Medicinal Cannabis – let’s get the facts

Medicinal Cannabis – let’s get the facts

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The current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) includes two articles that review studies of marijuana’s medicinal use, and come to the same conclusions about the applications that are best supported by the existing evidence: treatment of chronic pain, neuropathic pain and spasticity.

There is also substantial evidence that THC, marijuana’s main active ingredient, is effective in relieving nausea, and restoring appetite.

The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health looked for evidence of cannabinoids’ effectiveness in treating nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, loss of appetite associated with HIV/AIDS, chronic pain spasticity due to multiple sclerosis or paraplegia, depression, anxiety disorder, sleep disorder, psychoses, glaucoma and Tourette’s syndrome.

Various benefits were found – some strong and some weak, but as the legislators and medical experts argue about the process of evaluation, many Australians are breaking the law and using medicinal cannabis, because the results for them have been outstanding. In most cases, medical interventions have made no difference.

Quite simply, the laws need to change: based on marijuana’s remarkable safety compared with most pharmaceuticals, the long history of its use as a medicine, and governments of Western countries obstructing research aimed at verifying the plant’s therapeutic potential.

Patients seek the right to treat themselves with a plant they find useful, regardless of whether rigorous research has confirmed what they believe they have learned from their own experience.

This, in my view, is a basic human right, although exercising it may entail of lot of trial and error, not to mention unscientific conclusions.

There is nothing wrong with pointing out the latter, as long as you don’t insists on using force to prevent people from acting on them.

Medicinal cannabis has been used in Europe for years. Are Europeans all that different from us, Australians?


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