In our modern world, we have a lot that we have to deal with. From stress caused by work, to bodily injuries or pains; to the efforts of just daily living! Some of us of course, have it much harder than others, but we all have our burdens to bare.
For the entire history of our species, it has been a main prerogative of ours to ease the suffering and pain of those around us. This has taken various forms over the generations, from mashed up tree bark chewed up and spit into a wound, to advanced MRI scanning technology and laparoscopic surgeries.
The way in which we treat our various ailments has gone through some drastic changes over the years, and even today we are still trying to figure out the best ways to accomplish these goals. Unfortunately, things are never as easy as they seem, or should be and the same can definitely be said for the world of medical treatment. While we are always striving to improve the ways in which we care for others, there seems to always be ways in which our efforts are stifled or interrupted.
Today, many of our conditions and problems are treated by what we know as “western medicine,” and while this is probably the most successful regime of medical practice in our history, it is not flawless or even near complete. Often times, our modern medical marvels can either fail, or need supplemental support from outside sources.
One such outside source that is often used is cannabis; which can have some surprisingly positive effects on many of the issues we face today. From solving the opioid crisis, to curing cancer, and just relaxing stress, marijuana has shown a great amount of promise in recent studies.
There are a lot of problems that we face in today’s modern world that our ancestors simply did not have to, and we need more modern day solutions. The way we are going is a downward spiral into darker, and darker places. Too many people suffer from various ailments, and too often their treatments can in fact make their situations worse, or live them with no treatment at all. That is where cannabis comes in, but what role does this play in the future of medicine? Does cannabis have a legitimate role in the world of medicine? Well, we are here to explore those options.
Problems with our Medical World:
Today, we seem to have a solution to everything no matter how drastic the situation must seem.
No matter what, we as a species seem to always be able to come out the other end alive, and triumphant. Countless challenges have we overcome, many of which have been created by ourselves, which we only typically realizer after the fact.
If you examine the landscape of our general modern medical system, and how people are treated for various ailments, one thing becomes very, very clear and it’s almost a universal problem where western medicine is practiced.
There seems to be a drug for everything, every problem we have can be fixed by taking a pill. For most of us however, things are not that simple. For the most part, the typical doctor visit goes something like this.
- You have your health issue.
- You visit the Doctor, and explain the symptoms and issues that you may be having.
- Chances are the doctor will then prescribe you some sort of medication that will “take care of your issue” if you take it for a certain period of time, sometimes the rest of your life!
- You will then go home, and take the medication hoping for the best, and if that doesn’t work you will then be prescribed something else.
Sound familiar? This is an all too familiar case, an endless cycle of sickness, and medications, etc., etc. Now that you are home, these medications have a list of side effects so long that you are given a packet of information on it. There are so many things to be cautious of, and things to watch for.
Some of these prescriptions can be very dangerous, and possess side effects from nausea to fatigue, and some just plain say, “death” is a possibility! It seems that for most medical needs, you are slapped with a prescription, and sent on your way. “Big Pharma” has much control over the way the current medical system works, putting profits before patients, and doing what they can to keep their business running in the most profitable ways. We see this too often, time and time again.
The Opioid Epidemic and Other Issues:
If you have a medical condition, you are given a slew of medications; but do they really help?
Recent studies might show the exact opposite, however. “If you have been following the current mess that’s USA’s healthcare and politics, one item that keeps coming up is the opioid overdose epidemic.
The reason why this is so serious is that many of these people dying of overdose are not your stereotypical drug users that the society chooses to ignore, a large portion of these are average people who were prescribed pain medicines containing opioids and then became addicted to it.”
A recent study by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, shows that of the 20.5 million Americans 12 or older that had a substance use disorder in 2015, 2 million had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers.
Pain relievers are the leading cause of overdose related issues. But that is not all, “Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US, with 52,404 lethal drug overdoses in 2015. According to NY Times, the number of deaths exceeded 60,000 by the end of 2016. That’s more than the deaths caused by car crashes and HIV epidemic in their peak years!!”(3) As anyone who is familiar with the situation know, this is just a growing problem.
