On August 18, 2008 A La Times medical reporter interviewed a group of doctors that were researching the benefits of medical marijuana. The discussion on whether or not marijuana is a drug that should be considered dangerous and put into the same category as drugs like PCP and heroin, or whether it’s a miracle herb with a treasure trove of health benefits that the government is secretly trying to suppress is all contingent upon whom you ask–or could it possibly be something that straddles the line of both fences: a plant with medical benefits as well as drawbacks that should definitely be worth exploring into.
While the political arguments continue over medical marijuana, a group of researchers continues to investigate the effects of inhaled marijuana to treat muscle spasms, nausea, and pain.
Researchers point out that all drugs come attached with risks–especially the ones located in common household medicine cabinets, like aspirin, pain relievers, and antihistamines such as Benadryl. The thing doctors try to do when it comes to drugs is to balance out the risks against the positives the medicine can do– so, why not apply the same rules to marijuana, some ask.
The truth, say researchers, is that marijuana has medical benefits that assist with those living with cancer pain, multiple sclerosis, nausea associated with chemo therapy, and chronic pain syndromes. Research has shown that the risks associated with marijuana are real but generally small. Newer medical discoveries of the medicinal benefits of marijuana have been since hindered the research team says.
Dr. Donald Abrams, chief of hematology and oncology at San Francisco General Hospital and professor of clinical medicine at UC San Francisco, says he sees cancer patients in pain, not eating or sleeping well, experiencing nausea and vomiting from treatment, and being depressed about their situation.
Dr. Abrams also is happy that he lives in California where medical marijuana is permitted by state law–this even with federal authorities who continue to raid cannabis dispensaries in California as well as scrutinize Doctors who choose to prescribe marijuana to their patients as a form of therapy.
“I can talk to patients about medicinal cannabis [and] I’m often recommending it to them for these indications,” Abrams says.
The medical use of marijuana has gone on for thousands of years. In the days before the bible, the plant was used as a medicinal tea in China, and in India it was used as a stress formula and pain reliever–All throughout Asia, the Middle East, and Africa marijuana was use for earaches, childbirth, and many other remedies.
recently, there have been studies to test the effect on how marijuana treats people with spinal injuries, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and anxiety.