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Medical Marijuana, Hemp and Cannabis – History of Use and the Untold Story

Introduction:

cannabis farm1 150x150 Medical Marijuana, Hemp and Cannabis – History of Use and the Untold Story

Organic Hemp Farm

In 1972, the US Congress placed marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act because they considered it to have “no accepted medical use.” Since then, 15 of 50 US states and DC have legalized the medical use of marijuana.

Marijuana is part of the cannabis indica hemp plant. Hemp grows like a weed and has wide use and benefits. It is one of the best vegan protein sources appearing in premium protein supplements. Hemp is arguably a whole raw super food with a wide vitamin, mineral and nutrient array. See our research library material on hemp/cannabis for more detailed nutrient information.

mm bottle2 150x150 Medical Marijuana, Hemp and Cannabis – History of Use and the Untold Story

Concentrated THC Oil

The booming medical marijuana industry is part of a trend toward decriminalization of marijuana use.

The larger trend towards natural and preventative medicine is favorably impacted by the growing medical marijuana industry. Many believe concentrated hemp-marijuana oils were the miracle elixirs of the past suppressed by corporate medicine interests.

Read on to form your own view on these interesting, complex and controversial issues …

Some people today make concentrated hemp oil (the entire plant, several pounds, are required to make a small amount of concentrated oil) people say has cured stage 4 cancers and many other advanced diseases. The combination of hemp oils cleansing and super nutritive properties (applied topically or orally not smoked) are attributable to its cellular strengthening and renewal characteristics.

Watch this controversial short film titled “Run From The Cure – the Rick Simpson Story” – a short movie on topical and oral use of concentrated hemp oil viewed by over 750,000 people since being published: 0 Medical Marijuana, Hemp and Cannabis – History of Use and the Untold Story

Detailed Discussion:

wild cannabis1 150x150 Medical Marijuana, Hemp and Cannabis – History of Use and the Untold Story

Wild Cannabis Stands

Medical cannabis (also referred to as medical marijuana) is the use of cannabis (common plant name “hemp“) and its constituent cannabinoids such as THC as a physician-recommended form of medicine or herbal therapy. The Cannabis plant from which the cannabis drug is derived has a long history of medicinal use, with evidence dating back to 2,737 BC. For fascinating insight on the history of hemp and marijuana use dating back over 10,000 years, read our “History of Marijuana and Hemp Use” article.

Before we explore the depths of the health benefits of properly used cannabis derivations, let us discuss briefly the societal costs of its regulation.

Law Enforcement Connection and Government Financial Interests

pot bust 150x150 Medical Marijuana, Hemp and Cannabis – History of Use and the Untold StorySince 1990, law enforcement agencies have greatly increased marijuana use arrests. The conservative American Enterprise Institute published a report a few years back. They weighed costs of prosecution as part of the war on drugs against benefits to society and concluded, “criminal punishment of marijuana use does not appear to be justified.” The study of FBI data by a Washington-based think tank, the Sentencing Project, found that of all drug arrests from 1992 to 2002, marijuana arrests rose from 28 percent of the total to 45 percent. Eighty percent of the increase in drug arrests during this period came from marijuana, the study found. Yet the overall rate of marijuana use over the same time period was not affected. “In reality, the war on drugs as pursued in the 1990s was to a large degree a war on marijuana,” said Ryan S. King, the study’s co-author and a research associate at the Sentencing Project. “Marijuana is the most widely used illegal substance … The question is, is this really where we want to be spending all our money?” King asks. The Sentencing Project study estimated that over $4 billion a year is spent on arresting and prosecuting marijuana crimes. This is only counting direct criminal justice system resource costs – the actual societal cost is likely ten times as great. Obviously there are many many public sector jobs in the law enforcement, courts and larger criminal justice system dependent upon continued criminal treatment of marijuana use.

