A current PhD student in Molecular Plant Genetics who has a masters in Agrobiotechnology.
How beneficial is medical marijuana and what is the science behind it so far
Medical marijuana could be defined as utilization of any of the parts of the marijuana plant prescribed by doctors in order to treat various diseases. The marijuana plant contains more than 100 cannabinoids, which are a group of chemicals having the capability of causing conversion of mind. Among these, two cannabinoids namely tetrahydrocannobinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are most prominent and are used for medicinal purposes.
A type of cannabinoid receptors known as CB1 receptors located predominantly in the brain are activated by THC as marijuana passes from blood stream to brain releasing the chemical dopamine by brain cells. As a result, neurotransmission process in the brain is altered and the person feels high. In contrast, CBD does not possess inebriation properties like THC because they do not bind to the CB1 receptors of the brain cells.
Medical marijuana is currently used for dealing with various human diseases. For example, THC is used for lowering inflammation, pain, muscle contraction, nausea as well as stimulating hunger in the patient. Likewise, CBD has the potentiality to be used for treating epilepsy, mental illness and addictions.
Ingestion of medical marijuana has many side effects as well. Primarily, it can have impact on provisional memory and judgmental ability. Besides, patients can go through hallucinations, delusions, depression, and anxiety as well as develop lung diseases if consumed in larger quantity or on a day-to-day basis for long period of time.
Exploitation of marijuana as medicine has been made legal in many of the European countries and nearly half of US states. Marijuana could be consumed for medical purposes in various forms such as pills, liquid or vaporizers. US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has so far approved two such drugs as pills that contain THC, they are known as dronabinol and nabinole. These are used to treat nausea in cancer patients after chemotherapy and also to elevate appetite among AIDS patients. Similarly, a mouth spray namely nabiximol has been approved in Canada, the United Kingdom and many other European countries in order to attenuate muscle contraction caused by multiple sclerosis (MS).
To conclude, it is still early days for widespread use of marijuana as a medicine taking into consideration of the impact of well established conventional drugs in treating various diseases and further research is needed specially to minimize the detrimental effects of marijuana based drugs.
Abstract: The use of medicinal marijuana is increasing. Marijuana has been shown to have therapeutic effects in certain patients, but further research is needed regarding the safety and efficacy of marijuana as a medical treatment for various conditions. A growing body of research validates the use of marijuana for a variety of healthcare problems, but there are many issues surrounding the use of this substance. This article discusses the use of medical marijuana and provides implications for home care clinicians.
Pub.: 10 Dec '15, Pinned: 13 May '17
Abstract: Recent advances in understanding of the mode of action of tetrahydrocannabinol and related cannabinoid in-gredients of marijuana, plus the accumulating anecdotal reports on potential medical benefits have spurred increasing re-search into possible medicinal uses of cannabis. Recent clinical trials with smoked and vaporized marijuana, as well as other botanical extracts indicate the likelihood that the cannabinoids can be useful in the management of neuropathic pain, spasticity due to multiple sclerosis, and possibly other indications. As with all medications, benefits and risks need to be weighed in recommending cannabis to patients. We present an algorithm that may be useful to physicians in determining whether cannabis might be recommended as a treatment in jurisdictions where such use is permitted.
Pub.: 26 May '12, Pinned: 13 May '17
Abstract: Charlotte, a little girl with SCN1A-confirmed Dravet syndrome, was recently featured in a special that aired on CNN. Through exhaustive personal research and assistance from a Colorado-based medical marijuana group (Realm of Caring), Charlotte's mother started adjunctive therapy with a high concentration cannabidiol/Δ(9) -tetrahydrocannabinol (CBD:THC) strain of cannabis, now known as Charlotte's Web. This extract, slowly titrated over weeks and given in conjunction with her existing antiepileptic drug regimen, reduced Charlotte's seizure frequency from nearly 50 convulsive seizures per day to now 2-3 nocturnal convulsions per month. This effect has persisted for the last 20 months, and Charlotte has been successfully weaned from her other antiepileptic drugs. We briefly review some of the history, preclinical and clinical data, and controversies surrounding the use of medical marijuana for the treatment of epilepsy, and make a case that the desire to isolate and treat with pharmaceutical grade compounds from cannabis (specifically CBD) may be inferior to therapy with whole plant extracts. Much more needs to be learned about the mechanisms of antiepileptic activity of the phytocannabinoids and other constituents of Cannabis sativa.
