Marijuana is now legal in more than half of the US states. It all started in 1996 when California legalized the use of medical marijuana. One common thing among these states is that potential users need to have a Medical Marijuana card in order to access medical marijuana services. Besides this, MMJ cardholders will only access these services if they have a qualifying condition.
For instance, in New York, MMJ cardholders can only benefit from MMJ services, if they have been diagnosed with terminal illnesses such as cancer. Such diseases are usually accompanied by extreme pain and uncertainty. So, medical cannabis can be used to bring some relief to these patients who might not have any hope with the disease.
In fact, in some states such as California, people with Medical Marijuana Cards can qualify for discounts, which is a bonus.
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History of Cannabis as a Medicinal Plant
To help you understand the history of this plant and how it transformed into medicine, let’s break down some of the major milestones:
- Cannabis is estimated to be about 3000 years old. But its application in the medical field can be dated back to 1839.
- While working in the East India Company, a surgeon discovered cannabis plant properties. W.B. O’Shaughnessy found out that some of the marijuana properties could be used as a pain reliever. He also tested these properties for their effectiveness in inducing sleep, preventing seizure, and managing inflammation, where they turn out to be effective.
- In 1937, the US Treasury Department introduced the Marijuana Tax Act, a move which was seen by many as communication of displeasure of using marijuana for medical purposes.
- Following the passage of the Act, the American Medical Association (AMA) felt the extra taxes were not necessary. The Act not only required physicians to pay a special tax but also to use special forms while prescribing Marijuana for medical use as well as maintaining special records regarding marijuana treatments.
- According to AMA, Medical Marijuana was safe for human use. So, the passing of the Marijuana Tax Act would discourage future research into the medical benefits of the cannabis plant.
- Just as AMA predicted, the use of marijuana for medical purposes was banned by the US Pharmacopoeia in 1942, as they believed the substance was harmful to humans.
- About a decade later, the Boggs Act added the cannabis plant as a narcotic drug. From this period (1951) henceforth, the use of Marijuana declined drastically.
- In 1970, The Controlled Substance Act was introduced. The act classified cannabis as a schedule 1 drug.
- In 1978, the previously passed laws were lax a bit. Through the introduction of the Compassionate Use Investigational New Drug program, patients with illnesses with severe illness were allowed to acquire marijuana on a case-by-case basis.
- Unfortunately, the program came to a halt in 1992.
- Fast forward, in 2009, the Obama administration asked states not to penalize or prosecute patients who are found using marijuana for medical reasons.
- Four years later, in 2013, Marijuana use got a boost after the US Department of Justice ordered that some of its properties could be legalized by willing states, as long as each state put in place measures to prevent misuse of the plant.
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Now that we have learned about major milestones regarding marijuana legalization for medical purposes, let’s take a look at cancer and its connection with Medical Marijuana.
What is Cancer?
In simple terms, cancer is a form of abnormal and rapid cell growth in some specific parts of the body. If it can’t be controlled in time, abnormal cell growth could get into nearby tissues and destroy them. The worse thing is that the disease can expand to different parts of the body.
Cancer can be categorized as skin, bone, blood, etc, depending on the first site where cell growth occurred. It is one of the deadly diseases in the world. Be that as it may, scientific studies show that chances of survival are increasing. An increasing number of states are conducting different researches on the possibility of using Marijuana to treat cancer. There is no conclusive agreement about its use for medical purposes, as each state has its own set of marijuana regulation laws. Even in states that allow for marijuana use, they insist on having a Medical Marijuana Card.
Common Cancer Symptoms
Cancer symptoms are so diverse, but the following are the most common ones:
- Rapid weight changes. It can be a reduction or addition.
- Continues fatigue
- Skin swelling and coloring
- Difficulty swallowing
- Bowel and bladder changes
- Night sweats and persistent fevers
- Unexplained bruising or bleeding
- Persistent muscle or joint pain
- Lack of appetite and difficulty in digesting food
MMJ Doctors and Cancer Patients
MMJ Cancer Doctor and Law
As explained earlier each state creates and implements its laws regarding marijuana use. Some states are a bit strict when it comes to what type of doctor should administer MMJ. Here are some of them:
- The Department of Health has rolled out a training program to be taken by doctors who want to be certified as a Medical Marijuana physician.
- To be issued with the physician’s state license, you should be verified. In some instances, you will only be issued with the license if you are a resident of that state.
- Some states keep records of approved doctors, stating their names and location.
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Cancer Patients and Studies on Cancer Treatment
A 2015 cross-sectional survey involving several patients in the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance found that a majority of them have used are using marijuana. Out of the 2737 participants, 936 filled the questionnaire, and here are the results.
- 70% of them inhale their Marijuana
- 70% use edible marijuana
- 40% of them use edible marijuana as well as inhaled marijuana
Close to 26% of these marijuana users were cancer patients. This group of patients cited the symptoms below:
- Loss of appetite
About 74% of patients mentioned that they would prefer to discuss their cancer situation with doctors who specialize in cancer treatments. That is not hard since each state has been given the responsibility for accrediting a physician as an MMJ doctor. At MMJ doctor, we have several licensed doctors who are not only specialists in different medical fields but also specialists in the Medical Marijuana field.
Common Side Effects of Cancer
Cancer is sometimes chaotic and often results in rapid deterioration of your health. The good news is that several scientific studies have proven that medical marijuana can improve the health condition of cancer patients.
In 2018, a study was conducted among 2970 cancer patients in Israel. One common thing among these patients is that they were all using marijuana issued by their government. Information obtained from them over a 6-months period indicates that there were positive improvements in their health.
They reported improvement in these symptoms:
- Sleep disorder (87.5%)
- Vomiting and nausea (91%)
- Anxiety and depression (84.2%)
- Headache (81.2%)
- Restlessness (87.5%)
- Pruritus (82.4%)
Cannabidiol, which is also referred to as CBD, is the main ingredient in Marijuana. It has been found effective in treating cancer in the following ways:
- Stimulate hunger
- Helpful for managing nausea
- Induces calmness, which prevents insomnia
- Minimize depression and anxiety
Dronabinol has also been approved for the treatment of vomiting and chemo-induced insomnia.
So, Has FDA Approved Cannabidiol?
In 2018, FDA approved one of a CBD-oil product, Epidiolex, for the treatment of epilepsy.
Is CBD Legal?
In most states, marijuana-based products are considered illegal. But some states may allow it for specific reasons. For instance:
- Texas, Alaska, and Colorado allows the use of marijuana for medical reasons
- Some states may allow for medical marijuana use if you have an MMJ card.
- As often the case, not all state laws are followed by all the staff
That’s it. Hope this piece enlightened you on medical marijuana.
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