The use of marijuana for medical purposes has a history that goes back thousands of years– the herb has been used for all sorts of aliments such as a stress reliever in India, to subsiding child birth pains. Its uses can be traced all throughout Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
In recent decades, medical researchers have investigated marijuana’s effects on various kinds of pain. These include damaged nerves in people with HIV, diabetes and spinal cord injury; from cancer; and from multiple sclerosis.
Marijuana has also been speculated to help with nausea brought on by chemotherapy and antiretroviral therapy, as well as with severe loss of appetite as seen in people with the AIDS wasting syndrome.
Marijuana has an active compound known as THC (tetrahydro cannabinol) which act like the action of chemicals that naturally occur in the brain. The THC activates receptors that trigger physiological responses in the brain.
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.
The consequences of marijuana being considered federally as a illegal drug, limits is use to specified clinics and to patients in states like Colorado that have created laws that allow marijuana for personal medical use.
The only research regarding medical marijuana, comes from the US government issued marijuana cigarettes that come in varying strengths and are supplied to the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse).
The UC Center for Medicinal Marijuana Research in California helps aid in the clinical studies to determine the safety and effectiveness of medicinal marijuana and they have found studies related to neuropathic pain, Multiple sclerosis, and nausea.