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Turning Marijuana into More of a Medicine

Turning Marijuana into More of a Medicine

Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 12/10/2010 in Medical Marijuana Research

Even though studies have shown that smoking medical marijuana has pain-killing, muscle-calming, nausea-controlling and appetite-boosting effects that benefit patients suffering from countless medical conditions, opponents of medical marijuana still hold on to one argument: medicine is not smoked, so then how can marijuana be considered a medicine?

Researchers today are answering that question by breaking cannabis—which has more than 400 chemicals, many of which are medicinal—down to it’s basic components, in an attempt to make it more of a medicine. Or at least a more modern notion of what a medicine is supposed to be. After all, the landmark report on marijuana published by the National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine in 1999 did state that the future of marijuana as a medicine “lies in its isolated components.”

And certainly, when the FDA approves medical marijuana-based prescription drugs in the future, the idea of getting marijuana in its whole form will be a distant memory. And the idea of only some physicians in certain states being medical marijuana doctors will be a thing of the past, too. When marijuana-based drugs are developed, every doctor will be able to prescribe them to their patients.

Once scientists isolate the therapeutic cannabinoids in marijuana, we will see marijuana be administered in pills, lozenges, skin patches and sprays. This future isn’t too far off, especially considering that the British firm GW Pharmaceuticals, is doing clinical trials in the United States on a drug called Sativex, a marijuana-derived mouth spray used for a treatment for cancer pain that has already been approved in Canada and Great Britain and Spain.

These developments are in large part because for the first time in 20 years, scientists are able to do clinical trials of medical marijuana. For example, in California, the state government allowed for the University of California at San Diego’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research to research about a half-dozen placebo-controlled trials to determine whether marijuana works effectively as a painkiller for HIV and multiple sclerosis, and for patients who are suffering from nerve damage. And while many researchers expected mixed results, every study has shown positive results.

Regardless of the delivery method, medical marijuana is and will always be medicinal. The earliest accounts of it being used as a medicine date back to 2737 B.C. And with the research currently being conducted, it will certainly be in our future for centuries to come.

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