Can Cannabis really be used for medicine? Is it legal? Has it proven any effectiveness?
With the legalization of cannabis across Canada, scientists, researchers, doctors and the public have questions about it’s application in the field of medicine.
Is it legal?
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that effective as of the 17th of October 2018, weed would be legal. Canada became the second nation after Uruguay to legalize cannabis. There were various questions and concerns among the public as well as the medical community and scholars about its addictiveness, and in which conditions it could be useful.
How does it work?
Cannabis, commonly called weed or marijuana, The flowers, more commonly called buds, are covered in glandular heads. These clear heads are called “trichomes”, and are packed full of more than 100 chemical compounds, called “cannabinoids”. When ingested or inhaled, these compounds bind to specific receptors in brain and nerve cells. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the most famous of the cannabinoids. It causes the “high” after you smoke, vape or eat marijuana. Whereas, CBD (cannabidiol), another well-known cannabinoid, is “non-psychoactive”. This means that patients report very little, if any, alteration to their mental state of mind.
Patients did, however, report many benefits of CBD, such as the ability to calm anxiety, help treat chronic pain, and combat insomnia. There are countless anecdotal accounts of CBD working as a magical medicine with all hope lost. You can find several of them through a quick google search. There are some extraordinary cases. One is a story of a girl named Charlotte who’s rare form of epilepsy completely cured through the use of CBD oil.
Is it addictive?
In comparison to other forms of pain medicine, marijuana is far less addictive. In fact, it is impossible to overdose through using cannabis. You would have to smoke 20-40,000 joints, or ingest 1,500 pounds in 15 minutes to reach a lethal limit. Using cannabis instead of NSAIDs such as Aleve or Advil is a great alternative. That’s becauase marijuana does not affect the liver, kidneys, or other vital organs. It also won’t give you ulcers or GERD.
Some studies have shown and patients have reported that cannabis is a good option to help battle the pain of multiple sclerosis and general nerve pain. When taken in smaller, manageable doses, cannabis does not overly sedate patients. This allows them to regain control of their daily activities without feeling too medicated. Cannabis also proves to be a fantastic muscle relaxant, with some success in treating symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. It can assist managing nausea, weight loss, and can also be used to treat glaucoma. The medical applications of cannabis are not fully documented because it has been illegal for almost a century. Now that cannabis is finally legal across Canada, there will finally be more research. Let’s study how cannabis interacts with the body, and how to best maximize its use in a medical setting.
Who should I talk to?
Talk to your doctor about cannabis use. You can be open with your doctor about you cannabis use for two reasons: one, you have confidentiality with your doctor, and two, it is now legal to use cannabis in Canada the same way it is legal to consume alcohol. It’s also a great idea to talk to family and friends to get more information.
With the majority of the community embracing the use of marijuana as medicine, it’s high time for doctors to accept the fact that many patients are benefiting from it. There may not be any medical proofs to this fact yet, there has been enough anecdotal evidence and countless experiences to back up the truth: cannabis is medicine.