and immediate but can be short lived, whereas a topical could be local and possesses no high at all! Medical Marijuana is about treating the condition, be it mental or physical, it’s not about getting “high”. Many products are pure CBD, and contain no psychoactive ingredients or chemicals, or small amounts such as THC. It’s time to change our understanding of medical Marijuana, and the benefits it can offer.

But who is Medical Marijuana for? Well, firstly we cannot stress enough to always discuss any changes to your healthcare plan or lifestyle with your professional, preferred physician. That being said, just by looking at the statistics, it may surprise you! According to the largest survey of its kind to date, consisting of around 1500 participants, hosted by HelloMD in collaboration with UC Berkley, concluded the following points:

  • Men accounted for 64% of respondents , with women counting for 36%.
  • 84% of them had some sort of college degree, with 14% having gone through postgrad
  • 61% of the participants were between the ages of 25 and 54, with 17% consisting of adults over the age of 55, of these 25-34 year olds accounted for a whole 28% of participants.
  • A whopping 45% of the participants were parents!   

Doesn’t exactly match the stereotypical idea of a Cannabis user now does it? Uses are also of course not what one would expect, treating pain, anxiety, depression, and so much more among the top reasons for usage among those polled in the same survey. Getting high, was likely not on the mind of any of the users polled, treatment of their ailments is the only focus of actual Medical Marijuana patients.

Marijuana has gone through a great deal of changes over the last few decades. These changes, be it actual change, or just the fact that we have learned more about it, seem to be the start of a revolution in terms of how Cannabis is viewed in the healthcare industry. For millennia, our species has used a Cannabis as a “gift from nature”, something grown out of the earth to help us handle our many different ailments and sufferings. It’s seems modern science might be confirming these ideas, and it will be interesting to see where the future takes us.

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