With cannabis legalization at the forefront of many medical debates across the globe right now, we are taking a close, in-depth look at what leading experts say about the medicinal value of cannabis to treat what they claim are ‘hundreds’ of medical conditions.
Let’s start with pain: While it has been normal practice in the West for the past half decade at least, for people to go see their doctor for prescription medication when they get some pain or unusual blood count readings, many are now turning to medical cannabis as an organic and synthetic chemical-free zone for their pain relief.
In the pivotal documentary entitled, ‘Medical Cannabis and Its Impact on Human Health,’ Dr David Bearman M.D., as well as numerous other experts and world-renowned authorities on medical cannabis, discusses not only the history of cannabis. Noting that it has been used for thousands of years in medicine, across all 7 continents, dating back to the ancient Chinese as well as age-old Indian cultures. But also the numerous medical benefits that cannabis provides to thousands of people on a daily basis across the globe.
Obviously, the subject of the medical benefits of cannabis is a massive one, since the legal use of cannabis for any purpose, medicinal or other, was banned in the U.S. back in the mid-1930’s, initially thanks to the ‘Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act, in conjunction with the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. Since then, most folks use patented chemicals, produced en-masse by big pharmaceutical companies whenever they get a headache or some heartburn. That feeds into a highly addictive, multi-billion dollar industry that is better for some people than for others.
However, as Dr Bearman explains, these days, as a host of countries begin decriminalizing cannabis for medical purposes, many people are looking for a natural alternative for their ailments, in order to avoid common and sometimes dangerous side effects caused by many prescription medications.
Dr Bearman, who is considered to be one of the most clinically knowledgeable physicians in the U.S. in the field of medicinal cannabis, has spent decades working in substance and drug abuse treatment and prevention programs. With more than 40 years of professional experience working with cannabis, Dr Bearman shares some unbelievable information, noting that:
“UP UNTIL THE BEGINNING OF THE 20TH CENTURY, CANNABIS WAS PROBABLY THE SECOND OR THIRD MOST USED MEDICINE IN THE WORLD.”
Dr Bearman goes on to discuss in detail the specific medical ailments that cannabis can treat, noting that the number one medical issue that cannabis deals well with is pain. He states that it is known that cannabis is particularly effective in treating connective tissue disorders, from arthritis to fibromyalgia, Systemic Lupus, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, as well as a whole host of similar tissue pain conditions that doctors themselves have little understanding of.
In this respect, regardless of a cure for specific medical conditions, cannabis is used successfully in thousands of cases, to move people from addictive and oftentimes damaging opioids, prescribed regularly by doctors, to treat their pain.
Dr Bearman continues to extol the virtues of cannabis for direct medical intervention, turning his attention to Epilepsy:
“THE FIRST MODERN RESEARCH THAT WAS DONE ON CANNABIS WAS DONE IN 1949, THAT DEMONSTRATED ITS USEFULNESS IN TREATING EPILEPSY. I HAVE A NUMBER OF PEOPLE (PATIENTS) WHO DON’T HAVE EPILEPSY WHEN THEY USE CANNABIS REGULARLY.”
As well as treating numerous epilepsy patients of all ages, Dr Bearman went on to confirm that cannabis, in his experience, is among the safest and most effective medicines for migraine headaches. Being that in the U.S. alone, more than 37 million people suffer from migraines. With some studies suggesting that up to 13 percent of adults in America suffer regularly from them, this is no small issue for a sizeable chunk of the population. Bearman adds that the founder of modern medicine is a physician named Sir William Osler, who wrote the first textbook of internal medicine. In that textbook, Osler, who was prominent around the turn of the 19th-20th century said:
“CANNABIS WAS THE MOST EFFECTIVE MEDICATION IN THE TREATMENT OF MIGRAINE HEADACHES.”
