Marijuana as Medicine
In 2000 the National Academy of Sciences published a report entitled "Marijuana As Medicine?: The Science beyond the Controversy" and again in 2017 they issued a new report entitled "The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research."
This latest version shows that research is mounting and hard science is moving forward and slowly science is winning out this time. That being said its also still obvious that the end conclusions are extremely conservative and the burden of proof required to change those attitudes are still quite large.
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Back To Their Report FindingsIn recent years there's been renewed interest in Cannabis and its many constituent compounds being used as medicine. In 1996 voters in California legalized Cannabis for Medical use and since that time 27 more states plus Washington D.C. have approved the medical use of Cannabis or as its more frequently known, "Medical Marijuana". These state ballot initiatives, and the wider discussion they've spawned about appropriate national policies regulating Cannabis, have been sharply divisive. Many advocates of personal choice have a growing distrust of scientific or pharmaceutical medicine. While many others are seeking healthier alternatives more in line with their values around health and life. Some have dismissed medical marijuana as just subterfuge attempting to enable liberalization, which they fear will spread the plague of drug abuse.
Scientific studies however are validating the medical use of this plant and its compounds even while many ultra conservatives still feel this is just another attempt to legitimize the drug as safe and effective and fear that this will cause more experimentation by susceptible young people.
Both sides cite scientific evidence to support their views yet more and more science is coming out every week, mostly in favor of the plant and demonstrating its numerous valid medical uses. Finally the propaganda is slowly losing ground to the shear amount of new real scientific data that keeps coming out about what this plant can do.
In the first 1999 study, the team sought and obtained opinions from both sides of the debate, listened to many personal experiences from public hearings, cannabis clubs, and correspondence; anecdotes and opinions were also carefully weighed. The team was also informed by dozens of consulting scientists, particularly those engaged in the striking recent advances in the molecular biology, pharmacology, neurochemistry, and social science fields.
Exhaustive literature searches led to the citation of over 500 selected scientific papers related to the broad scope of the study. Even then there was remarkable consensus about the fast-moving science that suggested the potential of cannabinoid drugs for medical use.
Now 18 years later There are far more convincing data about proven medical benefits. Yet they still do not acknowledge many illness's that there is ample evidence that it can be used to treat such as Parkinson's Disease and Epilepsy just to name two which we have witnessed first hand.
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There is still an enduring believe that Symptoms if not diseases can be relieved, but that for most patients there are more effective approved medicines today from Big Pharma.
On the other hand, they are finally acknowledging that science is suggesting there are many potential benefits of certain cannabinoids. Yet they still are focused on methods that can be delivered without the hazards of smoking in general or in combination with other drugs using different receptor systems in the brain. That being said, in the 2017 report they finally state that "There is moderate evidence of no statistical association between cannabis use and the Incidence of lung cancer".
Both of the reports recommend continuing research to elaborate that potentials and thorough epidemiological studies to define suspected risks from marijuana.
Review of the science behind marijuana and cannabinoid's convinces us that the often emotional debate so far has been miscast and that rhere are specific regulatory barriers, including the classification of cannabis as a Schedule I substance, that impede the advancement of cannabis and cannabinoid research.
Medical use of potent, controlled psychoactive drugs has not led to their abuse. Rather than focusing on drug control policy, the medical marijuana debate should really be about the promise of future drug development. Some day very soon Big Pharma will have a long list of synthetic derivatives that come from the Cannabis Plant, Today they have already made several, namely: Sativex®, Cannador®, Dronabinol with the commercial name of Marinol®, Nabilone, with commercial name of Cesamet® and Ajulemic acid, another synthetic THC analog
Marijuana As Medicine?: The Science Beyond the Controversy (2000) https://www.nap.edu/catalog/9586/marijuana-as-medicine-the-science-beyond-the-controversy
The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research (2017) https://www.nap.edu/catalog/24625/the-health-effects-of-cannabis-and-cannabinoids-the-current-state
Cannabinoid derivatives and the pharmacological management of pain http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S1806-00132016000100047&script=sci_arttext&tlng=en