Cannabis is used in various ways. It is smoked, vaporized, eaten raw, baked into cookies, used in oral sprays, added to oils, and taken as a liquid extract. Cannabis edibles like marijuana brownies and snack bars are becoming more commonplace as laws and attitudes change. When smoked, cannabis produces a distinct aroma and has a unique flavor.
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According to recent studies, Marijuana should be the first-line-treatment for patients with nerve pain. Marijuana has the ability to alleviate neuropathic pain, a notoriously difficult-to- treat type of nerve pain associated with cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, spinal cord injury and many other debilitating conditions. Research shows that cannabis consistently reduces pain levels to a degree that is as good or better than currently available medications. Unlike dangerous prescription pain-killers -- which are highly addictive -- cannabis is unlikely to cause addiction or overdose. Read more about this study at NORML.org.
Is it illegal? Decriminalized? Legal for medical use? Legal for recreation use? Where does your state stand in the cannabis prohibition debate? Marijuana legalization (including recreational use) has been adopted (either in part or in full) by voter initiatives in a number of US jurisdictions: Colorado (2012), Washington (2012), Alaska (2014), Oregon (2014), Washington, DC (2014), California (2016), Maine (2016), Massachusetts (2016), and Nevada (2016). These states, especially Colorado as the first to legalize marijuana, will go into the history books!
This is great news for many patients that get relief from pain and other symptoms of disease. Still, in many cities, the use of medicinal cannabis is frowned upon. Medical grade cannabis may be hard to get causing people to turn to the black market.
Many people are hoping that marijuana prohibition will soon be a thing of the past. They point out that cannabis is an herbal medicine, not a dangerous drug. Other people, such as big drug companies and drug cartels, lobby hard to keep marijuana illegal.
Headache pain, chronic back pain, pain from various cancers, pain from glaucoma, and pain stemming from neurological problems are the most common reasons that people ask their doctors to write prescriptions for cannabis. People also use cannabis for muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis, nausea resulting from cancer chemotherapy, and poor appetite caused by chronic illnesses such as HIV. Cannabis shows promise in the treatment of Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, Tourette syndrome, bipolar disorder, anorexia, Alzheimer's, dementia, depression, chronic stress, insomnia, PMS, asthma, and some digestive diseases.
The Schedule One classification of cannabis puts the herb right up there with heroin and LSD. This makes the study of medical cannabis difficult. It also causes users and providers of the herb to be branded as criminals.
Scientists have proven that cannabis helps the body's natural chemicals work better when fighting pain and uncomfortable symptoms like nausea. It gets pretty technical reading about neuron sensors and brain receptors, but the research is solid.
The genus Cannabis contains two species which produce psychoactive cannabinoids and are used in herbal medicine. Both Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa are very useful in alternative medicine. Too bad they are listed as Schedule One medicinal plants in the US (along with heroin and cocaine) making them illegal to possess. A third species, Cannabis ruderalis, has few psychogenic properties but is useful for making hemp rope.
Cannabis contains hundreds of known compounds and at least eighty of them interact with receptors in the brain. As of 2012, more than 20 cannabinoids were being studied by the U.S. FDA. The most psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is what makes people high or stoned.
The Cannabis plant has a history of medicinal use dating back thousands of years and across many cultures. Since ancient humans used hemp seed as food, it was quite natural for them to also discover that the plant contained medicinal properties. Ancient Egyptian scrolls from 1550 B.C. mention medical cannabis. The writings describe adding cannabis to suppositories for relieving the pain of hemorrhoids. In ancient India, cannabis was used for treating insomnia, headaches, gastrointestinal disorders, and pain. The Ancient Greeks used cannabis leaves to treat nose bleeds and cannabis seeds to expel tapeworms. In the medieval Islamic world, physicians used cannabis to treat edema, epilepsy, inflammation, and pain.
Even though it is illegal in China, cannabis is still listed as one of the 50 fundamental herbs in traditional Chinese medicine. The Chinese use cannabis as a herbal remedy for many conditions including constipation, gout, rheumatism, and absent-mindedness.
Cannabis is an easy to grow, annual, flowering plant that bears both male and female flowers that are pollinated by the wind. Cannabis prefers full sun and rich soil but will grow in almost any garden. Check local laws before growing your own.
* In many states, it is still illegal to grow cannabis, use cannabis, sell cannabis, or transport it across state lines. For more information about marijuana laws in your state, see http://norml.org.
"The only way to really learn about herbal medicine is to touch and smell herbs, taste them, use them daily, and grow them if possible. Herbal medicine is a way of life. It is not a quick fix." ... Janice Boling, herbalist, web designer, writer, photographer
* Note - the information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
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