Cannabis & Medicine
Not many things can make physicians shuffle uncomfortably in their seats (we've seen it all) but weed?...It's not just the politicians and the public who harbor mixed feelings about this plant and the validity of its medicinal value.
What are all these hang-ups? Here are some of the questions we doctors and researchers have, and which are often shared by the general public:
Cannabis, THC, and CBD
The cannabis of medical marijuana has more than 100 active ingredients, and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the one that causes the so-called “high” feeling that we've heard about. CBD (cannabidiol) however, results in no altered consciousness. Even without the high however, there is considerable anecdotal evidence reporting many benefits from CBD, such as relief from anxiety, insomnia, pain and seizures.
Cannabis also appears to ease a lot of neuropathic pain, including that from multiple sclerosis, which is great news because all the other options are little better than drinking cat's urine (which I am not recommending by the way). Being able to live a fully functional daily life is key for patients who are either disabled from lack of pain relief, or sedated from too much old-school pain relief. Cannabis to the rescue. There are reports of its usefulness in fibromyalgia, endometriosis, interstitial cystitis and other conditions that make most physicians groan and moan, myself included, when we see it on the patient's chart before we walk into the room. We groan because it's so difficult to treat and we feel almost powerless at being anything better than a kindly listener!
The number one use for cannabis is indeed pain control and, although it's not strong enough for the most severe pains (such as a fractured femur or neck, or recovering from major surgery), it has been found to be rather effective for a lot of chronic pain, especially with advancing age.
Cannabis is categorically safer than opiates and it's a good substitute for over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen, if people can't take them due to ulcers or kidney problems. You can't overdose on cannabis and it's arguably far less, if at all, addictive, compared with many other drugs, legal or not.
Cannabis also appears to serve as an effective muscle relaxant as well as remedy for reducing tremors, such as in Parkinson's disease.
Being an appetite stimulant, nausea and chemo-related weight loss also seem to be qualifying conditions for cannabis.
Patients with PTSD also report dramatic improvements in their symptoms and this condition may be the biggest lobby for federal decriminalization which, in my opinion, is inevitable because elected officials seem to support things that will gain them votes, and the mental health of our veterans is important to the majority of people.
Muscle wasting in HIV and AIDS also seems to be helped by cannabis, as does IBS and Crohn's Disease.
The State of Missouri has declared other “chronic conditions as a qualifier for physician certification, which seems to be rather an interesting blanket description.
Given all the above reports and claims however, the real tests of effectiveness can only really be proven after a few years of well-controlled scientific studies, so my physician friends should behave more as clinicians rather than scientists. As you're aware, we were advising people to quit smoking tobacco long before the studies proved any harm. A clinician has that liberty to make recommendations, whereas a scientist does not, the latter waiting for compelling proof before he is willing to make any bold announcements. I do understand that some, if not most, doctors need measurable and substantial proofs before making any recommendations for treatment or management plan. However, it may behoove us to remember that many of our patients cannot wait years for this proof to finally appear.
Patients, Please Talk With Your Doctor. Doctors, Please Talk With Your Patients.
Reminiscent of when Viagra first came out, a lot of patients really want to know more about the medicinal uses of cannabis, but are afraid or embarrassed to raise the matter with their doctor. It may even be more taboo than erectile dysfunction was (I still remember the ads on the radio encouraging men to speak with their doctor about it). This won't happen with cannabis of course, until it's federally legal, because you can't advertise federally illegal drugs on TV.
Unfortunately, there are some in the medical community who are either in disagreement with the benefits of cannabis or consider it unscientific or unethical in some way without any scientifically-derived reason. One’s ethics will of course be dictated by which belief system one holds dear, if any.
Patients are afraid of being scolded, criticized, chided or judged, so there are some who won't even tell their doctors.
My approach is that honesty is the best policy. Don't hesitate to have the conversation with your doctor for fear of their reaction in knowing you are using cannabis, or that you’ve been wondering if it might be useful for your condition. They may surprise you and be extremely supportive. If you also tell them that quite frankly, you consider the use of cannabis as part of your medical regimen, and that at the very least, you expect your primary care physician to have studied it enough to discuss it and make a recommendation, I don't think you'll get much push-back if any.
My unsolicited words of advice for my fellow physicians is that, whether you like it, love it, hate it or just don't know enough about it, your patients are either using it already or they will soon. Get yourself educated on it, keep an open mind about it and don't judge your patients. They're trusting you to be an oracle of wisdom with regard to their health. If you judge or dismiss, you really are letting them down. If you are utterly against cannabis, tell your patient that you're not ready to prescribe it and that perhaps they should look for someone who is. Otherwise, it's just going to be awkward for both of you when they next visit.
