Medical Cannabis: Is It Right for You?

By Dean D.

Cannabis knows no gender, race, or class — not even party lines have stopped the fun flower with a rich American history. You can read all about marijuana’s social intrigue in Martin Lee’s Smoke Signals.

But today: we talk medicine.

What do a 12-year-old girl in Colorado, an ex-NFL lineman, an army veteran, and a 6-year-old Georgian boy have in common? A joint lawsuit against Jeff Sessions to legalize medical cannabis across the country.

An ironic twist on pothead stereotypes, “Medical Refugee,” Alexis Bortell, was always missing class because she didn’t take weed. Without portraying this tough cookie too much like a victim, the young epileptic girl spent her days in a drugged-up haze. The Bortell family found themselves at the final jump in a “mild-to-wild” pharmaceutical treatment strategy when a pediatrician called to intervene. The doctor urged them to try CBD oil before putting their daughter on a harsh high-risk, low-success prescription.

CBD immediately revived Alexis: she plays outsized with friends, excels at school, and has even taken a lead role in cannabis activism. Beside her at the courthouse gates are medical cannabis success stories from every walk of life. Even beloved household pets!

Then, there are the others.

The face of cannabis activism streaming across social media, touting glorified medical benefits for symptoms ranging from inconvenient to life-threatening, mental to physical, believable to I’m-not-so-sure-about-that. And that’s awesome. It’s awesome we’re in a place where patients think critically about the solutions pitched to them in profitable trends. We don’t want to make the same mistakes again. Keep reading for the doctor-verified list of medical cannabis uses.

Is Medical Marijuana Right for You?

Well — first things first — there is no risk of death, tragic overdose, or life-altering side effects. No one has ever died from weed. Ever. Sugar and caffeine reign more addictive with more associated early deaths. Cannabis, on the other hand, is one of the lowest-risk medical options out there. CBD would be the “mild” on a “mild to wild” scale. So there’s that.

People can also be put off by the thought of old-school smoking tools. This is far from today’s reality! We now have cannabis pills and tinctures to take, artsy and scientific pipes to collect, exciting new vaporizer technology to try, and smartphone apps to help you keep track. The emerging face of cannabis is responsible and sophisticated; not your Fast Times at Ridgemont High type of toker. Though we thank you, Spicoli, for all the loveable nostalgia.

As you can see, by July 2018, most states now recognize the medicinal value of cannabis. That’s regardless of Jeff Sessions’ changed full-enforcement stance at the federal level, which poses a risk primarily to cannabis business owners whose money and inventory can be swiftly seized. (And redistributed to whom?)

To quickly find out which diagnoses are protected where you live, simply Google: “Your State Medical Marijuana Program.” The diagnosis list is always growing at the state level, so you’re most likely to get an accurate list on the state government website.

Cannabis Pharmacy: The Practical Guide to Medical Marijuana offers a list of afflictions that have been scientifically shown to improve with medical cannabis. This guide was recommended by one of the first female pharmacists, now a leading force in cannabis education: Illinois Women in Cannabis’s Luba Andrus. The guide includes medical benefits of each hilariously named strain; whether CBD or THC is the best option; dosing and delivery strategies; and specific details on how to approach each of the following medical issues:

  • Asthma
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Cachexia & Appetite Loss
  • Cancer
  • Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Drug Addiction
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gastrointestinal Disorders
  • Gerontology
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Insomnia
  • Menopause
  • Migraine & Headache
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Nausea & Vomiting
  • Osteoporosis
  • Palliative Care
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Pediatrics
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Pregnancy & Lactation
  • Preventive Medicine
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Schizophrenia/Psychosis
  • Seizure Disorders
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Skin Conditions
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Sports Medicine
  • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • Women’s Health (PMS, Dysmenorrhea, Endometriosis)

It’s easy to see why cannabis has been put to medical use since America’s founding. In fact, Thomas Jefferson dubbed hemp as “essential to the wealth and success of this nation.” A budding medical industry offers our economy and environment new options for mutual rejuvenation.

Cannabis is too much is when pot becomes a compulsion. Those genetically predisposed to addiction should be wary of everyday use. Women are also more likely to use weed in excess because of ovaries’ tolerance to THC’s estrogen-related properties. (Backes). If you find yourself reaching for it at every moment, then it’s time to pull back. Try switching from THC to CBD to retain medical benefits while minimizing addictive urges.

Overall, an increase in cannabis decreases rates of opioid addiction. As doctors replace more opiate prescriptions with medical marijuana prescriptions, the number of opiate-related tragedies steadily fade away. The impact has been significant for families and communities.

 

A major factor of cannabis medicine that doesn’t get enough air-time:

It’s fun! Lifted spirits make all the difference among maladies. Choosing from strains named Gorilla Glue and Girl Scout cookies will certainly spark some joy into your medical regimen!

To get started with medical marijuana:

  1. Look up MMJ doctors in your state, and
  2. Grab the perfect companion.

The internet has tons of fun, easy guides and quizzes to help choose the right pipe, vape, or recipe for you.

Emily Watkins is a PhD student majoring in public policy. Emily has been a freelance editor for numerous websites, and has spent hundreds of hours volunteering to help legalize marijuana. She currently resides in Los Angeles, and can be reached at Watkins.MarijuanaHerald@Gmail.com.

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