Should we be treating marijuana like other prescription medications?

Published Mar 9, 2019 11:35 a.m. ET

 Though marijuana has been inside of homes and on the streets for ages, now that it is legal many are beginning to question whether we should be treating the drug the same way we do other prescription medications. This means a few things, including changing current recommendations as well as altering societies point of view on the benefits of using medication with THC or CBD as the main active ingredient.

Marijuana’s positive health effects

There are at least two main components that have been established as beneficial for various health issues. Both THC and CBD have their effects, risks, and benefits. Marijuana’s positive health effects go above and beyond what the average person thinks of when they think of cannabis being used as a medication.

CBD

The chemical CBD is used as a cannabis medication and is not used for recreational purposes because it will not get the user high. CBD’s main benefits are produced due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It is useful for those who suffer from an illness that is caused or agitated but an inflamed area of the body. It has also proven beneficial for some who suffer from mental health conditions. CBD can be therapeutic for those who have been diagnosed with:

  • Epilepsy
  • Alzheimer's
  • Dementia
  • Parkinson’s
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Pain and Chronic Pain Caused By Inflammation

THC

THC is the main psychoactive ingredient that is produced by marijuana and is most often used as cannabis medication due to its effectiveness for relieving pain of various sorts promptly. THC is used both medicinally and recreationally. What most people don’t know is that THC can do more than get you high and has proven beneficial as a treatment either alone or in addition to other prescribed medications for the following ailments.

  • Chronic Pain
  • Nausea
  • Nerve Damage
  • Pain From Surgery
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Cancer
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Epilepsy

Marijuana research

Cannabis has had a long history of being an illegal substance since it was first outlawed in 1920. In early August of 2016, the Canadian government made several adjustments to the controlled substances act which allowed for Canadians access to marijuana for medical use with a license. Since then they have remained limited in both information and fair access to marijuana. So far, we have seen several studies conducted that substantiate cannabis, and it’s potential to be used as a medication. All of which showed results that seemed to solidify what so many already believed. That cannabis medication is effective for a variety of different issues.

Cannimed clinical trials

Perhaps one of the most substantial marijuana research studies was conducted by Cannimed. Their study showed that just one ingestion of 25mg of the chemical THC taken three times a day for a periodthat extended over five whole days showed a significant reduction in pain for the subjects involved. It also improved their overall sleep quality, reduced anxiety, and came with little to no adverse side effects when compared to other traditional medication they would otherwise be prescribed.

Study found here:

https://www.cannimed.ca/pages/research

Marijuana and medicine

This study took place in 1999 and was conducted to assess the effects of THC when it was administered intravenously. Their research focused on surgical patients, patients with spine injuries, patients with chronic pain, and those who suffered from insomnia. Results showed that THC was incredibly beneficial when it was administered alongside traditional prescription medications but was insufficient on its own in all control groups aside from insomnia sufferers. All patients included in this study, to begin with, were on high doses of opiates. By the end of the study, many were able to dramatically decrease their daily intake of opioids.

Study found here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK224384/#nnn00054

There is undoubtedly much more marijuana research that needs to be done to assess precisely how effective cannabis and more specifically, THC can be for various ailments. For now, there is sufficient evidence to safely assume that medication with THC can and should be a viable option that is offered to everyone and anyone who could benefit. This information should be provided to patients through a trusted healthcare provider such as you would find in any walk-in clinic and includes pain management specialists and family doctors. What we aren’t sure of is what doses would be most beneficial to any one individual. Marijuana and medication with THC hold an important place in the future of medicine that could potentially help to solve or at least diminish our current opioid crisis.

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