Medical marijuana has been a hot button topic for decades. Some tout its therapeutic benefits as being near-miraculous, while others disregard it entirely as merely excuse for people to just get “high”.
And yet, the truth about the benefits of medical marijuana lies somewhere in-between those two extremes: it isn’t the end-all-be-all of the natural health world, nor is it just a gimmick.
But what are some of the challenges and misunderstandings that face those on both sides of the argument? What is it that keeps people from understanding that there is a legitimate benefit to medical marijuana, and what keeps us from understanding its full benefits?
Medical Marijuana: Legit Natural Remedy, Or Just a Reason To Get High?
Legal Factors and the Obstacles They Present
Ever since marijuana was added to the Controlled Substances Act in the 70s, the push for re-legalization has been a continuous battle.
And while 33 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized medical marijuana at a state level, it still remains federally illegal.
Interestingly enough, though, according to Harvard Medical School, approximately 85% of Americans are in support of legalizing medicinal marijuana. They also estimate that, whether legal in their state or not, millions of Americans already use cannabis medicinally.
Although there is state legality of medical cannabis in the majority of the country, the lack of federal legality has created a significant hurdle in the ability to research its legitimate therapeutic benefits. There is some research that has been done on a few particular cannabinoids within cannabis, and they have even been implemented in a couple of different pharmaceutical drugs.
But by and large, marijuana for medicinal use hasn’t been given a very fair shake because of the lack of research that can legally be done on it.
Anecdotal evidence is by and large what we have to go on. However, much of that is consistent across the board, lending to its credibility, although unscientific.
The benefit of lifting these federal restrictions and moving marijuana from the Schedule I to the Schedule II drug list would be that we could perform more research on some very important issues, like whether or not marijuana would be a better pain killer option in the face of the opioid epidemic our nation is facing. Cannabis is a safer and much less addicting option than the opioids that are available nowadays.
There has even been research done in mice with cancer that showed that the purified extracts of THC and CBD helped to seemingly aid and improve the cancer-killing effects of the radiation.
Serious health issues like this are why we need more research done on medical marijuana. If there is a natural substance out there that could help fight some of our society’s biggest health issues, then we need to make it a priority to understand it.
The Legitimate Therapeutic Benefits of Medical Marijuana
There are two main routes that people can currently take if they want to take advantage of medical cannabis.
For those consumers who would rather not experience the “high” that is caused by the cannabinoid THC, there are the ever-emerging CBD options. CBD is one of the other prominent cannabinoids found in hemp and cannabis and does not possess the same psychoactive effect, but all of the same therapeutic benefits.
But THC has been found to have its own natural health benefits as well as CBD. And often they are found to have the most significant positive impact when they are working together.
The most common use of medical marijuana is for managing chronic pain. While it may not be strong enough to manage post-surgery pain, it has been touted by the millions of people who use it for its chronic pain management properties.
People have found that medical marijuana is helpful in managing nausea and weight loss in regards to cancer patients, IBS, and symptoms of Crohn’s Disease. There is some promising research indicating that medical cannabis could be used to treat glaucoma. And many mental health professionals have used medical cannabis to help treat anxiety and PTSD in their patients with great success.
Although we might have some challenges to overcome, I do believe that the future is bright for medical marijuana.
Both sides need to get a better understanding of it. One side needs to let go of some of the fear and misunderstanding that has surrounded medical marijuana for decades while the other needs to be able to do more complete and thorough research of the therapeutic benefits that cannabis possesses.
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