Marijuana, cannabis, weed and the many other aliases it possesses goes back around 5000 years in history. It was traditionally grown, found and used, by tribes and our ancestors as mother nature’s own concocted botanical remedy and even recreational high by Native Americans, Aborigines in Australia, and even in Ancient Europe and Asia.
Having progressed so far away from those times, marijuana has somehow garnered a bad reputation over the years. Despite being from the earth itself and not causing almost any overdosed related deaths, pharmaceuticals and their artificial chemicals will certainly never be able to admit to that as well, with thousands of pharmaceutical drug related deaths occurring each year, mainly from hydrocodone drugs such as Vicodin and oxycodone drugs.
So here’s the lowdown on the medical version of marijuana, its health benefits, its whimsical social status and side effects as well.
Introducing You To Medical Marijuana
This aptly means that the pure and unrefined extracts of the marijuana plant are used to treat illnesses and reduce its symptoms. It comes from marijuana plants that are specifically grown using medicinal-grading with organic substances without using those poisonous pesticides and fertilizers. The healing characteristics of marijuana come from the rich collection of the resin, cannabidiol (CBD), terpenes (plant-sourced hydrocarbons, such as limonene from citrus fruits) and flavonoids (a potent antioxidant). However, it also contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is a chemical that gives users that psychoactive effect i.e. feeling high, which is what most recreational users go for. After careful experimentation, medical researchers have now mastered how to grow marijuana like our ancestors, using classic plant breeding methods and seed infusions, so it produces a higher amount of CBD and lower amount of THC.
How Medical Marijuana Heals Your Body
The American Surgeon, Vivek Murthy explained that marijuana has proven to have amazing healing prowess when combating some ailments. What happens when one takes medical marijuana is, the cannabinoids act as naturally occurring cannabinoid receptors in your body and then merge with the cell membranes in your entire system. This includes acting as receptors in your, immune system, lungs, stomach, liver, kidneys and brain. Next, the cannabinoid activates those receptors, then causing those remedying and psychoactive reactions. The recorded reactions include, balancing your metabolism, reducing unhealthy hunger pangs, managing pain, easing anxiety attacks, stimulating bone growth and the like. A California-based board-certified internist, Dr. Allan Frankel, has been treating patients with medical marijuana for close to a decade, seeing miracles such as tumor vanishing acts, just by prescribing 40 to 60 mg of cannabinoids a day. Some other treated ailments with weed include, multiple sclerosis, mood swings, seizures, neurological degeneration such as dystonia, Parkinson’s disease, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
It can be inhaled or smoked. Inhalation done through a vaporizer or nebulizer, has shown an instant effect which lasts around four hours as it is absorbed by the lungs, then by the blood-vessels and spread through the blood-stream. The heated marijuana releases the medication at the optimum temperature so it can be inhaled by the user. Smoking it, as most recreational users do, is done using a joint i.e. a hand or machine-rolled cigarette, through a pipe, or even water-vapor based pipe like shisha or hookah. The downside of smoking it is that the marijuana burns of quickly and does not give the needed medication effects and can be irritating to the throat. Oral consumption is also another way to do it especially for non-smokers. Using oils or infusers, administered using a dropper under the tongue or sprayed into the mouth cavity, it then quickly seeps into the blood and takes an effect. Another way is taking it as pills or cooking it in food or drinks such as cookies, brownies or even tea, however since cannabis is fat-soluble, it poses some problems when it comes to digestive consumption. To counter this, make sure the cannabis is cooked in butter for hours on a low-flame with a little water, and then strained, turning it into a cannabis butter. It will then blend well and be suitable for usage in anything you eat. Another method is to apply it topically, as an ointment, lotion, and even oil, which has been known to clear sunburn within a night, ease muscle aches, skin inflammations and even arthritis.
Medical Marijuana Side Effects
A word of caution is advised as medical marijuana for treatment, needs to come from a medicinal-grade cannabis plant without those chemical toxins, if not it could cause harm to the body. The main issue of marijuana these days is the psychoactive effects i.e. getting high from the THC, although that helps users deal with pain and has anti-inflammatory properties, as well. However, a safer option would be to use medical marijuana that’s high in CBD and low in THC. The major risks usually come from using synthetic marijuana such as those that come from Asia as incense, potpourri, or powder forms that are actually manipulated in labs. The chemicals induced in this, makes the cannabis receptors bind onto cells about 1000 times stronger than the usual ones, which elevate serotonin levels in your brain. The synthetic ones can make you overdose, as it is primarily made for that dangerous ‘high’ and has zero healing aspects. Side-effects include excessive vomiting, headaches, seizure, strokes, brain damage, kidney issues, cardiac arrest, acute psychosis, abnormally fast heart beats, and even depletion of your body’s potassium called hypokalemia.
Marijuana Controversy And Legality
Medical marijuana is now legal in some states including, New York, California, Vermont and Colorado, where some patients even hold the legal right for signing-up, growing their own plants and sharing them, as long as they are above 18 and have a letter of approval from a physician who approves their need for it. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not given their full seal of approval yet. Although more medical experts are going back on their original rigidity and swearing by its positive health effects, including CNN’s Sanjay Gupta, the chief medical correspondent and neurosurgeon, with his two-part documentary series called ‘Weed’. In fact, this bad rep for marijuana came from the 60’s and 70’s when the post-war period influenced people to want to escape into a psychoactive state and it soon became a plague-like need for it. And then, all those ancestral handed medical benefits of CBD were erased and forgotten just to stop this psychedelic trend from carrying on. It had such a strong social impact that marijuana is listed as a Schedule 1 controlled drug, which is placed alongside killer drugs like heroin and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), as of the 1970 Controlled Substance Act. That’s because it poses a potential for abuse, lacks safety due to no medical supervision and has not been accepted for medical use in the US.
If you think about it, it’s almost akin to the usage of guns. What was made for defense became used for offense and gun-rights were abused. So, it’s a pity that the whole usage of marijuana fell under this stigma because it was not used appropriately, especially when it possesses such unique healing properties.
This is possibly also the wonderful handiwork of those wealthy pharmaceuticals’ chemical-based drugs, who bank on people’s ailments so their profit margins will not be threatened if this natural remedy gets legalized.
Hopefully this realization will soon create a healthy divide in the right minds and marijuana can be legalized, at least for the millions of ill people who can get access to nature’s cure, without feeling like its contraband or continuing to chemically poison themselves with pharmaceutical drugs.