The tide is turning in our cultural acceptance of marijuana. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use, and five states have legalized it for both medical and recreational use. Once highly stigmatized, cannabis and cannabis oil are finally being lauded and widely acknowledged for their medicinal value.
The growing acceptance of marijuana in the medical community is thanks, in large part, to numerous studies supporting the plant’s safety and efficacy in treating various conditions. Marijuana and cannabis oil have never been linked to an overdose in recorded history. Furthermore, cannabis oil (which is non-psychoactive) has no known dangerous side effects, making it an attractive alternative to certain prescription drugs.
Just how effective is cannabis oil? To understand the promising future of medical marijuana, one need only look at the extensive list of conditions this amazing plant can treat.
The Healing Herb
The list of conditions associated with marijuana treatment is immense. Studies have suggested that cannabis can help treat chronic pain, nausea, anxiety, inflammation, and insomnia. Cannabis has also been used to reduce the symptoms of epilepsy, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, asthma, leukemia, osteoporosis, diabetes, liver disease, multiple types of cancer, and much more. The active components in cannabis are endocannabinoids, which regulate a wide array of physiological processes, including pain and stress response, memory, metabolism, and the immune system. It’s no wonder that we have records going back to 8000 BC for hemp cultivation and 2700 BC for cannabis being used in a medicinal context.1
There are many ways to utilize the healing properties of cannabis, and they don’t all involve smoking the dried plant or getting “stoned” as part of the treatment. Cannabidiol, also known as cannabis oil or CBD oil, is a chemical compound derived from marijuana that has been found to have incredible healing powers.
Following a recent FDA announcement granting cannabidiol “orphan drug status” for treating brain injuries in newborns, more medical professionals are considering the use of cannabis-based compounding ingredients. Unlike marijuana’s familiar component, THC, which causes the “high” associated with the drug, cannabis oil is non-psychoactive, making it an ideal treatment for people who would prefer not to have the mildly hallucinogenic side effects. Like marijuana, it can be taken orally or applied topically.
That being said, the consciousness-altering effects of cannabis are well known throughout history to be helpful in easing anxiety, reducing stress, increasing appetite, relieving pain, and catalyzing creativity and insight. Just one of many studies on the use of cannabis by the Journal of Clinical Nursing found that it lead to an “improvement in quality of life as an outcome of its use” and lamented only that cannabis “is usually obtained illegally and can have consequences for those who choose to use it for its therapeutic value and for nurses who are providing care.”2
A New Day
We have made great progress in moving past the “reefer madness” stigma once associated with marijuana, but millions of people in the states and countries where it is not yet legal still face imprisonment for using this safe and effective medicine. Let’s hope we continue down the path of full legal and cultural acceptance of this plant, especially for those with serious medical conditions who could greatly benefit from its amazing healing powers.
- “10,000-year History of Marijuana use in the World.” Advanced Holistic Health. http://www.advancedholistichealth.org/history.html ↩
- “Cannabis use in palliative care – an examination of the evidence and the implications for nurses.” Advanced Holistic Health. http://www.advancedholistichealth.org/PDF_Files/Palliative%20care.pdf ↩