The Opioid Epidemic, among other serious problems plaguing our society perpetuated by big Pharma, is only going to get worse unless something is done, and soon.
The world of modern medicine is a tricky one, and somethings work a-lot better for some individuals while others simply do not. Of course, you should never try anything new without consulting your medical professionals first; but it might not be the worst thing for you to look into other options than those first presented to you. Cannabis might present those options, and the recent research from numerous well known institutions supports these ideas, but what can cannabis actually do for these epidemics? Is there hope? Let’s explore.
Cannabis as a Medicine:
For thousands of years, our species has used various herbs and other natural substances to supplement, and support our health. Cannabis, has always been one of these herbs despite what many people in the pharmaceutical industry would like you to believe.
Currently, in the United States, and in other major countries around the world, marijuana is categorized as the harshest of drugs, with no medicinal value what so ever; this status prohibits research and development, as well as of course usage by patients.
Patients have been using cannabis for a verity of reasons for millennia, and only recently are we beginning to support these reasons for usage with legitimate, empirical evidence. “When you trace back the use of cannabis as a medicine, you’ll see that even early Chinese doctors used it for medical reasons. They reduced the plant powder and mixed it with wine in order to use it as an anesthetic before surgery.
Egyptians also used the cannabis plant to treat some diseases, such as hemorrhoids. Indians were treating insomnia, pain, and headaches with cannabis, so it’s easy to see that this amazing plant has shared an important place in human medicine for thousands of years.
Unfortunately, defamation and misinformation led us to under-appreciate this plant. Also, we started to believe that cannabis is a threat to our children as any other dangerous drug, such as alcohol or tobacco.” Cannabis has been used for millennia to treat an assortment of ailments, but most notably the following ailments have had the most research put into them:
- Pain Relief: Cannabis has long been used as a method for pain management, and is used by many patients instead of narcotic pain relievers. A recent study from HelloMD showed that 97% of these surveyed were able to lower their opioid usage by using cannabis. 81% said that they thought cannabis was more effective for pain management in general.
- PTSD: One of the most common uses, effects of memory, emotions, and reaming state can have large positive effects for users.
- Nausea: Cannabis has been shown to greatly reduce the effects of nausea, which is great for those going through chemo therapy, etc.
- Stimulating Appetite: Again, harkening to benefits more aimed at cancer patients, cannabis is also known to stimulate appetite which is great for those suffering from loss of appetite thanks to chemo therapy, etc.
- Asthma: Despite what many may think, and expect, cannabis use can actually help promote healthy lung function, thus could help relieve those suffering from asthma.
- Glaucoma: One of the most common usages of cannabis since the 1970s’ studies have shown that cannabis use can help alleviate pain behind the eyes.
- Sleep Aide: Probably one of the oldest useless for cannabis; the deep relaxing effects can help even the most stubborn insomniacs sleep.
- Cancer: Now this one is interesting, preclinical studies have shown that cannabinoids actually have the ability to kill cancer cells. Yes, you read that correctly. Studies have shown that cannabis has the ability to prevent, and even help treat cancer; which of course could be world changing if embraced.
- Alzheimer’s: From what we know about this brain killing disease at the moment, it seems that cannabis can help slow down, and even prevent some of the effects we can see in those suffering.
- Fibromyalgia: As with other neuropathic pain disorders, fibromyalgia can be treated with cannabis to relieve many of the serious pain symptoms.
Various studies, research projects, pre-clinical trials, as well as patient experiences all support the ideas and claims that the cannabis can help the above ailments. Unfortunately, however, until cannabis is allowed to be researched, the studies we will have will be limited, and we will have to refer to what we have known for generations.
Cannabis vs. Big Pharma:
The biggest opponent to the expansion of the cannabis industry is the pharmaceutical industry.