The business interests of government, its need for revenue, clouds the issue. The medical marijuana trend is creating new government revenue sources from marijuana use to replace loss of fine revenue from related criminal prosecution. Government’s financial interest alone makes decriminalization for non-medical use unlikely anytime soon. Financial interests threatened by expanded training in and use of natural medicine to prevent disease – entrenched conflicts of financial interest – also slow change of the US health care system to a less expensive disease prevention model from its current disease intervention model. Progress is however being made. Some insurance policies now pay for preventative care checkups with naturopathic doctors. Medical marijuana may prove a helpful step in that direction bringing increased attention to the use and benefits of herbal and botanical based natural medicine.

Medicinal Benefits of Cannabis

Although the extent of the medicinal value of cannabis has been disputed, and despite the opposition to research and use put forward by most government bodies the past 50 years, there are already well-documented beneficial effects from some studies. Among these are: the amelioration of nausea and vomiting, stimulation of hunger in chemotherapy and AIDS patients, lowered intraocular eye pressure, as well as helping gastrointestinal illnesses. rick simpson holding concentrated hemp oil herbal medicine 150x150 Medical Marijuana, Hemp and Cannabis – History of Use and the Untold Story

Many scientists from around the world including those from prestigious universities hold cannabis related patents, many addressing health properties but others industrial hemp uses. Some pharmaceutical drugs are synthetic variations of cannabis. It is even asserted the US government holds patents for the medicinal usage of cannabis due to neuroprotectant and antioxidant properties although we could not verify that based on our limited review of related patent filings.

The more widely asserted medical uses of marijuana follow.

 

AIDS – For HIV/AIDS patients trying to stay healthy in the face of appetite loss and wasting syndrome, cannabinoid drugs are a viable treatment that do not adversely affect other required medications.

Alzheimer – Cannabis contains a compound that could help Alzheimer’s disease patients…but some researchers feel the risk is greater than the potential reward.

Anorexia – Medical marijuana helps AIDS and cancer patients gain weight. It could help with anorexia.

Arthritis Chinese medicine has long used cannabis to help join pain and inflammation.

Cancer – Nausea is one of the most common side effects of cancer chemo therapy treatment. Marijuana can help ease nausea and does not have to be swallowed.

Chronic Pain – It has shown to help relieve all types of pain without nausea or other nasty side-effects

Glaucoma – Studies have shown it reduces the intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma.

Migraines – Cannabis has been prescribed as a treatment for migraines since the 19th century. It promises fast, long-lasting relief.

Multiple Sclerosis – Cannabis may not just alleviate MS symptoms, some studies show it may help halt the progression of the disease.

Nausea- Morning Sickness. Cannabis can be safely used to help ease nausea associated with morning sickness.

Seizures – Some epileptic patients have apparently weaned themselves off prescription drugs and stay seizure-free with cannabis use.

Some Clinical Study Examples Supporting Benefits of Use

Some recent clinic studies support proper use of MM can help the progression of serious diseases:

Lung Cancer

One of the principal constituents of cannabis, THC, has been found to reduce tumor growth in common lung cancer by 50 percent and to significantly reduce the ability of the cancer to spread, say researchers at Harvard University, who tested the chemical in both in vitro lab studies and in mouse studies. The researchers suggest that THC might be used in a targeted fashion to treat lung cancer.

Breast Cancer

According to a 2007 study at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, cannabidiol (CBD) may stop breast cancer from spreading throughout the body. These researchers believe their discovery may provide a non-toxic alternative to chemotherapy while achieving the same results minus the painful and unpleasant side effects. The research team says that CBD works by blocking the activity of a gene called Id-1, which is believed to be responsible for a process called metastasis, which is the aggressive spread of cancer cells away from the original tumor site.

