Medical Marjuana

I debated with myself whether to post this or not but I decided to put it up for discussion.  Tell me what you think.
 
Medical marijuana use has a history stretching back thousands of years. In prebiblical times, the plant was used as medicinal tea in China, a stress antidote in India and a pain- reliever for earaches, childbirth and more throughout Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

In recent decades, medical researchers have investigated marijuana’s effects on various kinds of pain — from damaged nerves in people with HIV, diabetes and spinal cord injury; from cancer; and from multiple sclerosis. Marijuana has also been hypothesized to help with nausea induced by chemotherapy and antiretroviral therapy, and with severe loss of appetite as seen in people with the AIDS wasting syndrome.

Medical marijuana use has a history stretching back thousands of years. In prebiblical times, the plant was used as medicinal tea in China, a stress antidote in India and a pain- reliever for earaches, childbirth and more throughout Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

In recent decades, medical researchers have investigated marijuana’s effects on various kinds of pain — from damaged nerves in people with HIV, diabetes and spinal cord injury; from cancer; and from multiple sclerosis. Marijuana has also been hypothesized to help with nausea induced by chemotherapy and antiretroviral therapy, and with severe loss of appetite as seen in people with the AIDS wasting syndrome.

A legal prescription form of THC (Marinol) exists, yet researchers say it’s far from a perfect drug. Taken orally, its absorption is highly variable and unpredictable and often delayed, says Dr. Igor Grant, a UC San Diego psychiatrist who directs the university’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. "Smoking is a very efficient way to deliver THC," he says.

As a result of its federally illegal status, medicinal use of marijuana is restricted to carefully vetted clinical research studies or to patients in states such as California that have passed laws to allow for personal medical use. Research on the medicinal use of marijuana relies on government-issued marijuana cigarettes, which come in different strengths and are supplied by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The UC Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research in San Diego helps coordinate clinical studies to investigate the safety and effectiveness of marijuana. Here’s what they’ve found.

Neuropathic pain

Recent research suggests that marijuana can assuage this chronic-pain syndrome in which burning sensations occur and simple touch can feel like hurt. It is unaffected by aspirin-like drugs and fairly resistant to stronger analgesics such as opiates.

In a 2007 study on neuropathic pain related to HIV infection, 50 patients smoked marijuana cigarettes three times a day or marijuana cigarettes from which active ingredients had been extracted. Subjects then rated their pain on a scale ranging from "no pain" to "worst pain imaginable." The results, published in the journal Neurology, showed a 34% reduction in ratings of pain in the marijuana group compared with 17% in the placebo group over five days of treatment.

Another study in 44 patients reported in June in the Journal of Pain found that marijuana alleviated neuropathic pain arising from a variety of conditions, including spinal-cord injury and diabetes. Participants smoked marijuana on a set schedule — first two puffs, then three puffs an hour later, then four puffs an hour after that — from a single cigarette containing either 0%, 3.5%, or 7% THC. Average pain ratings before smoking were 55 on a 100-point scale and decreased by 46% in both treatment groups and by 27% in the placebo group one hour after the last puff.

Analgesic drugs are often tested against experimentally induced pain. Such studies have been conducted for marijuana too. In one 2007 report in the journal Anesthesiology, 15 healthy volunteers received skin injections with capsaicin — the chemical behind that fiery spice in chile peppers — and then smoked different-strength marijuana cigarettes. The medium dose, with a 4% THC concentration, lessened the burning pain.

These three pain studies all concluded that smoked marijuana can bring relief to sufferers of neuropathic pain comparable to other analgesic drugs. It is not a cure, Grant says: "It’s like other pain medicines, you have to keep taking it."

Study subjects did feel high, an effect that varied among individuals. Marijuana also affected thinking, shown as problems with tasks of memory and complicated reasoning after the strongest marijuana cigarettes were used. Potentially problematic, these effects were tolerated by subjects — no one opted out of the study because they couldn’t think straight.

Grant says it’s important to have a choice of treatments because not everyone responds to or can tolerate the available drugs. Antidepressants are used for neuropathic pain but cause dry mouth, constipation and urinary problems, and must be avoided by people with conditions such as glaucoma. Others can’t take aspirin-like drugs. "Having an alternative compound is always good," Grant says.

Multiple sclerosis

Patients with multiple sclerosis suffer muscle spasms, pain and tremor. Anecdotal reports suggest that marijuana may be helpful, but controlled studies are few. One, presented at an April meeting, had 51 multiple sclerosis patients smoke 0% or 4% THC marijuana cigarettes daily for three days. Intensity of spasms was reduced by 32% and pain ratings by 50% after smoking marijuana, compared with 2% and 22% reductions after placebo cigarettes. Five subjects withdrew, citing side effects: feeling too high, dizzy or fatigued.

Other studies in patients with multiple sclerosis used a cannabis extract that can be taken orally. In a 2007 European Journal of Neurology study, nearly half of 184 patients experienced at least 30% improvement in muscle spasms.