So why is this? Well, of course this will depend on who you ask; but by the patterns that one can see, it would be easy to discern that it is the potential of cannabis that alerts the pharmaceutical companies. If cannabis has the potential that studies have shown; it could be a real problem for those within the pharmaceutical industry.
Cannabis has many benefits over typical prescription drugs (and some drawbacks as well, but we will go over that later), many of these benefits involve the lack of negative side effects.
Studies have shown that cannabis can provide many of the same benefits that prescription medications do, without the negative side effects that are typically associated with it. “A recent study concluded that when used in combination with opioid pain medications, cannabis can lower opioid side effects, cravings, and withdrawal severity, as well as enhance the analgesic effects of opioids, thereby allowing for lower doses and less risk of overdose.
A previous study reported that their subjects’ pain “was significantly decreased after the addition of vaporized cannabis” and suggested that cannabis treatment “may allow for opioid treatment at lower doses with fewer [patient] side effects.” The authors concluded that their results “demonstrate that inhaled cannabis safely augments the analgesic effects of opioids”.
Cannabis can help us treat many of the things that we go to the doctor for, as we have been for millennia. It has only been recently that big businesses have been trying to force their influence the medical landscape. It is the efforts of these big, and wealthy companies to keep cannabis illegal, and to keep the people in the dark about its benefits in order to continue on their money-making war path. Cannabis has a strong way forward when it comes to the medical world, but only if it has the proper support and backing from the community.
Dangers and Drawbacks of Cannabis:
Of course, nothing in this world is perfect; and the same can surely be said for anything that we do or are involved in. There are many fears that people have; many stemmed from the propaganda perpetuated during the 1930s. Marijuana has a lot to offer the modern world of medicine; but it is of course not as simple as that.
The most dangerous aspect of cannabis however, does not actually come from the plant itself, but the laws surrounding it. Even though cannabis is quickly becoming more and more popular and accepted for its medicinal properties, there are still many places out there where use of the herb can land you in prison, sometimes for the rest of your life. That being said, where it is legal, and consumption is easy; there are no recorded cases of cannabis overdose, or other similar issues; whereas of course the same cannot be said for prescription medications.
Cannabis is a much safer option for many individuals, and when it is accessible can be an extremely viable option instead of the dozens of pills they could be on otherwise for the same exact condition.
One of the other major concerns when it comes to cannabis being used as a medication; is the fact there has not been much research done on the topic, there is no dosing information, or set ways in which cannabis can react with individuals. The research has just not been done, and even though this is because of it being illegal, and can force it to remain illegal since there is no evidence to show otherwise. A vicious cycle indeed. As the opioid epidemic rages on, it seems that cannabis might be a light in the darkness.
The Future of Medical Cannabis:
There are few substances to go through such drastic changes socially and politically as cannabis. As recently as eighty years ago cannabis was sold by the corner drug store as a remedy for a host of ailments; just as it had been for the rest of the history of our species.
However, then came the 1930s, and everything changed. Soon cannabis was black listed, and everything we knew about it was thrown away and forgotten, marijuana was now the ‘devil’s lettuce” and only the most despicable of individuals partook in its effects. From then on, there have been countless counter movements to place marijuana back in the hands of the people, of those who needed it and benefited from it but to no avail; until recently.
Over the last few decades cannabis has taken some major steps around the world, becoming completely legalized in some countries such as Canada and a few others. As legalization continues, so will research; and as we learn more there is little doubt that the claims of cannabis patients for decades will be proven true with empirical evidence, and the pharmaceutical companies will have a real problem on their hands.
Contributor: MMJ Canada:
MMJ Canada has provided cannabis and cannabis alternatives to eligible patients in a safe, professional, and upscale environment for over four years. Offering free education from our friendly consultants, as well as complimentary consultations with medical professionals who have dedicated their time to educating patients on what will work best.
Note: For informational purposes only. Opinions, observations and conclusions are the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the publisher.