HIV/AIDS

Investigators at Columbia University published clinical trial data in 2007 showing that HIV/AIDS patients who inhaled cannabis four times daily experienced substantial increases in food intake with little evidence of discomfort and no impairment of cognitive performance. They concluded that smoked marijuana has a clear medical benefit in HIV-positive patients. In another study in 2008, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine found that marijuana significantly reduces HIV-related neuropathic pain when added to a patient’s already-prescribed pain management regimen and may be an “effective option for pain relief” in those whose pain is not controlled with current medications. Mood disturbance, physical disability, and quality of life all improved significantly during study treatment.[60] Despite management with opioids and other pain modifying therapies, neuropathic pain continues to reduce the quality of life and daily functioning in HIV-infected individuals. Cannabinoid receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems have been shown to modulate pain perception. No serious adverse effects were reported, according to the study published by the American Academy of Neurology.

Brain Cancer

A study by Complutense University of Madrid found the chemicals in marijuana promotes the death of brain cancer cells by essentially helping them feed upon themselves in a process called autophagy. The research team discovered that cannabinoids such as THC had anticancer effects in mice with human brain cancer cells and in people with brain tumors. When mice with the human brain cancer cells received the THC, the tumor shrank. Using electron microscopes to analyze brain tissue taken both before and after a 26- to 30-day THC treatment regimen, the researchers found that THC eliminated cancer cells while leaving healthy cells intact. The patients did not have any toxic effects from the treatment; previous studies of THC for the treatment of cancer have also found the therapy to be well tolerated. However, the mechanisms which promote THC’s tumor cell–killing action are unknown.

Spasticity in Multiple Sclerosis

A review of six randomized controlled trials of a combination of THC and CBD extracts for the treatment of MS related muscle spasticity reported, “Although there was variation in the outcome measures reported in these studies, a trend of reduced spasticity in treated patients was noted.” The authors postulated that “cannabinoids may provide neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory benefits in MS.”

Methods of Taking Medical Marijuana

There are several methods for administration of dosages, including vaporizing, smoking, drinking, eating extracts, and taking capsules.  The most potent non-drug forms are concentrated oils designed for oral administration for better bio-availability and avoidance of negative side effects of smoking or eating baked goods with non-nutritive ingredients. Some oil infusions even combine other nutritive compounds like coconut oil or honey designed for patients who are concerned about the harmful effects of smoking and who are truly looking for the most powerful medicinal benefits and not abusing the medical marijuana laws for recreational use which is likely widespread.

The comparable efficacy of various application methods was the subject of an investigative study conducted by the National Institutes of Health. Online Wellness Community’s medical and research team believe that in time everyone serious about using herbal marijuana extracts for health purposes will do so by combining concentrated marijuana oil extracts with nutrient dense superfood powders to make potent anti-aging elixirs.

Any of OWC’s superfood powders would be good candidates for this style of MM administration as the potent antioxidant and raw super food ingredients in our superfoods are generally good for everyone and could help address the causes of the ailment or disease being targeted by MM use.

More on the Pros and Cons of Use

Synthetic cannabinoids, surrounded by controversy as with most manufactured drugs, have long been available as prescription drugs in some countries. Examples include Marinol, available in the United States and Canada, and Cesamet, available in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and also in the United States which many doctors have been prescribing for some time not necessarily realizing they are synthetic MM products.

While cannabis for recreational use is illegal in all parts of the world, though decriminalized in some, its use as a medicine is legal in a number of territories, including Canada, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Israel, Italy, Finland, and Portugal. In the United States, federal law outlaws all cannabis use, while permission for medical cannabis varies among states. Distribution is usually done within a framework defined by local laws. Medical cannabis remains a controversial issue worldwide although properly used and administered there can be little doubt the plant’s concentrated constituents can have significant natural bio-chemical and regenerative health benefits. Future studies will increasingly confirm this.

Proponents of medical marijuana argue that it can be a safe and effective treatment for the symptoms of cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, pain, glaucoma, epilepsy, and other conditions. They cite dozens of peer-reviewed studies, prominent medical organizations, major government reports, and the use of marijuana as medicine throughout world history.

