Concept Contemplation: Medical Marijuana

“Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.” — Margaret Wheatley

Growing up, I was always raised to believe that marijuana was bad for you. A gateway drug. A drug that had the potential to lead you into trouble. Now, of course when I was a teenager and just stepping directly out of my teenage years, I was offered to try marijuana on a few different occasions by friends, and I did give it a try in which I found that I did not like smoking marijuana at all. I found myself to be the kind of person that becomes slightly nervous or panicked shortly thereafter. That feeling is very unsettling. In which case, I left marijuana behind for good and never looked back years ago. Back when I was a younger, it was the irresponsible, thing a lot of young kids were doing at that time. Drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and weed. Looking back on it now, no of course I can’t say I am not proud of any of that but I sure am proud that I have moved above and beyond from this maturely. Leaving much of this irresponsibility behind.

In 2008, I became diagnosed with Epilepsy. Sifting through various medications, some working. Some not. Some working for short periods of time. Some working for long periods of time. Some needing to be combined with other medications. Various tests to determine what medications I may need. It was and still is quite the journey everyday I must say. Lately, there have been rumblings throughout the country and even throughout the world of marijuana becoming legalized medically. So far, 23 states in America have legalized marijuana. Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland Massachusetts, Michigan Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.  Governors are coming forward showing their support for the idea of marijuana to be used medicinally for those with medical conditions such as epilepsy and cancers and allowing it to be legalized as it should be. Signing it into law.

For the longest time, I was an advocate against marijuana as I had found it to be a drug. I wanted to remain “drug-free”. I wanted to stay far away from the downsides of marijuana. The negativity. The misconceptions and harmfulness of marijuana. However, when I began to hear more and more about how marijuana was beginning to help those with medical conditions such as those with epilepsy, I couldn’t help but to be intrigued. As much as I wanted to avoid the topic and keep my head turned away, I couldn’t help but to notice my head turning toward the sound of what I was hearing. “Marijuana could help stop seizures? Really?”  I began to wonder… What are the facts on Medical Marijuana?

The Facts about Medical Marijuana

By Scott Barnes

Medical marijuana (or medical cannabis) refers to the use of marijuana as a physician-prescribed therapy to reduce the pain or discomfort associated with some medical conditions or to lessen the side effects of some traditional medical treatments.

Medical marijuana is used for a variety of ailments and conditions, including

  • Easing nausea and vomiting.
  • Stimulating appetite in chemotherapy and/or AIDS patients.
  • Reducing eye pressure in glaucoma patients.
  • Managing chronic pain.
  • Treating gastrointestinal illnesses.

Recent research has also suggested that some of the compounds in marijuana may have beneficial qualities for patients suffering from a variety of other conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, breast cancer, brain cancer, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, insomnia, and even asthma.

Medicinal compounds in marijuana

Cannabis contains almost 500 compounds, of which about 80 are used for medicine and science. Five of these compounds are used frequently in medicine:

  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the chemical in marijuana that produces its psychoactive effects. This chemical has been proven to also be a mild pain reliever and sleep inducer, as well as an antioxidant.
  • Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the primary compounds extracted for medical marijuana. CBD has been provent to relieve convulsion, inflammation, anxiety, cough, congestion, and nausea, and it inhibits cancer cell growth.
  • Cannabinol (CBN) is thought to inhibit the spread of cancer cells.
  • β-caryophyllene is used to reduce inflammation.
  • Cannabigerol relieves intraocular pressure of the eye, so it’s used in the treatment of glaucoma.

What is the public opinion of medical marijuana?

The outcome of future court cases could be influenced by public opinion, which is changing. Recent polls indicate that about 83% of Americans are in favor of allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana for patients suffering from serious illnesses, up from just 62% in 1997. But opposition to the drug remains strong.

One of the biggest criticisms of medical marijuana has to do with an implied perception that the drug is administered by smoking. Decades of conventional wisdom have led people to believe that “smoking pot” is taboo — not to mention that smoking, whatever the substance, has been proven to be unhealthy. However, medical marijuana is often administered to patients in alternative ways, including inhalers, pills, and even edible baked goods. These means of dispensation have proven to be healthier and sometimes more effective in relieving patients’ pain or discomfort.

With this latest revelation, this is something I simply cannot ignore. Marijuana, yes sure it does have its misconceptions.  Being considered a gateway drug, the thought that it can cause short and long term memory loss, that you can overdose and die from it, I’m sure others could speak on a range of misconception topics. However, I have seen, I have read, I have witnessed people become remedied of their seizures via medical marijuana and I can’t help but to wonder myself. It does indeed provoke my curiosity. Wouldn’t it you? As of the moment, medical marijuana is not legalized in my state. Though, my thought process I feel is shifting and I feel as though I would support it if the Governor of the state would decide to support it. I would be there in a heartbeat if I could be should he decide to sign a bill legalizing medical marijuana for those in this state. Would I consider this avenue as a method of curing my own seizures? Potentially. If medication no longer became an option for me, yes potentially I feel as though I may. Whatever it would take.

Hopefully, all the the world will do the right thing and legalize this medicine for those who truly do need it.

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