The start of legalizing medical marijuana in Minnesota began last Monday. The initial step for patients is to be certified that one has a condition approved for treatment by this medication. Pain is not a condition approved for marijuana in Minnesota. Once certified as having an appropriate condition, the process in Minnesota applying for the medication can begin, and then obtaining the approved medication can occur. One can assume, the medical marijuana oils obtained in Minnesota, will be far different from recreational use marijuana.
In June, 2015, the lead National Geographic article is titled “Weed, The New Science of Marijuana”. It is an excellent review of the knowledge and science of cannabis. The use of marijuana dates back to at least to 3000 B.C.E., but did not become demonized until 1970 when it became a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it had no valid medical purpose. The truth about marijuana is much more complex. The study of marijuana really began only in the early 1960’s compared to the early 1800’s when opium and cocaine became known. Those drugs, which were once taboo, led us to the discovery of morphine and coco leaves. Will marijuana follow a similar path?
The Science Behind Marijuana
In 1963, a young organic chemist by the name of Raphael Mechoulam began experimenting with the compounds in marijuana. After isolating a number of compounds, Mechoulam tested the compounds on monkeys. Only one compound produced a significant effect. As Mechoulam wrote, “normally the rhesus monkey is quite an aggressive individual,” but when injected with this compound, the monkeys became quite calm.
Flash forward a few years, and Mechoulam’s research is helping 20,000 patients get treatment in his home country of Israel for a variety of conditions, including Crohn’s Disease, glaucoma, Tourette’s Syndrome and asthma. Mechoulman says he doesn’t believe the substance should be legalized for recreational use, but he hopes the stigma of studying the compounds for medical research fades now that more people seeing the medical benefits it possesses.
“We have just scratched the surface,” he says, “and I greatly regret that I don’t have another lifetime to devote to this field, for we may well discover that cannabinoids are involved in some way in all human diseases.”
In fact, researchers are using marijuana to combat cancers as we speak. Research in Spain found that some rats with brain tumors were cured of their condition after being injected with THC. The results are quite encouraging, but as biochemist Manuel Guzmán noted, “the problem is, mice are not humans. We do not know if this can be extrapolated to humans at all.”
Think about that for a second. We may have found another potential ally in the war on cancer, but there’s still so much hate for the drug that it’s impeding medical progress. We need to study these compounds in order to provide the best care possible for our patients.
Related source: National Geographic