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Mayo Clinic on Medical Marijuana

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People have used marijuana as a medical treatment for thousands of years. Such uses extend even to modern America. Marijuana was listed by the U.S. Pharmacopeia, the organization that sets quality standards for approved drugs in the United States, until the 1940s, when political pressure against marijuana's recreational use triggered its removal.

Despite the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that state laws allowing medicinal use of marijuana must bow to federal law banning it, proponents still tout this controversial plant's ability to treat pain, nausea and other uncomfortable side effects of medical treatment as well as some disease symptoms.
Marijuana 101: The plant and its components

Marijuana refers to the dried flowers, leaves, stems and seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant. These parts contain the compounds that produce the mind-altering effect that recreational users seek when smoking or ingesting the plant — but they also provide components with potential medical benefits.

Marijuana contains at least 60 chemicals called cannabinoids. Researchers are evaluating how effective some of these cannabinoids might be in controlling symptoms of certain medical conditions. For example:

* THC. An abbreviation for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, THC is the main component responsible for marijuana's mind-altering effect. It also may help treat signs and symptoms such as nausea and vomiting that are associated with a number of medical conditions.
* Cannabinol and cannabidiol. These compounds have some of the properties of THC, but cause less psychoactive effects — the high.
* Dronabinol (Marinol). Dronabinol (dro-NAB-in-ol) is a man-made version of THC available by prescription. It's used to prevent nausea and vomiting after cancer chemotherapy when other medicines for these side effects don't work, and to increase appetite in people with AIDS.

How it works

When smoked or ingested, THC and other cannabinoids in marijuana attach to two types of receptors on cells in your body — like keys in a lock — affecting the cells, once attached.

CB1 is one such receptor. CB1 receptors are found mainly in your brain, especially in areas that control body movement, memory and vomiting. This helps explain why marijuana use affects balance and coordination and impairs short-term memory and learning, and why it can be useful in treating nausea, pain and loss of appetite.

The other type of receptor, CB2, is found in small numbers elsewhere in your body, mainly in tissue of the immune system, such as your spleen and lymph nodes. The function of these receptors is not well understood. They may serve as brakes on immune system function, which may help explain why marijuana suppresses your immune system.

After you smoke marijuana, its ingredients reach their peak levels in your body within minutes, and effects can last up to an hour and a half. When eaten — the plant is sometimes mixed with food — the ingredients can take several hours to reach their peak levels in your body, and their effects may last for hours.

The prescription drug dronabinol, which is taken as an oral capsule, takes effect in about 30 minutes and can continue to stimulate appetite for more than a day.
Possible medical uses

Scientists studying marijuana's potential medical uses have found that it may help treat a variety of conditions.

Nausea
One of THC's medical uses best supported by research is the treatment of nausea. It can improve mild to moderate nausea caused by cancer chemotherapy and help reduce nausea and weight loss in people with AIDS.

Younger people may find marijuana more useful as a treatment for nausea than do older people — who may not tolerate its mind-altering side effects as well. The prescription form, dronabinol, also may produce psychological side effects that make it inappropriate for some older people. Doctors generally prescribe several kinds of newer anti-nausea drugs with fewer side effects before resorting to dronabinol.

Glaucoma
This disease — the third-leading cause of blindness in the United States — is marked by increased pressure in the eyeball, which can lead to vision loss.

In the early 1970s, scientists discovered that smoking marijuana reduced pressure in the eyes. Exactly how the cannabinoids in marijuana produce this effect isn't known. Scientists have discovered CB1 receptors in the eyes, which may provide clues for future research on how marijuana affects glaucoma.

Your doctor can prescribe other medications to treat glaucoma, but these can lose their effectiveness over time. Researchers are working to develop medications containing cannabinoids that can be put directly on the eyes — to avoid the mind-altering side effects and other health consequences of smoking the plant.

Pain
People widely used marijuana for pain relief in the 1800s, and several studies have found that cannabinoids have analgesic effects. In fact, THC may work as well in treating cancer pain as codeine, a mild pain reliever. Cannabinoids also appear to enhance the effects of opiate pain medications to provide pain relief at lower dosages.

Researchers currently are developing new medications based on cannabis to treat pain.

Multiple sclerosis
Research results on the effectiveness of cannabinoids in the treatment of the tremors, muscle spasms and pain of multiple sclerosis (MS) — a disease of the nervous system that can cause muscle pain — are mixed. A 2003 study found that cannabinoids significantly reduced pain in people with multiple sclerosis.

Some scientists feel that more research may show cannabinoids useful in treating MS. Marijuana may protect nerves from the kind of damage that occurs during the disease. They also suggest that animal study results, knowledge of CB1 receptors in the brain and users' reports of decreased symptoms after using marijuana support this possibility.
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First Helper User Profile homerx
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replied April 2nd, 2008
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from Roberta777
I tried to post a reply to the new Marijuina Debate Forum and it came back it was locked.

Well, I will post my opinion here.

A really good friend of ours for many years had developed cancer. He was in the hospital in New York and they gave him marijuina. He really helped alleviate his pain and suffering. He was a doctor. No problem with him getting this.

My brother's wife had cancer and was in such pain, you couldn't even sit on the side of her bed. When they could obtain marijuina, it really helped her. Problem was, they weren't able to get much. She was only 31 years old when she died. Sad

They have a clinic set up near us and people are up in arms screaming their heads off against it. No problem getting alchohol or tobacco products. Trust me, they have chewing tobacco in every store within miles. Talk about a threat to oral cancer from using that stuff. Confused

Somebody posted that one of the main reasons against being able to access marijuina is it cuts back on the huge profits from the pharmaceutical companies. Not too hard to see the connection with that one.

Bobbie
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replied April 2nd, 2008
Active User, very eHealthy
Homer
Thank you for that very informative and well researched article. I am glad to have had the opportunity to read it.

Bobbie
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replied April 3rd, 2008
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Information is knowledge and knowledge is power...you are most welcome! Very Happy respect
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replied September 2nd, 2011
Re: from Roberta777
homerx wrote:
I tried to post a reply to the new Marijuina Debate Forum and it came back it was locked.

Well, I will post my opinion here.

A really good friend of ours for many years had developed cancer. He was in the hospital in New York and they gave him marijuina. He really helped alleviate his pain and suffering. He was a doctor. No problem with him getting this.

My brother's wife had cancer and was in such pain, you couldn't even sit on the side of her bed. When they could obtain marijuina, it really helped her. Problem was, they weren't able to get much. She was only 31 years old when she died. Sad

They have a clinic set up near us and people are up in arms screaming their heads off against it. No problem getting alchohol or tobacco products. Trust me, they have chewing tobacco in every store within miles. Talk about a threat to oral cancer from using that stuff. Confused

Somebody posted that one of the main reasons against being able to access marijuina is it cuts back on the huge profits from the pharmaceutical companies. Not too hard to see the connection with that one.

Bobbie


I think people don't understand the benefits of natural products that have been on this planet for ages.

Like Roberta777 said, it's very SAD to see people complaining about legalization of marijuana when everything like tobacco products & alcohol are sold freely everywhere and KILLS A LOT of people everyday.

I think people don't read enough on the topics before they act the way they do.

In my own opinion, marijuana is not legalized because they (read:government) don't have "Control" over the product.
I'm sure they would legalize it if THEY would make $$$ out of the deal.

They don't really care about anybody. All they care about is the PROFITS they can make on ANYTHING.

Just my 2 cents...
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