We Still Need to Advocate for Medical Marijuana

The question as to whether marijuana can provide any medical benefits has asked and answered, yet there are still places where medical marijuana remains illegal.  While it can be purchased and used in more than 23 states we still have a long way to go in accepting that the medicinal value in marijuana far exceeds any negative effects associated with its use.  There are still lawmakers throughout the country who still believe that marijuana needs to remain illegal.  Let’s look at why that needs to change and we still need to advocate for medical marijuana.

How it is used

The use of marijuana to treat a variety of medical conditions goes back almost 4,000 years in China, from there the practice traveled to India and beyond.  Marijuana has more than 60 active ingredients that are shown to provide medicinal uses.  These compounds are called cannabinoids, our body can also produce cannabinoids naturally and they help with pain management.

The main cannabinoid you find in marijuana is THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, it can trigger the CB1 receptors found in the body.  The CB1 receptors, when activated will release hormones that help with pain and stress.  Pain and stress aren’t the only uses for medical marijuana it has been known to help with patients suffering from muscle spasms and chronic stiffness.

Cancer Patients

In North America one of the first recognized uses for medical marijuana has been to help cancer patients.  Cancer patients who have had to undergo chemotherapy are often ill from the treatment and suffer from a loss of appetite.  Using marijuana has helped them to eat more and keep food down while going through chemo.  It has been invaluable in helping patients deal with side effects.  Here is a closer look at how it works.

Side Effects

While the medical benefits of medical cannabis aren’t in dispute it isn’t without side effects.  The THC contained in marijuana is the ingredient that is responsible for the “high” feeling and it can affect your thinking and reasoning skills.  It can also lead to anxiety and feelings of paranoia in some patients.  That being said there are very few if any physical side effects to using marijuana.

Bear in mind that if you want to use medical marijuana you still may have some resistance in getting it.  While it is legal in more than 20 states it is still illegal at the federal level and you may not have access depending on where you live and how your doctor feels about prescribing it.

Using Medical Marijuana to Treat Arthritis

Almost 400 million people around the globe suffer daily from arthritis and that figure doesn’t include all of the patients in pain who are undiagnosed.  Using medical marijuana to treat arthritis isn’t a new idea but it is one that is getting a lot of mainstream coverage as more and more states legalize medical and recreational marijuana.  Let’s look at how medical marijuana can help with arthritis and whether it may be for you.

What exactly is arthritis?

Most people associate arthritis with joint pain and that’s accurate but there are more than a hundred different types of arthritis affecting each person differently.  Some may have back pain while others suffer from carpal tunnel.  Some can manage the symptoms with simple over the counter medications while others need strong opioids to function.  While arthritis is incredibly common there is still much that is unknown about this disease.  Arthritis is not only painful but some types can cause permanent damage if they are left untreated.

How Does Marijuana Help

Arthritis is essentially a disease of inflammation and the compounds in cannabis can help to reduce inflammation.  That is essentially why so many people are turning to marijuana in various forms to help manage their arthritis pain.  Now let’s look at that in a bit more detail.  We all have in our bodies an endocannabinoid system.  This system has receptors CB1 and CB2.  You can find CB1 receptors in the nervous system, glands, organs and connective tissue.  CB2 receptors can be found in the rest of the body.  We produce cannabinoids on our own that stimulate these receptors.

Two compounds found in cannabis, THC and CBD are phytocannabinoids are similar to these endocannabinoids and they can interact with these receptors.  This interaction is what provides the pain relief that arthritis sufferers are looking for.

Research into Cannabis and Arthritis

There is a research project that is going on in Canada that is trying to see if medical cannabis can not only relieve the pain of arthritis but help you to repair the joints.  The study is to decide if the anti-inflammatory properties can repair your joint or it just manages your pain.   There are other studies looking into how stimulating the endocannabinoid system uses antioxidants to repair cell damage.

It is safe to say that the effects of cannabis on arthritis and other inflammatory diseases deserve further study.  It may be an effective method in treating arthritis.