The most commonly used illicit drug in the United States is marijuana. Its status as an illegal drug is only beginning to buckle, but as its uses as a medical aid have been expanding, many states have legalized its use as a medical drug. Marijuana is a drug with few risks with value in the treatment of such conditions as glaucoma, fibromyalgia, and even cancer.
Medical marijuana has demonstrated usefulness as an aid for conditions like glaucoma and conditions affecting appetite. As a result, several states have adopted laws allowing its use as medical a medicinal drug. In the U.S., medical marijuana is an option in 13 states: California, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Maine, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, Montana, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Mexico, and Michigan have all adopted laws which recognize medical marijuana possession and use to varying degrees.
Marijuana’s potential uses as a medical aid are becoming increasingly widespread. One of its most long-lived medical uses has been in the treatment of glaucoma, a series of diseases affecting the eyes. Use of marijuana orally or via inhalation has been found to reduce intraocular pressure (IOP) in glaucoma patients.
Frequently recognized as a substance which causes the “munchies,” medical marijuana is found to be effective at treating nausea and giving an appetite to patients who have lost it. This is becoming very common among people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Brown University reports that medical marijuana can restore appetites in AIDS patients and in chemotherapy patients undergoing cancer treatment.
Medical marijuana may also be effective in helping to slow the spread of many forms of cancer by stunting the growth and slowing the spread of tumors. According to WebMD, medical marijuana has demonstrated promising results in dealing with gilomas – brain tumors – by causing the cancer cells to work against themselves rather than the brain.
The American Association for Cancer Research has been finding a great deal of promise in marijuana and its derivatives in combating various forms of cancer and its symptoms. Along with its potential in dealing with brain cancer, various studies have found that marijuana may have potential fighting the spread breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer, among other forms of the disease.
Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes chronic fatigue and pain throughout the body. According to Science Daily, in a study from the University of Manitoba, people with fibromyalgia were given a derivative of marijuana called nabilone. They found that their pain became much less severe with the treatment.
Marijuana and its components have a great deal of potential in the treatment of a variety of medical conditions. Medical marijuana has shows success in studies analyzing its effects on certain types of cancer, in reducing nausea and improving appetite in patients who have trouble eating, and in reducing pain symptoms in conditions like fibromyalgia. The main obstacle facing medical marijuana is the lack of evolution in federal policy toward it.
Marijuana. Health education: Alcohol, tobacco, & other drugs. Brown University.
Marijuana-based drug reduces fibromyalgia pain, study suggests (2008). Science Daily.
Miller Stacy, Kelli. Marijuana chemical may fight brain cancer. WebMD.
Sarfaraz, S.; Adhami, V.M.; Syed, D.N., et al (2008). Cannabinoids for cancer treatment: Progress and promise. American Association for Cancer Research.