When we come across a very comprehensive article about medical marijuana, we share. This article runs 6 pages, and is a very strong look at “how it works” on science.com. As always, there is a thumbnail summary below if you would prefer and time is tight. The article gets into both scientific and practical detail about the state of medical cannabis in the United States. Here it is:
After a brief introduction and history of medical pot in the United States, they give a strong overview of what science is available about how cannabinoids affect the brain. Researchers understand that the body already produces endocannabinoids, an organically similar substance. However, the naturally produced substance is often short lived. Using the herbal version of marijuana allows patients to add additional relief, and besides the pain relief, there is also significant anecdotal evidence that cannabis also increases appetite and reduces nausea.
After a well researched and cited medical explanation, the article moves on to talk about an issue that we are very interested in here; the relative side effects of cannabis vs. much stronger and dangerous opiates in the relief of pain. There are a wide variety of ways to categorize pain. The most basic is acute vs. chronic pain. There is a useful article on WebMD located here that can help you understand a little better: http://www.webmd.com/pain-
The article on Science.com breaks it down further and talks about new, but limited, studies that combine different types of pain relief for sufferers from all sorts of pain. Opiates are known to be very powerful pain relievers, but as we have cited earlier in this website, the NIH and FDA recognize that as many as 25% of users end up with addition issues. While research about combining opiates and cannabinoids is obviously in its infancy, doctors are beginning to see if they can reduce addiction issues and improve pain management by combining the two.
They continue the “How It Works” discussion by talking about the growth and limits in existing laws state by state, the interrelation between State and Federal Law, and the challenges that doctors and patients face when considering medical marijuana. Besides the well footnoted research cited, they make a point that we don’t see made often enough; marijuana is one of the most used medicines in the world. It has been rigorously researched for its potential negative effects. However, well over half of Americans have used it, and while it helps some and disorients others, the safety is almost without question if you don’t drive a car and just let it work. We are just now beginning to understand the benefits, the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming.
If you have the 35-45 minutes to read the whole article, it will be worth your time. I