I think the medical uses for marijuana are absolute.
–Retired Neurosurgeon Dr. Thomas Carlstrom
Imagine living with a debilitating illness such as glaucoma, epilepsy, or multiple sclerosis. You’re slowly losing your vision; you have spontaneous seizures all times of the day; muscle spasms and numbness plague your body. Your doctor’s best way to curtail these symptoms is medication for the rest of your life and physical therapy. Everyone should be entitled to a quality life without the aid of artificial drugs to keep their body chemistry in line. What if marijuana can be used medicinally to help treat the previous illnesses as well as arthritis, HIV and AIDS? Here are some afflictions that marijuana helps with.
1. Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis, commonly known as MS, is a neurological disease that affects the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerve. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the disease is most prevalent with people in the 20-40 age group, although children and older adults develop it too. It’s not generally known how some develop it, but a few of symptoms are muscle weakness, spasticity, motor and vision loss. The article “Multiple Sclerosis” from Norml.org suggests that a study done in San Diego determined that”… inhaled cannabis significantly reduced objective measures of pain intensity and spasticity in patients with MS…”
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that induces seizures. Surgery and medication are often prescribed to those whose seizures are out of control. CNN reported the case of the Jordan Lyles, whose mother moved to Colorado after marijuana was legalized. Lyles was on seven different medications to curtail her seizures with no avail. However, taking marijuana in a liquid form reduced her seizures from “300 a week to two or three a month.”
Glaucoma is the buildup of pressure in the eye that sometimes leads to blindness. Operations and laser surgery are viable for some, but that’s not always the case with others. Dave Smith of the International Business Times cites that studies in the 1970s show marijuana usage with glaucoma patients alleviated tension and pressure from their eyes.
4. HIV and AIDS patients.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV, is a virus that attacks a person’s immune system. It’s often transmitted from the swapping of bodily fluids or blood such as engaging in unprotected sex or a blood transfusion. Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, or AIDS, is the final stage of HIV. There is no cure for either one. According to the Canadian AIDS Society, 14 to 37 percent of HIV and AIDS patients have used marijuana to help regain their appetite as well manage their weight, anxiety, pain, and to relax. It also helps relieve nausea and vomiting.
Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that stiffens a person’s joints (i.e. hips, hands, knees, neck, and back) and is accompanied by swelling and redness. According to Thomas C. Weiss’s article “Medical Marijuana for Arthritis” marijuana helps people cope with arthritic pain and tests have proven that medical marijuana loosens joints and increases mobility.
Marijuana is still a controversial topic, especially with the consequences of using it. There are just as many pros as cons. But, from the evidence above, when marijuana is used properly and in moderation, the outcomes can be beneficial.
By Arika Elizenberry