Maintaining the trust from our patients requires us doctors to be honest with them, just as we expect them to be honest with us. The doctor-patient relationship is sacred and our patients' lives hinge on this relationship being very open and clear, without anyone having any problem discussing anything. If we consider it our professional duty to willingly discuss sexually transmitted disease, alcoholism and erectile dysfunction, and the various managements for those issues, then surely a condition that might benefit from cannabis, even just anecdotally, shouldn't be any different.
It is true that we don't [yet] have sufficient scientific evidence to recommend medical marijuana to our patients, but it is also true that we doctors should always be willing to discuss any issue with our patients.
9/3/2020 04:55:24 am
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9/10/2020 06:05:52 am
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6/3/2021 01:32:02 am
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I like that you pointed out that one must have an open mind about trying cannabis for their health issues. I will keep that in mind since I am really interested in the benefits that it can give. Hopefully, it can help me with the chronic pain I have been having on my right leg once I can buy one that I can trust.
7/27/2021 12:26:46 pm
Thank you for talking about how it is good to talk to your doctor about cannabis. I was diagnosed with something last year that I think could be helped by marijuana. I will find a reputable medical marijuana prescription doctor in my area.
9/5/2021 12:46:32 pm
I appreciate that this post mentioned that when looking for an authentic marijuana card, it is important that we ensure to obtain it from a certified medical practitioner. It makes sense as it ensures that the card is legal and authentic. I will definitely keep this information in mind when I look for a doctor who can facilitate me in my quest.
10/11/2021 07:56:59 am
A lot of cannabis users already claimed that it is very helpful and has a lot of benefits.
1/18/2022 05:58:15 pm
I like how you mentioned that marijuana can help you be comfortable. I remember when a friend of mine is hoping to consult a medical marijuana doctor to be enlightened as his brother has an epileptic seizure and asked me if I have any idea what is the best option to do. Thanks to this informative article and I’ll be sure to tell him that it will be much better if he consults a trusted medical marijuana doctor as they can answer all his inquiries and will provide great treatment for his brother.
4/25/2022 03:59:19 am
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5/9/2022 07:13:03 am
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8/2/2022 11:49:57 pm
It got me when you said that there are dramatic improvements in PTSD patients and their symptoms with medical cannabis. With that in mind, it would be a good idea to look for medical cannabis flower that can be recommended to my best friend. This can be the answer to her issues with her mental state which was affected by the relationship she was in for the past four years.
9/29/2022 12:07:48 pm
I liked how you wrote that medical marijuana is an effective muscle relaxant. That's probably why my friend wants to use medical marijuana to relax his body. I should advise him to look for marijuana products that are certified.
11/9/2022 01:38:06 am
Thank you for your information about CBD . This is very important for me and I'm very interested in your information.
12/8/2022 05:58:21 pm
Thanks so much for talking about the different advantages of medical marijuana. my grandmother has bad anxiety and she's been thinking about applying for a medical card. We've been looking into figuring out how to do that and finding some professionals to help us through the process.
12/12/2022 05:30:27 am
Thank you very much for sharing such knowledgeable information!
12/13/2022 02:31:57 pm
I have an aunt who recently started her medical treatment, and she's in a lot of pain, so we want to help her somehow. It's great that you elaborated on medical cannabis and how it'd help with pain and anxiety, so I'll make sure my aunt knows about this immediately. Thank you for the advice on cannabis medicine and how it helps treat different diseases.
12/19/2022 12:21:07 pm
Great tips! Will cite this article on our next blog post at https://www.high-committee.co.uk
3/19/2023 09:39:30 am
Cannabis holds a lot of potential benefits. However, people who are planning to use it should be educated first on the proper consumption of it.
4/12/2023 12:43:04 pm
I am a regular reader of your blog, Amazing content with proper examples. Thank you, admin.
4/26/2023 12:17:09 am
I found it interesting when you said that a proper discussion could help provide a proper understanding of the best benefits of marijuana. A few nights ago, a coworker informed me he hoped to consult a medical marijuana doctor to enlighten him as his brother have epileptic seizure. He asked if I had thoughts on the best option to have a medical marijuana card. I love this helpful medical treatment tips article. I'll tell him that it will be much better if he consults a trusted medical marijuana doctor as they can provide details about the process.
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