A US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health study, entitled, “Effects of Medical Marijuana on Migraine Headache Frequency in an Adult Population,” backs up Dr Bearman’s claims, concluding that: “The frequency of migraine headache was decreased with medical marijuana use. Prospective studies should be conducted to explore a cause-and-effect relationship and the use of different strains, formulations, and doses of marijuana to better understand the effects of medical marijuana on migraine headache treatment and prophylaxis.”
Other ailments such as Depression, Insomnia, Appetite Loss, Nausea, Diarrhea, and Crohn’s Disease, can also be treated effectively with cannabis. In the case of Crohn’s Disease, as a case in point, it is noted that many patients were able to move off of long-term steroid use, in favor of cannabis, reducing diarrhea and abdominal cramps.
But one of the most compelling arguments that medical cannabis helps with hundreds of medical conditions is Dr Bearman’s citation of a comprehensive list compiled by the late Dr Tod Mikuriya, a psychiatrist and outspoken advocate for the legalization and use of cannabis for medical purposes, which notes an astounding 257 different medical conditions that Cannabis can help with.
It’s well worth reading through Dr Mikuriya’s extensive list, in order to understand the potential scale of the future of medical cannabis. You can read the full list here.
Other noteworthy conditions that cannabis treats include, Multiple sclerosis, anxiety related to Alzheimer’s Disease, muscle spasmsassociated with Parkinson’s Disease. Meanwhile, in the area of Psychological disorders, cannabis is thought to help with such conditions as Bipolar Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and reduction of fearful memories.
Another leading authority on medical cannabis, Dr Donald Abrams M.D., an oncologist with many years of experience, speaks specifically about the way he prescribes cannabis in his capacity as a cancer doctor, seeing patients at various stages of the disease, daily. Dr Abrams notes: “I’m a cancer doctor and every day I see patients with cancer who have nausea from their chemotherapy or loss of appetite, pain, depression, insomnia…”. He continues:
“My experience over the past 30 years of being an oncologist is there is ONE medicine that I can recommend to patients that can take care of all of those problems. That medicine is Cannabis.”
While there are not yet an abundance of documented studies proving conclusively one way or the other that cannabis could potentially heal cancer. Due to a number of factors, not least that cannabis is still technically illegal and therefore runs into a number of problem research-wise. The evidence is mounting as millions of people around the world look for alternative ways of dealing with their pain and medical conditions. There is no doubt that more research is necessary, and must be done, in order to explore fully the potential health benefits of one of the oldest and most natural medicines in the world.
The most recent comprehensive study on cannabis, entitled “The Health Effects of
Cannabis and Cannabinoids,” carried out by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, in America, is a lengthy and detailed 400-page report which draws some interesting conclusions about the claims made by Dr Bearman and Dr Abrams over the past few years, as well as other authorities on medical cannabis, and noted in this article.
On page 7 of that report, the authors note that there is strong evidence to suggest that cannabis may have many medicinal purposes. An excerpt from that page reads:
For therapeutic effects: There is strong evidence from randomized controlled trials to support the conclusion that cannabis or cannabinoids are an effective or ineffective treatment for the health endpoint of interest.
For other health effects: There is strong evidence from randomized controlled trials to support or refute a statistical association between cannabis or cannabinoid use and the health endpoint of interest.
For this level of evidence, there are many supportive findings from good-quality studies with no credible opposing findings. A firm conclusion can be made, and the limitations to the evidence, including chance, bias, and confounding factors, can be ruled out with reasonable confidence.
While this excerpt is by no means conclusive, it does suggest that claims that cannabis can be helpful for a variety of medical conditions is an opinion that is gaining traction in the medical world.
Could this latest milestone study be a gateway to full legalisation of cannabis for medical purposes and treatment in the U.S. and possibly even further afield?
There is also extensive medical cannabis research taking place in Israel, as it has been for many years, since the 1960’s. Studies there also seem to be hinting that cannabis has numerous medical implications for a variety of patients.
The next natural step is for the findings of the studies to be slowly implemented, as we hopefully look forward to a world where physical ailments may be cured by natural means.[Image credit: Flickr]