But a 2004 Neurology paper showed no reduction in objective measures of arm tremor with cannabis extract, although five subjects out of 13 reported feeling improvement. This might have resulted from mood-altering effects of the drug or from some aspect of tremor not measured.

Nausea

A 2008 review published in the European Journal of Cancer Care analyzed 30 clinical studies using cannabinoid drugs synthesized in the lab and concluded that they were better than standard antinausea drugs in alleviating the nausea and vomiting that accompanies chemotherapy. One such drug is Marinol, a THC preparation approved by the Food and Drug Administration for precisely this purpose.

Survey studies suggest that some people with HIV smoke marijuana to counteract nausea caused by antiretroviral therapy. Researchers at the UC Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research have tried to study the effect of smoked marijuana on nausea and vomiting in patients undergoing chemotherapy but have struggled to enroll enough subjects, Grant says.

Bruce Mirken, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project — a group that lobbies for the decriminalization of marijuana — says he is all for research on the chemical components in marijuana with the goal of making more-purified and perhaps more-targeted drugs that do not deliver a "high," but does not see "criminalizing use of that plant by people who are ill when you are making its main psychoactive ingredient legal in the form of a very expensive pill."

Tom Riley, a spokesman for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, says marijuana advocates are seeking a free pass. "They want to be exempted from the regular [drug] approval process," he says.

 
For the record??  I say legalize it and tax the Hell out of it!!  Goodbye Federal deficit!!  It is NOT addictive, there are NO side effects and NO cravings!  Take this from an Old Hippie!
 
Looking forward to your opinions. 
 
Side note:  Medical marijuana is legal in California and a few other States but not Federally, so doctors who prescribe it are losing their licenses and places that distribute it are being raided weekly.
 
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 BTW??  www.lifelock.com!!!  DO IT!!  It works!!
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I realized today that almost all of my music has been by male performers!  Geez!!  So this week?  ALL female!!  This one, by Sugarland, is for all of my Spaces woman friends who work so hard everyday….  whether at home as a housewife, at an office or in your home office!!  I salute you ALL!!
 
GO Girls!!  You are the BEST!!!!
 
 
 
 
 

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16 Responses to Medical Marjuana

  1. klaus says:

    Most people who know me know I am pretty far to the "right"on most issues. This issue,however, I think the position of the "right" is pretty..well, crazy. Although personally I probably would not choose to use this, I know many people who do. I see it as no different than alcohol, and likely less unhealthy than tobacco. I am with you..legalize it, and figure out a way to tax it. The money spent by law enforcement in raids, etc..would be better spent on more serious drugs  that actually DO harm you.It is one of the policies of your country that I find confusing. Good post.

  2. _ says:

    Go Me! Since I’m one of those full-time moms. Thanks for listing us first! Now down to business…
     
    Didn’t marijuana used to be legal in the US? Of course, Coca-cola used to be made with cocaine (as in COCA-cola).
     
    Having watched my grandmother and mother suffer through chemotherapy, I wanted something that could’ve helped their pain. But neither one would have dared used marijuana even if it was legal. Now as someone with chronic back pain (which refers down my leg to my foot), I use schedule-C grade pain killers. They make me sleepy, tired, stop up the plumbing, and make it dangerous to use heavy machinery. Also, it’s addictive and the dosage gets upped to keep the pain at bay. Maybe I just need to find a crazy neighbor who bakes brownies. LOL

  3. Beth says:

    I think you have made some very good points for legalization.

  4. DANA says:

    My mom did try this when she was dying of lung cancer. It didn’t do a thing for her except give her an appetite for food she was unable to digest. With the already ‘legal’ drugs, the tobacco, the alcohol, don’t we have enough ‘legal’ stuff out there allowing people to check out and justify their drug of choice to with whatever ailment they have? I work in a state office that determines people’s eligibility for medicaid, food stamps, day care… etc and also have been a foster parent for 20 some years and adopted 2 children who were wards of the state. There’s already enough stuff out there to keep people from working, taking care of their kids, being responsible, I don’t think another wrong makes anything right. China also for many years used opium to alleviate pain and cure certain things, doesn’t make it ok to use it now.
    Just my opinion from someone who picks up the pieces for those that use.
    But hey, if you’re all grown up, not responsible for anyone but yourself, pay your bills, do what floats your boat, your business cetainly!

  5. nodope says:

    Hey Bob,
     
    It’s been a while my friend and I’m glad you’re doing well.Hold on to something…I actually POSTED today. I know, right?
     
    Hey I quit weed long ago (that and a few other "helpers") but I’m right there with you. I can’t think of a healthier drug than pot. Its just a political stygma at this point that keeps it illegal because most of the public already knows the truth.
     
    Besides, what would all those cops do if they made it legal? Hell, they might actually have to get a job!
     