Opponents of medical marijuana argue that it is too dangerous to use, lacks FDA-approval, and that various legal drugs make marijuana use unnecessary. They say marijuana is addictive, leads to harder drug use, interferes with fertility, impairs driving ability, and injures the lungs, immune system, and brain. They say that medical marijuana is a front for drug legalization and recreational use.

Read this quote by a former US Surgeon General supportive of medical marijuana use:

“The evidence is overwhelming that marijuana can relieve certain types of pain, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms caused by such illnesses as multiple sclerosis, cancer and AIDS — or by the harsh drugs sometimes used to treat them. And it can do so with remarkable safety. Indeed, marijuana is less toxic than many of the drugs that physicians prescribe every day.”

– Joycelyn Elders, MD

Former US Surgeon General, Editorial, Providence Journal, Mar. 26, 2004

Here is a quote against medical marijuana use:

“Although I understand many believe marijuana is the most effective drug in combating their medical ailments, I would caution against this assumption due to the lack of consistent, repeatable scientific data available to prove marijuana’s medical benefits.

Based on current evidence, I believe that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that there are less dangerous medicines offering the same relief from pain and other medical symptoms.”

– Bill Frist, MD, Former US Senator (R-TN), Correspondence to ProCon.org, Oct. 20, 2003

There is little debate that smoking is a bad habit and can contribute to disease onset and taxes your general immune system. Regarding periodic smoking of marijuana, some experts believe it is not that harmful.

Read this quote from a Harvard Medical School professor on the issue:

“[T]here is very little evidence that smoking marijuana as a means of taking it represents a significant health risk. Although cannabis has been smoked widely in Western countries for more than four decades, there have been no reported cases of lung cancer or emphysema attributed to marijuana. I suspect that a day’s breathing in any city with poor air quality poses more of a threat than inhaling a day’s dose — which for many ailments is just a portion of a joint — of marijuana.”

– Lester Grinspoon, MD, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, ”Puffing Is the Best Medicine,” Los Angeles Times May 5, 2006

States Legalizing Medical Marijuana Use as of January 2011

I. Summary Chart: 15 states and DC that have enacted laws to legalize medical marijuana:
State Year Passed How Passed
(Yes Vote)
Fee Possession Limit Accepts other states’ registry ID cards?
1. Alaska 1998 Ballot Measure 8 (58%) $25/$20 1 oz usable; 6 plants (3 mature, 3 immature) unknown1
2. Arizona 2010 Proposition 203 (50.13%) unknown2 2.5 oz usable; 0-12 plants3 Yes4
3. California 1996 Proposition 215 (56%) $66/$33 8 oz usable; 18 plants (6 mature, 12 immature)5 No
4. Colorado 2000 Ballot Amendment 20 (54%) $90 2 oz usable; 6 plants (3 mature, 3 immature) No
5. DC 2010 Amendment Act B18-622 (13-0 vote) * 2 oz dried; limits on other forms to be determined unknown
6. Hawaii 2000 Senate Bill 862 (32-18 House; 13-12 Senate) $25 3 oz usable; 7 plants (3 mature, 4 immature) No
7. Maine 1999 Ballot Question 2 (61%) $100/$75 2.5 oz usable; 6 plants Yes6
8. Michigan 2008 Proposal 1 (63%) $100/$25 2.5 oz usable; 12 plants Yes
9. Montana 2004 Initiative 148 (62%) $25/$10 1 oz usable; 6 plants Yes
10. Nevada 2000 Ballot Question 9 (65%) $150+ 1 oz usable; 7 plants (3 mature, 4 immature) No
11. New Jersey 2010 Senate Bill 119 (48-14 House; 25-13 Senate) ** 2 oz usable unknown
12. New Mexico 2007 Senate Bill 523 (36-31 House; 32-3 Senate) $0 6 oz usable; 16 plants (4 mature, 12 immature) No
13. Oregon 1998 Ballot Measure 67 (55%) $100/$20 24 oz usable; 24 plants (6 mature, 18 immature) No
14. Rhode Island 2006 Senate Bill 0710 (52-10 House; 33-1 Senate) $75/$10 2.5 oz usable; 12 plants Yes
15. Vermont 2004 Senate Bill 76 (22-7) HB 645 (82-59) $50 2 oz usable; 9 plants (2 mature, 7 immature) No
16. Washington 1998 Initiative 692 (59%) *** 24 oz usable; 15 plants No