Pub.: 24 May '14, Pinned: 13 May '17
Abstract: To review the legal status of medical marijuana in the US.Relevant publications were located using LexisNexis (1982-October 2006), WestLaw (1996-October 2006), BNA Health Law Reporter (1996-October 2006), MEDLINE (1996-October 2006), EMBASE (1980-October 2006), International Pharmaceutical Abstracts (1970-October 2006), and an Internet search targeting government sites using the key words medical marijuana.Federal and state medical marijuana laws were examined. Relevant cannabinoid-based drug products were reviewed. Federal and State Supreme Court and Appeal level cases involving medical marijuana were evaluated.Marijuana is regulated as a Schedule I controlled substance and its use is prohibited under federal law. Dronabinol and nabilone are synthetic cannabinoids approved by the Food and Drug Administration and Sativex is a cannabis-based extract being evaluated in Phase III trials. The federal government sponsors a single patient compassionate use Investigational New Drug Application program providing medical marijuana for a small number of patients. Eleven states permit marijuana use for medical purposes and one state provides a defense of medical necessity. Employers do not have to provide workplace accommodations for employees using medical marijuana and can terminate them at will. Healthcare providers have First Amendment constitutional protections that allow them to discuss marijuana with patients.Until the Supreme Court rules directly on the constitutionality of state medical marijuana laws, a conflict remains. Marijuana use remains illegal under federal law and states assume their medical marijuana laws to be constitutional.
Pub.: 26 Oct '06, Pinned: 13 May '17
Abstract: The rise of authorized marijuana use in the U.S. means that many individuals are using cannabis as they concurrently engage in other forms of treatment, such as substance abuse counseling and psychotherapy. Clinical and legal decisions may be influenced by findings that suggest marijuana use during treatment serves as an obstacle to treatment success, compromises treatment integrity, or increases the prevalence or severity of relapse. In this paper, the author reviews the relationship between authorized marijuana use and substance abuse treatment utilizing data from a preliminary pilot study that, for the first time, uses a systematic methodology to collect data examining possible effects on treatment.Data from the California Outcomes Measurement System (CalOMS) were compared for medical (authorized) marijuana users and non-marijuana users who were admitted to a public substance abuse treatment program in California. Behavioral and social treatment outcomes recorded by clinical staff at discharge and reported to the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs were assessed for both groups, which included a sample of 18 reported medical marijuana users.While the findings described here are preliminary and very limited due to the small sample size, the study demonstrates that questions about the relationship between medical marijuana use and involvement in drug treatment can be systematically evaluated. In this small sample, cannabis use did not seem to compromise substance abuse treatment amongst the medical marijuana using group, who (based on these preliminary data) fared equal to or better than non-medical marijuana users in several important outcome categories (e.g., treatment completion, criminal justice involvement, medical concerns).This exploratory study suggests that medical marijuana is consistent with participation in other forms of drug treatment and may not adversely affect positive treatment outcomes. These findings call for more extensive sampling in future research to allow for more rigorous research on the growing population of medical marijuana users and non-marijuana users who are engaged in substance abuse treatment.
Pub.: 06 Mar '10, Pinned: 13 May '17
Abstract: Marijuana and marijuana-based products have been used to treat medical disease. Recently, derivatives of the plant have been separated or synthesized to treat various neurological disorders, many of them affecting children. Unfortunately, data are sparse in regard to treating children with neurologic illness. Therefore, formal conclusions about the potential efficacy, benefit, and adverse effects for these products cannot be made at this time. Further robust research using strong scientific methodology is desperately needed to formally evaluate the role of these products in children.
Pub.: 11 Jun '15, Pinned: 13 May '17
Abstract: Answer questions and earn CME/CNE Marijuana has been used for centuries, and interest in its medicinal properties has been increasing in recent years. Investigations into these medicinal properties has led to the development of cannabinoid pharmaceuticals such as dronabinol, nabilone, and nabiximols. Dronabinol is best studied in the treatment of nausea secondary to cancer chemotherapy and anorexia associated with weight loss in patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome, and is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for those indications. Nabilone has been best studied for the treatment of nausea secondary to cancer chemotherapy. There are also limited studies of these drugs for other conditions. Nabiximols is only available in the United States through clinical trials, but is used in Canada and the United Kingdom for the treatment of spasticity secondary to multiple sclerosis and pain. Studies of marijuana have concentrated on nausea, appetite, and pain. This article will review the literature regarding the medical use of marijuana and these cannabinoid pharmaceuticals (with emphasis on indications relevant to oncology), as well as available information regarding adverse effects of marijuana use.
Pub.: 17 Dec '14, Pinned: 13 May '17