In 2013, Canada enacted the historic Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), becoming the first country in the world to support the development of a large-scale, commercial medical cannabis industry.
These groundbreaking regulations established the framework to provide patients and physicians access to pure and predictable medicine, and advance scientific understanding of medical cannabis through research and development.
At one time, there was government funding for research of the plant, but research was directed to finding what evils the use of marijuana produce. What researchers began to find is that the use of the plant can safely relieve pain, reduce stress, and even reduce or eliminate certain side affects caused by many serious medical conditions including Epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease, and a raft of other debilitating ailments. There have also been reported cases of melanoma being sent into remission with an ointment created from a certain strain of marijuana leaf and coconut oil.
Because of the negative connotations associated with marijuana, even the meaning of the Tuscarora peoples’ name was altered due to political correctness. Now known in schoolbooks as “The People of the Ribbon Shirt,” is in reality, the “People of the Hemp.” It has been used as medicine since at least 6,000 years ago in China and is also found among several other Asian, Central and South American peoples.
But the old guard has created a wall that is hard to break through and since the early 1970s, nearly all government funding for studies suddenly stopped and lay dormant. But in a few independent labs around the world, the research continued. When the results began to show significant mental and medical benefit under certain situations, and with mounting public pressure, the tap to research money slowly began to open.
Today, the study into the molecular structure and beneficial advantages of the maligned cannibus leaf is at full throttle and the discoveries are truly astonishing. In fact, the Arthritis Society of Canada has begun serious study into the effect of marijuana on chronic pain. It is being tried in Australia and elsewhere to treat the nausea of chemotherapy. It has been found that marijuana can be used to treat and prevent the eye disease glaucoma. According to a study published in Journal of the American Medical Association in January 2012, marijuana does not impair lung function and can even increase lung capacity. It may help prevent some cancers from spreading, according to researchers at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco reported in 2007.
CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, once an opponent of legalization of medical marijuana who wrote, “Why I would vote no to pot,” in 2009, has publicly reversed his opinion after more research.
Gupta recently recanted, saying, “we have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.”
He lists his reasons for his about face on the issue.
Gupta wrote: “Not because of sound science, but because of its absence, marijuana was classified as a schedule 1 substance” at the urging of Assistant Secretary of Health, Roger Egeberg in 1970.
Gupta also notes that marijuana doesn’t have a “high potential for abuse” and it doesn’t lead people to use other drugs. Although it may be habit forming, it is not addictive, in that sense of the word.
In some medical cases, he found that marijuana is “the only thing that works.” Gupta met with one woman in Colorado who used marijuana to cut the number of seizures she had from 300-per-week to two or three per month.
Someone dies from a prescription drug overdose every 19 minutes in the United States, but Gupta could not find a single person who died from a marijuana overdose, says Business Insider Science Magazine.
According to that article, 76 per cent of physicians surveyed would prescribe marijuana to ease the pain of women suffering from breast cancer. “I have seen the withdrawal from alcohol, and it can be life threatening,” Gupta said. “Not so with marijuana.”
In general, Gupta admits he listened too closely to medical marijuana opponents and skeptics, and he “didn’t look hard enough, until now. I didn’t look far enough. I didn’t review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis.”
But there was also neurological and physiological danger for some, and especially youth while brains are still developing. Given the potentially severe nature of these risks, some physicians do not prescribe dried marijuana to patients under the age of 25 unless all other conventional therapeutic options have been attempted and have failed to alleviate the patient’s symptoms.
Being approved for a medical marijuana card is not hard to do right now as the country awaits Trudeau legislation that would bring marijuana out of the shadows.
In 2010, researchers at Harvard Medical School have suggested that marijuana may reduce anxiety, which would improve the smoker’s mood and act as a sedative in low doses.
Marijuana may even be able to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and help with pain control for MS patients.
People with multiple sclerosis have long said that smoking marijuana helps ease their painful muscle cramping, according to Reuters.
A recent study in Israel showed that medical cannibus use significantly reduced Crohn’s disease symptoms in 10 out of 11 patients, and caused a complete remission of the disease in five of those patients.
It is also being proven effective for anxiety and sleep disorders caused by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, suffered by many military veterans.
HIV/AIDS patients have shown improved both longevity and quality of life with its use.
There are also some very encouraging breakthroughs for many other chronic ailments.
On the down side, there are no reliable comprehensive studies on potential issues with long-term usage, although it seems the benefits far out way the negatives. In fact statistics show that prescription pain medications kill more people than all illicit drug use in the United States. You cannot overdose on marijuana.
“The game has certainly changed,” says Dr. Orrin Devinsky, Director of New York University Comprehensive Epilepsy Centre. “We now have to look at cannabis in a different light.”