The debate rages on as to whether or not Marijuana should be made available
to physicians for treating terminally or critically ill patients.
For thousands of years, Cannabis has been used to treat people suffering
from a variety of medical conditions, including glaucoma, cancer, arthritis
and, most recently, AIDS. The argument focuses on whether or not
marijuana has true healing powers or is only a painkiller.
In patients who suffer from glaucoma, it has been shown that marijuana
slows the loss of vision. For people undergoing painful chemotherapy
treatments, the pain killing abilities of marijuana are known to reduce
the side effects from the lengthy, painful sessions. When treating
patients infected with the HIV virus or with full-blown AIDS, ¡°Mary Jane¡±
has the ability to induce the patient¡¯s appetite, preventing ¡°Wasting.¡±
Marijuana¡¯s most active chemical compound, delta-l-tetrahydrocannabinol
(THC), is the main source of alleviating pain, because of its ability to
find distinct nerve receptors in the brain that cause pain, and diminish
their effectiveness. It is THC that helps to control nausea and
alleviate many of the anxieties patients may have while receiving
treatment for cancer, as well as other forms of therapy.
There is no substantiated medical proof showing marijuana to be the final
cure for a disease or condition, but what it does do is suppress swelling,
maintain muscle mass and reduce pain in the patient, giving them more
time to recover and, if they are taking anti-biotics, allowing for a less
painful waiting period for the drugs to take effect.
In patients recovering from painful injuries or surgeries, the drugs
Xanax and Paxil are often prescribed, and can cause severe side effects
that lead to a worsening of the condition or an addiction to the drugs.
Marijuana holds many of the same remedies as these prescription drugs
and has far less side effects, yet only California, with proposition 215,
allows for physicians to recommend the use of marijuana for medical
GW Pharmaceuticals, A London based company, led by Dr. Daniel Deforge,
began running tests in Canada a few years ago, in which they studied
patients with multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries and other
conditions marked by chronic pain. In 2001, the Canadian government
began allowing physicians to prescribe marijuana to their patients.
A recent law also allowed Canadian citizens to order prescription
Marijuana over the Internet.
In Israel, studies are currently under way to examine the effects that
marijuana has on reducing cerebral swelling and pressure.
Critics argue that marijuana has no legitimate healing powers, and is
actually shutting down the receptors in the brain that cause pain,
providing only a momentary alleviation of pain that causes patients to
stay ¡°high¡± and in fact, keep getting higher to maintain a feeling of
If used in this way, as with any substance, marijuana can become
addicting, and therefore extremely harmful to your health. There are
also concerns that marijuana can cause lung cancer and mental
retardation. Perhaps marijuana activists should enlist the services
of the lawyers and lobbyists that represent Phillip Morris on the
While many powerful prescription narcotics cause stomach bleeding and
disorientation, cannabis is praised in medical circles for being
non-toxic, safe, and easy for the patient to take. If one is concerned
about lung cancer, marijuana can be made into tea, baked or used as
a spice to cook with, although smoking is said to be the most effective
form of administering the herb.
The United States is quickly becoming a minority on their negative
views on medical marijuana.
A recent study performed by The Australia New Zealand Food Authority
confirmed ¡°Hempseed contains all amino acids, as well as a balance of
essential fatty acids valuable in reducing blood cholesterol and
regulating blood sugar levels, making it useful for diabetics.¡±
In order for marijuana to become a legally viable method of treatment,
it must first be reclassified into the medicinal category rather than
the ¡°Lethal Drug¡± classification it received in1956, when the drug was
incorporated into Narcotics Act, lumping marijuana in with Heroin,
Cocaine and LSD.
Under current Federal laws, medical patients and their designated primary
caregivers may legally possess and cultivate, but not distribute or sell