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Is Medical Cannabis An Illusion?

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M.C. Escher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Occasionally I question whether medical marijuana is really, truly helping people from a controlled, objective standpoint. I know that it helps cancer patients, in that they repeatedly say it works for them personally, but many institutes and legislatures are convinced it does not. I figure I might as well know the truth, especially since I’m an actual Cannabis Consultant.

My searching often brings me to the cancer.gov website, which seems to be a reasonable place to search for objective information on cannabis and cancer, a legitimate, measurable disease. Here’s some text from the site:

Cancer Treatment

No clinical trials of Cannabis as a treatment for cancer in humans were identified in a PubMed search; however, a single, small study of intratumoral injection of delta-9-THC in patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme reported potential antitumoral activity.[14,15]

If I had glioblastoma multiforme, (the most common and most aggressive malignant primary brain tumor in humans,) I’d definitely ask my doctor about medical cannabis.

Here’s another section I would find compelling if I was suffering from chemotherapy symptoms:

Analgesia

A double-blind placebo-controlled study involving ten patients, measured both pain intensity and pain relief.[35] It was reported that 15 mg and 20 mg doses of the cannabinoid delta-9-THC were associated with substantial analgesic effects, with antiemetic effects and appetite stimulation.

In a follow-up, single-dose study involving 36 patients, it was reported that 10 mg doses of delta-9-THC produced analgesic effects during a 7-hour observation period that were comparable to 60 mg doses of codeine, and 20 mg doses of delta-9-THC induced effects equivalent to 120 mg doses of codeine.[36] Higher doses of THC were found to be more sedative than codeine.

It’s awesome when they say things like double-blind placebo-controlled study. Speaking of sedative, what else does cancer.gov have to say about that?

Anxiety and Sleep

Another common effect of Cannabis is sleepiness. In a trial of a sublingual spray, a Cannabis-based mixture was able to improve sleep quality.[48] A small placebo-controlled study of dronabinol [synthetic THC] in cancer patients with altered chemosensory perception also noted increased quality of sleep and relaxation in THC-treated patients.[27]

For cancer patients who have trouble sleeping, and suffer side-effects of sleep medications, I can imagine they might be interested in trying medical cannabis. Cancer.gov goes on:

Patients often experience mood elevation after exposure to Cannabis, depending on their prior experience. In a five-patient case series of inhaled marijuana that examined the analgesic effects of THC, it was reported that patients administered THC had improved mood, improved sense of well-being, and less anxiety.[47]

Although I respect those who have anxiety about cannabis, I think this info from cancer.gov would make my anxiety go down if I was a cancer patient or took care of one. Cannabis, a plant, is really, truly helping patients.

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