Main Frequently Asked Question about MM

Q: Does marijuana pose health risks to users?

Here are some conclusions draw in various studies and literature on the negatives of MM use – particularly if smoked verses other methods of application:

  • The short term effects of marijuana use may include: memory loss, distorted perception, loss of motor skills, decrease in muscle strength, increased heart rate, and anxiety.
  • According to the National Institutes of Health, studies show that someone who smokes five joints per week may be taking in as many cancer-causing chemicals as someone who smokes a full pack of cigarettes every day.
  • Marijuana when smoked contains hundreds of chemicals, including most of the harmful substances found in tobacco smoke. Smoking one marijuana cigarette deposits about four times more tar into the lungs than a filtered tobacco cigarette.
  • Harvard University researchers report that the risk of a heart attack is higher than usual in the hour after smoking marijuana.
  • Smoking marijuana likely weakens the immune system (as with all smoking) and raises the risk of lung infections. A Columbia University study found that a control group smoking a single marijuana cigarette every other day for a year had a white-blood-cell count that was 39 percent lower than normal, thus damaging the immune system and making the user far more susceptible to infection and sickness.
  • Users can become dependent on marijuana use. In 1999, more than 200,000 Americans entered substance abuse treatment primarily for marijuana abuse and dependence. Likely nearly all of these were court ordered in connection with criminal prosecutions.
  • More teens are in treatment for marijuana use than for any other drug or for alcohol. Adolescent admissions to substance abuse facilities for marijuana grew from 43 percent of all adolescent admissions in 1994 to 60 percent in 1999.
  • Marijuana is much stronger now than it was decades ago. According to data from the Potency Monitoring Project at the University of Mississippi, the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of commercial-grade marijuana rose from an average of 3.71 percent in 1985 to an average of 5.57 percent in 1998. The average THC content of U.S. produced sinsemilla increased from 3.2 percent in 1977 to 12.8 percent in 1997.

Click here to learn much more about hemp and hemp products in  our research library.

Article References:

The bulk of this articles underlying research was performed by our Executive Editor, Thomas Cifelli. The main reference sources included:

 

  1. Herbert Kleber, Mitchell Rosenthal, “Drug Myths from Abroad: Leniency is Dangerous, not Compassionate” Foreign Affairs Magazine, September/October 1998.
  2. Drug Watch International “NIDA Director cites Studies that Marijuana is Addictive.” “Research Finds Marijuana is Addictive,” Washington Times, July 24, 1995.
  3. National Institue of Drug Abuse, Journal of the American Medical Association, Journal of Clinical Phamacology, International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Pharmacology Review.
  4. “Marijuana and Heart Attacks” Washington Post, March 3, 2000
  5. I. B. Adams and BR Martin, “Cannabis: Pharmacology and Toxicology in Animals and Humans” Addiction 91: 1585-1614. 1996.
  6. National Institute of Drug Abuse, “Smoking Any Substance Raises Risk of Lung Infections” NIDA Notes, Volume 12, Number 1, January/February 1997.
  7. Dr. James Dobson, “Marijuana Can Cause Great Harm” Washington Times, February 23, 1999.
  8. 72000 National Drug Control Strategy Annual Report, page 13.
  9. votehemp.com, cannabissearch.com, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_cannabis, medicalmarijuana.procon.org/, justice.gov/dea/ongoing/marijuana.html,
    drbronner.com and various other online resources.
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