    Good blog man

  6. EbonyWyvernDragon says:

    My take: if it is used AS PRESCRIBED – as any other prescription medication – for the purpose for which it was prescribed, AND it is prescribed by a person licensed to do so (Nurse Practicioner, Doctor, Physicians Assistant, etc),  then, what, exactly, is the problem?I DO, however, ABSOLUTELY and POSITIVELY have an issue with recreational abuse of ANY chemical.  All that said, I believe that there is a reason for it STILL being illegal which is being kept from general knowledge, and more than likely, that reason has a direct relation to dollars and cents in someones pocket.  ConspiracyTheoryDragon

  7. Julie says:

    Ok, my take on the medicinal marijuana issue is that there are far worse drugs available through a prescription than THC. Opiates and opiate derivatives and mixtures Class II and Class III drugs (Narcotics) for an example. Those are highly addictive pain relief medications. Very effective for pain relief but with the added addiction possiblity make these drugs quite dangerous. Medical marijuana may or may not be addictive but any addictive properties are usually not life threatening. The downside to medicinal marijuana would be the depression factor and increased heart rate in users. Alcohol is much more dangerous and addictive. Caffiene and nicotine are also highly addictive drugs but readily available without a prescription. In a nutshell…I say legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. If it helps some people from suffering…why not?!
     
     

  8. Jane says:

    Of course we are… the best.
    Seems to me that marijuana causes fewer health problems than alcohol.  I don’t know why it isn’t handled similarly.  I know that if they do legalize it, I’m buying stock in Keebler and FritoLay.
    :o)

  9. MizAngie says:

    I agree with the part about legalizing it and then taxing the hell out of it. I disagree that it’s not addictive. It may not be addictive like crack or meth but I’ve had many friends who couldn’t stay away from it. I think it should be used in prisons to mellow out the meanies.  If alcohol and nicotine are legal, why not pot? Anything that’s mind-altering or mood-altering is going to be misused by SOMEbody – like oxycontin, vicodin, etc. – yet those are still available by prescription. I believe that if it’s a legitimate source of pain relief then it should be available to people who need it. And if that’s the case, then, um, I feel a pain…

  10. CAROL says:

    HAVe heard of this lifelock thing I will check it out.. as for the other topic.. I am going to take a no comment stand this time!  : )

  11. Isabelle says:

    Ok…..I am not a hippie….sniff sniff NOT sorry for that!;OP
     
    I have to admit that I will be a joy-killer here as i do not appreciate the use of drugs besides medical needs.
     
    I understand that drugs can be used to relieve pain but not to evade problem for they will still be there once the smoke is gone.
     
    Nature is a pharmacy of on it’s own…but nature also is balance and any thing that goes in excess is prone to problems.
     
    Now does the legalization not a way to make more money? Taxes….pffffffffffffffff……anybody can evade these!
     
    Only my point of view here!
     
    Take care,
    Isa

  12. Shelly says:

    My friend with cancer said it saved his life.   His doctor recomended it "off record" of course because the guy lost 49 lbs in 3 months.  And he was skinny to begin with.  This helped him to eat, rest and feel better.  He has since stopped using it but he said he would stand on a roof top and tell the world this should be legal for others like him. 
    Great blog!  

  13. Sue says:

    I think you have the right idea about it.  However there should be an age limit (like alcohol) of at least 21 and it should be handled like alcohol when it comes to driving and such.  Not appropriate at all for anyone under 21 (their brain is still developing) but I think doctors should still be able to prescribe it (like here in CA) without reprocussions.  I don’t use it, but then, I don’t drink either (was married to an alcoholic for 12 years) by choice.  The revenue it could provide would be substantial if taxed like tobacco and booze and our jails would be cleared out some from users and sellers.

  14. Rosebay says:

    I should have known you were a hippie from way back, LOL. A person can smoke and get in a car and drive and you never see someone high start a bar fight. And the studies show it does have medicinal properties. So I agree, make it legal, collect the taxes. When my ex was in the hospital for an extended stay (two months) his doctor "off the record" sggested it. It kept him calm and mellow. Made the nurses happy too. He had a private room (all rooms were private there) so no one else to complain. Good of you to be brave enough to blog something controversial. Thanks

  15. KatSoup says:

    Don’t bogart that joint, my friend.  Pass it over to me 🙂
     
    puff puff give.
     
    I think legalization is the only way!
     
    &
     
    Don’t you have any Loretta Lynn in that library?
     

  16. Kat says:

    Its like alcohol–people can abuse it, become addicted to it–but used occassionally I don’t see anything wrong with it that we should be locking people up for smoking it.
     
    However, I have a (ex) family member that uses it and she’s crazy.
     
    Have you seen the pictures of pot brain? There are holes where the grey matter should be. So yes, abused–its not a "happy live let live" drug.
     
    Thanks for the female kudos and song!! 😀
     
    *hug-a-roos*

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