However people look at it, the effectivity of medical marijuana remains unclear, or at least scientifically unhinged. Despite the lack of explanation, experts cannot discredit its effects. Dr. Sue Sisley, a psychiatrist who treats war survivors dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, is one of those experts fascinated by the impact of this leafy drug.
Some time ago, some of her patients, who suffer from anxiety, flashbacks, depression and sleeplessness, said that medications were no longer effective. Then, she said, they began feeling better and gained more presence of mind. Apparently, they were using marijuana.
“I was really stunned and more and more patients were coming out of the shadows and disclosing to me that they were having some useful experiences with the marijuana plant,” says Sisley.
Testing the Effectivity – is it really possible?
While Sisley was pleased with her patients’ progress, she was not satisfied with mere verbal accounts. She wanted to find documented and peer-reviewed clinical trials that can empirically prove that marijuana could be an effective and all-around beneficial intervention for post-traumatic stress disorder and other ailments.
Since it is a known alternate treatment for medical conditions, such as glaucoma, HIV, cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis and others, primary care physicians aim to acquire hard evidence on its short and long-term effects on patients.
Sisley proposed to conduct a research, but like the previous failed researches before her, she was denied by the federal law. Despite it being legal in many states, marijuana remains one of the country’s tightest-controlled substances. It is considered a Schedule I drug, which means it has no proven medical value. Conducting study on this substance requires an approval from a range of federal departments, which is hard to come by.
“Mainstream physicians won’t come near the stuff, even if they hear that it works, because without the research, without it approved in legitimate practice guidelines, they are going to worry about their license and their professionalism,” notes Sisley. “That’s why it is key to have randomized control trials for this to work.”
5 diseases that Marijuana may have an impact on
Even without substantial proof, some physicians cannot simply discredit marijuana of its reported benefits. They may not apply the treatment into their practice, but some believe that marijuana can improve the condition of patients with certain diseases. Here are 5 of them.
AIDS/HIV –A human study of 10 HIV-positive patients showed that those who smoked marijuana have better appetite, mood and sleeping practices. In a separate study of 50 HIV-positive individuals, it was seen that marijuana smokers experienced less neuropathic pain.
Cancer – Medical marijuana extracts may kill certain cancer cells, as indicated by a number of animal studies. They may also stop cancer growth and improve the effects of radiation on cancer cells.
Epilepsy – A study of 213 patients shows that utilizing marijuana extracts may reduce the incidence of seizures in children and adults.
Glaucoma – Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of marijuana’s main ingredients, is reported to lower eye and blood pressure, thereby helping preserve optic nerve function and health.
Multiple sclerosis – Few animal and human studies have indicated that marijuana may prevent muscle spasms, pain, tremors and stiffness.