The Marijuana Revolution
Let’s talk about weed (proper term: cannabis) for a second. I want to discuss the revolution that I believe is occurring and the medical benefits that should be skyrocketed into the limelight.
I used to be against the legalization. But the more I look back, I realize I was against it for absolutely no reason. I truly did not know the benefits or drawbacks. I knew vaguely that besides recreational uses, it had a couple medical purposes. I also heard that if it was legalized, it would be good for the economy. Did I know what this meant? No, but I went with it because it sounded good.
One of my role models is Sanjay Gupta, the famous neurosurgeon and the chief medical correspondent for CNN (no big deal). He was actually the same way. In 2009, he wrote a TIME magazine article that was titled, “Why I would vote NO to pot”. About a year ago, he posted through CNN, that he wanted to apologize for that stance.
He traveled around the world to interview medical leaders, experts, growers, and patients, and said he was so shocked by discoveries, that his whole view on marijuana has been flipped.
Here is an example of a patient he met: “Take the case of Charlotte Figi, who I met in Colorado. She started having seizures soon after birth. By age 3, she was having 300 a week, despite being on seven different medications. Medical marijuana has calmed her brain, limiting her seizures to 2 or 3 per month. I have seen more patients like Charlotte first hand, spent time with them and come to the realization that it is irresponsible not to provide the best care we can as a medical community, care that could involve marijuana.We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.”
I want to focus on some of the diseases and complications that marijuana has a positive effect on.
- PTSD– Marijuana has a huge turn around rate for those suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Patients usually do not like the way they feel with their meds that manage their anxiety, sleeplessness, depression, and flashbacks. Veterans of war often use marijuana as treatment, instead of pills.
- AIDS/HIV- In a study of 10 HIV-positive marijuana smokers, scientists found people who smoked marijuana ate better, slept better, and overall felt better. Another study with 50 people who smoked cannabis saw less neuropathic pain.
- Alzhiemer’s- Marijuana helps Alzhiemer’s patients gain weight and feel less agitated. In a cell study, researchers found it slowed the progress of protein deposits in the brain (the proteins may be part of what cause Alzheimer’s).
- Cancer- Studies have shown some marijuana extracts can kill certain types of cancer cells. Others show that it can stop cancer growth. It can also prevent nausea that comes with chemotherapy.
- Chronic Pain- In a trial involving 56 human patients, scientists saw a 30% reduction in pain in those who smoked marijuana.
- Multiple Sclerosis- Sativex, a pharmaceutical version of cannabis, is already approved in 25 countries as a treatment for painful muscle spasms.
It is incredible to explore this topic and discover the miracle stories for patients. As someone who strives to become a doctor, this touches my heart. Those who are against legalization need to look more into the components of marijuana and understand that there is much more to them than the “getting high”. Here is a video in which Dr.Gupta explains marijuana’s affect on the brain, based on its chemicals and how it treats the diseases it does.
He believes that a revolution is occurring. For the first time a majority, 53%, favor its legalization, with 77% supporting it for medical purposes. Support for legalization went up 11 points just in the past few years alone. in 1969, only 12% of the nation was in favor of legalization. People are recognizing the benefits. 100 families have moved to Colorado just to access the strain that helped Charlotte dramatically reduce her seizures. The NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said that the league is working to explore the plants as a potential treatment for traumatic brain injuries. Why should we restrict suffering patients from obtaining treatment that would dramatically help them, simply because of their location? It should be legalized in every state to allow a drastic promotion of health, never seen before.
I would run out room if I began to discuss the benefits to business and the economy, but just know that medical purposes is not the only reason that marijuana should be legalized. We should each put aside our personal beliefs and prejudices to think about those who could use it to better themselves. There may be a stigma associated with marijuana, but if we explore further, there is a whole world of benefits that is itching to be uncovered.
This is an article from https://sites.psu.edu/ngupta/2015/04/23/civic-issue-4-the-marijuana-revolution/