When one hears the term marijuana, the recreational use of it, is what comes to mind. But marijuana is not just used for a ‘high’; it is used for medical purposes too, especially on some cancer patients to combat pain and nausea. Termed as ‘medical marijuana’, it is used on cancer patients in those states in the US where it is allowed by law.
What is medical marijuana? As per Wikipedia, medical cannabis refers to the parts of the herb cannabis used as a physician-recommended form of medicine or herbal therapy. In fact cannabis is one ingredient, which is frequently used, in traditional Chinese medications.
There are no surprises that the use of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes evokes strong reactions. Though, the use of cannabis for medical purposes is not new.
Normal.Org reports of how modern research shows that cannabis has a wide range of clinical applications, like pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Not just in case of cancer patients, marijuana has also successfully been used as an appetite-stimulant for patients suffering from HIV and dementia. As of now, 60 U.S. and international health organizations are in favor of granting support to patients who are in immediate need of medicinal marijuana.
TIME reports the case of one such medical marijuana user, who shared her positive experience with the herb. Medical marijuana was given to Mykayla Comstock, a 7 –year old suffering from lymphoblastic leukemia (blood cancer).
Comstock’s mother, Erin Purchase, is one of the believers in the effects of marijuana. She has been giving her a gram of oral cannabis oil every day to her daughter to overcome the intense pain and nausea, which her daughter was suffering from post chemotherapy.
Bone marrow transplant had been advised for Comstock. But while she was taking the medical marijuana, she went into remission in August. Cannabis, continues to ease Comstock’s pain and nausea and her mother plans to continue giving her the drug during the additional two to three years of chemotherapy she still faces, since Purchase is convinced that it is the anti-cancer properties of marijuana which egged on the remission.
Though Comstock’s attending doctor is aware of her using medical marijuana, this aspect is not discussed as part of her medical therapy.
Advocates of medical marijuana, like Erin Purchase argue that if opioids (morphine and oxycontin) are acceptable to treat cancer pain in children, then so should marijuana be allowed.
There is no denying that more research is needed in the field of medical marijuana. Till then it is the patients and caregivers and advocates of medical marijuana who will continue to face difficult decisions with regard to its use.
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