Medical marijuana is the use of the raw marijuana plant or its main extracts in treating a certain disease or symptom. So far, the Food and Drug Administration or FDA of the US has not acknowledged or approved the medical uses of the marijuana plant. |
However, a scientific study involving the chemicals found in marijuana - known as cannabinoids - has brought about two FDA-approved medications containing cannabinoid chemicals in the form of pills. Continuous studies may result to other medications.
Since the marijuana plant consists of chemicals that may address various illnesses or symptoms, most people maintain that it should be legalized for medical use. As a matter of fact, more states have legalized marijuana to be used for medical purposes.
Why Marijuana Was not Approved by the FDA
To verify the advantages and risks of a potential medication, hundred to thousands of humans should undergo clinical trials or studies required by the FDA. Until now, researches have not carried out a sufficient number of large-scale clinical trials showing that the potential benefits of the marijuana plant (rather than its cannabinoid ingredients) prevail over its risks in patients meant to be treated.
Definition of Cannabinoids
Cannabinoids are the chemicals linked to the main mind-altering ingredient of marijuana, known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. Aside from THC, marijuana consists of over 100 other cannabinoids. Both scientists and illegal manufacturers have created lots of cannabinoids in the laboratory, some of which are very powerful and have caused serious health issues whenever misused.
The body produces its own cannabinoid chemicals as well. They contribute to appetite, body movement, concentration, memory, pain, pleasure regulation, the senses (hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch), thinking and time awareness.
There is an increasing awareness in using cannabidiol or CBD, a marijuana component, as treatment to some health conditions, like childhood epilepsy - a disorder causing a child to experience violent seizures. So, scientists have been breeding marijuana plants in particular and producing an oil-type CBD to be used as medical treatment. Recreational users may not like these drugs since they are not intoxicating at all.
Ways Cannabinoids can be used as Medicine
CBD and THC are the main cannabinoids presently found in the marijuana plant that can be used as medicine.
THC can boost appetite and reduce nausea. THC-based medications approved by FDA are used for such purposes. Also, THC may reduce pain, inflammation like redness and swelling, as well as reduce problems in controlling the muscles.
The cannabinoid CBD does not have an effect on the mind or behavior. It may be used in reducing pain and inflammation, managing epileptic seizures, as well as probably even treating addictions and mental illness.
The latest studies on animals have demonstrated how marijuana extracts could help kill some cancer cells and decrease the size of others. A cell culture study has proof suggesting that the whole-plant marijuana has purified extracts that can slow down the development of cancer cells from one of the gravest types of brain tumors. Studies on mice confirm that a treatment containing purified extracts of both CBD and THC together with radiation, boosted the radiation’s cancer killing effects.
Also, scientists are carrying out preclinical and clinical trials using marijuana plus its extracts in treating several conditions and diseases, including:
Autoimmune disease (that make the immune system grow weaker) - AIDS/HIV - Alzheimer’s disease, which brings about brain function loss that affects behavior, memory and thinking - multiple sclerosis (MS), which results to a gradual loss of muscle control Inflammation Mental disorders Pain Seizures Substance use disorders
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