Despite protestations from countless governments that ‘more research is required’, people have known about the medical properties of Cannabis for thousands of years, and a massive amount of knowledge exists for anyone wishing to find it and use it.
The Chinese, Indian (Ayurvedic) and Tibetan literature on the subject goes back to at least the 10th Century. In China as early as 2737 BC it was used by herbalists in the court of Emperor Shen. The Tibetans call it ‘Sman-mchog rgyal-po’ which translates as ‘King of the best of medicines’.
In Ayurveda it is called ‘Harikaki’ and described as being;
“useful to human beings like a mother’; At times even a mother becomes angry but ‘Haritaki’ never causes any harm to a person who takes it”.
Between 1840 and 1900 more than 100 papers were published in the western medical literature recommending cannabis for various illnesses and discomforts. More recently in 2000 a survey of 1000 British doctors found that 8 out of 10 said they would prescribe cannabis if they were allowed to (Medix Survey 2000).
Public opinion has been virtually unanimous on the subject. After the House of Lords Report recommending the legalisation of medical cannabis (1998) one opinion poll found 86% opposed to the Governments refusal to act; another found 92% supporting the Lords. Yet the use of cannabis is still illegal in Britain and almost every country in the world. How can any civilised society do this, and deny the sick such a useful medicine? We use opium based medicines so why not cannabis, which is not addictive? It is not even possible to take a lethal dose of cannabis.
Meanwhile misprescribed or overprescribed ‘legal’ medicines are responsible for at least 100,000 deaths each year in the US alone (‘Worst Pills Best Pills’ (2005 edition) by Dr. Sidney Wolfe).
One thing is for sure; the worldwide prohibition of medical cannabis is one of the most aggressive and extreme examples of a general campaign against herbal medicine in general, openly backed by the drug companies. They operate massive and constant lobbying operations at the highest levels. Their pharmaceutical grip on the planet is threatened by the reemergence of very useful medical herbs like cannabis, especially if such herbs were to be freely available in an open market which they would not control.
Ironically these same companies are in fact the largest growers of herbs; they need them for their products to work.
Ailments for which the medical use of cannabis may be beneficial include:
Addiction, Arthritis, Appetite Loss, Nausea, Cancer Chemotherapy, AIDS Wasting Syndrome, Nausea From Cancer, Chemotherapy, Glaucoma, Multiple Sclerosis, Depression, Parkinson’s Disease, Movement Disorders, Dystonia, Asthma, Brain Injury/Stroke, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Depression, Mental Illness, Epilepsy, Fibromyalgia, High Blood Pressure/Hypertension, Migraine, Nail Patella Syndrome, Schizophrenia, Tourette’s Syndrome.
Below are notes on some of the most common medical uses of cannabis.
In 1994 the ‘Times’ reported;
‘The demand for Cannabis among British pensioners has stunned doctors, police and suppliers. The old people use the drug to ease the pain of such ailments as arthritis and rheumatism. Many are running afoul of the law for the first time in their lives as they try to obtain suppliers.’
Arthritis affects the joints and surrounding areas, including muscles, membrane linings and cartilage. It causes painful inflammation, heat, swelling, pain, redness of skin and tenderness in the affected areas. Cortisone-type drugs provide dramatic pain relief for short periods but decrease in effectiveness if used over time. The side effects of these drugs include nausea, restlessness, insomnia, dizziness, headache, depression and mood swings, irregular heartbeat and menstruation problems. Several cannabinoids have both analgesic (pain-relieving) and anti-inflammatory effects, a combination particularly helpful for arthritic people. Cannabidiol (CBD), one of the main active ingredients in cannabis is a very effective anti-inflammatory agent. Cannabis can be smoked or eaten to relieve the general pain, inflammation and discomfort of arthritis. Cannabis poultices can be applied topically to troubled areas. Cannabis in alcohol or as a cream can also be rubbed on the skin.
Appetite Loss, Nausea, Cancer Chemotherapy, AIDS Wasting Syndrome:
One of the most outstanding medical values of cannabis is the role it can play in restoring a person’s relationship to food. Cannabis is remarkably powerful in combating nausea and vomiting, making it possible to consume food and hold it down. It is also an extraordinary stimulant of appetite itself; a condition known by cannabis users as ‘the munchies’. Conditions characterised by nausea, vomiting, appetite problems and severe weight loss include AIDS Wasting Syndrome, kidney failure, tuberculosis, hyperemesis gravidarum (magnified form of morning sickness) and anorexia and the side effects of chemotherapy.
Nausea From Cancer Chemotherapy:
Nausea and vomiting, which can last for days after a single treatment and be so violent as to threaten to break bones and rupture the aesophagus, are common side effects of the chemotherapies used in treating cancer. Many patients develop such an aversion to the site or odor of food that they stop eating altogether and lose the will to live. Up to 40% of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy do not respond to the standard treatment for preventing vomiting. These use expensive ‘antiemetics’ drugs such as ‘Zofran’ (which must be administered by intravenous drip and cost £250+ a treatment). ‘Marinol’ which uses THC was approved after much resistance in the USA in 1986. It is effective in many cases where other drugs have failed. Smoking or eating cannabis also seems to provide relief where standard treatments fail. The effectiveness of cannabis in treating nausea and vomiting from cancer chemotherapy is dose-related. The higher the blood levels of THC, the more complete the relief of vomiting. Lester Grinspoon, M.D. has calculated that using cannabis to treat chemotherapy nausea would cost about one percent as much as treatment with Zofran.
The usual treatment is eye drops containing drugs called ‘beta-blockers’. While effective they can cause depression, exacerbate asthma, decrease heart rate and increase danger of heart failure. The most common form of glaucoma, ‘open angle glaucoma’ happens when …