What Conditions Can Medical Marijuana Help Treat?
How it works
Could you ever imagine being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness like cancer, HIV/Aids, multiple sclerosis, or even seizures? Wouldn’t you want something to help ease the pain or give you an appetite? These are some of the key issues that medical marijuana can address. At present, medical marijuana is a hotly debated topic, not only regarding its legality but also its recreational use. Rather than worrying about the complexities of the law, the focus should be on how medical marijuana can alleviate pain, suffering, and improve the quality of life for patients with unimaginable illnesses. Furthermore, this product may be potentially superior to typical pain medicines we use today, such as opioids and NSAIDs. Above all, it’s crucial to consider why medical marijuana is the right choice when choosing a product for battling such dreadful diseases and easing their side effects. Utilizing the utilitarian approach before deciding whether using medical marijuana is a better option than other medicines, we need to assess both aspects, the positives and negatives of medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana can assist with a plethora of diseases for multiple reasons. The two main chemicals in medical marijuana are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC); these are the chemicals that impact the brain and have a pain-relieving effect. As stated in “23 health benefits of marijuana” by Kevin Loria on March 7th, 2018, chronic pain is the most common reason why people use medical marijuana. Since medical marijuana is often smoked, one could argue that this will have some side effect on the lungs. However, Loria states, “There’s a fair amount of evidence that marijuana does no harm to the lungs unless you also smoke tobacco.” In fact, research shows that it may increase lung capacity. Another benefit is reducing nausea caused by chemotherapy and increasing appetite. My mother-in-law, diagnosed with stage 4 lung and brain cancer, has had to undergo radiation and chemotherapy often. We were worried about her losing weight, as she is already a small woman, weighing around 115 pounds. Shortly after a few rounds of chemo and radiation, she decided to try medical marijuana. We quickly noticed a large increase in her appetite. Months down the line, we are satisfied with her progress; she gained weight while fighting cancer. Pain medicine wasn’t a good option for her as they negatively affected her mood. This is just one reason why using medical marijuana in place of other options, such as pain medicine, could be the right decision to make. However, when deciding whether something is the right or wrong choice, we should also consider the potential negatives of medical marijuana.
How it works
Although marijuana has benefits for medicinal purposes, we must look at both sides of the argument. For instance, contrary to Kevin Loria’s assertion that marijuana has no effect on the lungs, Dr. David B. Samadi articulates a different stance in his article, “Pot is dangerous, not funny? A doctor tells us why.” He states, “Marijuana smoke irritates the lungs, causing damage with an increased risk of both chronic bronchitis and lung infections.” However, Dr. Samadi did not clarify whether the research was conducted with patients who also used tobacco products in tandem with marijuana. Moreover, marijuana can increase heart rate, boosting the risk of heart attacks, and can induce hallucinations and paranoia. These are merely some of the potential negative side effects that marijuana can have on the body.
Before deciding whether marijuana should be preferred over, let’s say, opioids as a form of medication, we need to evaluate the side effects of pain killers. Common adverse reactions include nausea, vomiting, constipation, and most significantly, high susceptibility to addiction. Frequently, we hear anecdotes of individuals who, having undergone an emergency surgery and requiring postoperative analgesics, have become addicted to these pain medications. As of March 2018, more than 115 people per day were reported to have died from opioid overdose. Although marijuana can also be addictive, it does not have the same fatality rate from overdoses. This consideration would be critical when determining the best type of medication for pain relief while battling a severe illness.