Emerging Therapeutic Uses for Medicinal Cannabis
Cannabis has been a part of humanity’s existence almost since its beginning. There are written accounts about the therapeutic uses of cannabis that date back to about 2800 B.C. and evidence that ancient cultures used cannabis for pharmaceutical, psychoactive, and divinatory needs1. In medicines that were patented for sale in the U.S. around 1900, cannabis was among the three leading ingredients that were active in addition to alcohol and opiates.
After the Mexican Revolution occurred in 1910, the introduction of cannabis as a recreational drug to the American lifestyle by the surge of Mexican immigrants coming to the U.S. All of this led to the labeling of cannabis as the “Marijuana Menace”, and the presumption that cannabis was responsible for an uptick in violent crime. The tables were turned officially in 1937, when, against the recommendation by the American Medical Association, the “Marijuana Tax Act” was passed by Congress, which outlawed the use and possession of the drug from that point on.
Fast forward to today where efforts to change the classification of cannabis as a Schedule I drug by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency have been unsuccessful. Drugs or other substances classified as Schedule I are defined as drugs where there’s a high likelihood for abuse, no sanctioned medical application, and extreme potential for abuse and dependence2. However, the support of emerging therapeutic uses for medical cannabis to treat a number of patients with many different conditions and symptoms is leading to an increasingly longer list than what was known just a few years ago.
Where are we now?
As more and more clinical research is taking place to understand medicinal cannabis’ surprising symptom and disease-fighting benefits, the list continues to grow with conditions that can benefit in some way by medicinal cannabis. The list of conditions that currently benefit from medicinal cannabis are3:
- Huntington’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Tourette Syndrome
- Chronic Pain
- Sleep Apnea
- GI Disorders
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Hepatitis C
It’s now known that our bodies have cannabinoid receptor sites in the neurological, circulatory, endocrine, digestive, and musculoskeletal networks4. Cannabis is continually proving that it has undeniable potential as a therapeutic drug.
While it isn’t a miracle drug or everyone’s answer to curing illness, the emerging therapeutic uses for medical cannabis are there to take plenty of advantage of, if only the obstacles to deeper diving research and study were removed.
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