The Transition From Policy to Practice

In the wake of a medical marijuana bill clearing the General Assembly, a discussion of policy can begin to transition into a discussion of science. The legitimacy of cannabis as a pharmaceutical has created controversy for decades – this is thanks in part to state and federal regulations that make it extremely difficult to conduct clinical studies. However, with Ohio’s impending stamp of approval, it is anticipated that marijuana researchers in the state will be put on a longer leash. As a result, people can begin to look to the possible benefits of medical cannabis as a legitimate alternative to more traditional options.

Despite the strain to acquire clinical data on marijuana, there is a lot we do know. Several biological studies indicate that marijuana could potentially aid symptoms in a variety of medical conditions, ranging from epilepsy to cancer. Just a few of the potential benefits of cannabis include:

  • Nausea – A compound found in cannabis, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is a main component in some FDA approved anti-nausea drugs. The drugs are extremely effective in treating nausea and vomiting in chemo-bound cancer patients, as well as AIDS patients
  • Epilepsy – Marijuana has shown to reduce the number of epileptic seizures in children and adults who have types of epilepsy that are otherwise difficult to control with medication.
  • Cancer – Researchers at San Francisco’s California Pacific Medical Center found that Cannabidol, a compound found in marijuana, can “turn off” a gene that allows cancer cells to grow. According to the American Cancer Society, THC has been shown to slow or halt the growth of tumors completely
  • Nerve Pain – The THC found in marijuana can suppress the burning pain in the hands and feet caused by diabetes, AIDS, spinal cord injuries, etc.
  • Anxiety – According to studies at Harvard Medical School, cannabis acts as a low-dose sedative and allows those with crippling anxiety to improve their mood.

Continued research by scientists, doctors, and patients will explore the medicinal and therapeutic potential of pot, but the results thus far provide exciting prospects.

Sources:

http://www.nap.edu/read/9586/chapter/14#157

http://www.prevention.com/health/14-uses-medical-marijuana

Newsweek, “Strong Medicine” p. 11-13

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