Valley Center for Cannabis Therapy

Valley Cannabis Therapy 

The term medical cannabis, or medical marijuana, refers to the use of unprocessed cannabis and its cannabinoids that treat a number of diseases and alleviate related symptoms. Despite certain restrictions, the use of marijuana as a medicine has been tested and proven scientifically. In fact, a study of the chemical compounds in marijuana has resulted in two FDA-approved drugs, namely dronabinol and nabilone. Further research and scientific studies could lead to more medications.

There is mounting evidence indicating that marijuana can be effectively used to reduce nausea during chemotherapy, to treat chronic pain, and to improve appetite in HIV/AIDS patients. In essence, marijuana is proving to be beneficial among people who seek to use it for the treatment of nausea, pain, and some illnesses that don’t respond to conventional medical therapy.

While many countries across the globe still consider medical marijuana illegal, a number of governments now allow treatment with one or more low doses of synthetic cannabinoids for diseases that have already been approved. Advocates and supporters of medical marijuana continue to uphold that cannabis has well-documented and beneficial effects.

What are cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are a class of chemical compounds related to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component of marijuana. Scientists have produced cannabinoids in laboratories. The human body also produces its own cannabinoids that play a crucial role in regulating appetite, awareness of time, body movement, concentration, memory, pain, pleasure, thinking and the five senses.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is another major constituent of marijuana and it is drawing interest from members of the medical community as it shows huge potential in treating certain conditions like childhood epilepsy. As such, scientists have been isolating CBD in many forms for medical purposes.

How can cannabinoids prove useful as medicine?

To date, the two main cannabinoids from marijuana that are of medical significance are THC and CBD. The former reduces nausea and increases appetite. The THC-based medications approved by the FDA are used for these purposes. THC can also reduce pain, inflammation and muscle control problems.

CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, meaning it has little to no effect on the mind or behavior. It has been shown useful in controlling epileptic seizures, decreasing pain and inflammation, and even treating addictions and mental disorders. Scientists are also performing pre-clinical and clinical trials with marijuana and its derivatives to treat a number of diseases and conditions, including the following:

HIV/AIDS

multiple sclerosis

Alzheimer’s disease

pain

inflammation

seizures

mental disorders

substance use disorders

A Brief History of Medical Marijuana

The medicinal use and benefits of marijuana have been recognized since the dawn of civilization. Its usefulness has been described by physicians, philosophers, and patients from various cultures and societies. Studies reveal that marijuana contains 483 medicinal compounds, about 80 of which are cannabinoids. These compounds serve as the foundation for scientific and medical use. Among the most important cannabinoids in the marijuana plant are cannabinol, terahydrocannabinol, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, cannabidiol, cannabigerol and β-caryophyllene.

The use of the marijuana plant as a medical remedy dates back to 2737 BCE. Moreover, marijuana has been included in the list of 50 fundamental herbs in Chinese herbology, further reinforcing the premise that marijuana possesses many medicinal benefits. Even the ancient Egyptians used marijuana in suppositories to relieve the pain caused by hemorrhoids.

Texts from ancient India confirm that the psychoactive properties of marijuana were well recognized, and physicians used it to treat a wide range of ailments including headaches, insomnia, and a host of gastrointestinal disorders.  In ancient Greece, dried marijuana leaves were used to treat nose bleeds, while the seeds were used to rid the body of tapeworms.

Studies suggest that marijuana has potential benefits for a number of conditions. However, state laws vary with regard to conditions that qualify patients for treatment. In Nevada, you may qualify for treatment with medical marijuana if you have one of the following conditions:

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

Cannabis has earned high regard in the medical community because of its effectiveness in treating HIV. Patients generally suffer from body aches and weight loss, among other ailments, but a recent research revealed that marijuana may be able to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

Cancer

A study published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics revealed that cannabidiol has the ability to inhibit the growth of cancer cells by turning off the Id-1 gene. Cancer cells replicate this particular gene in higher quantities than non-cancerous cells. In 2007, researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center reported that cannabidiol may prevent cancer cells from metastasizing. The proponents of the research experimented on breast cancer cells containing high level ofId-1 and treated them with cannabidiol. The results showed that the cells had decreased Id-1 expression, and the rest of the genes were less invasive. As a matter of fact, the American Association for Cancer Research found that cannabis can slow down the growth of tumors in the brain, breast, and lungs.

Cachexia

Cachexia refers to the loss of body weight and accompanying weakness that may occur in patients with AIDS, cancer, and other chronic diseases. Many people are aware of the way marijuana stimulates the appetite. This is caused by the effect of tetrahydrocannabinol on the body and there have been multiple studies confirming that patients who use medical cannabis experience an increase in appetite and a reduction in rate of weight loss.

Glaucoma

Marijuana can be used to treat glaucoma, which involves an increase in intraocular pressure, causing injury to the optic nerve and resulting in blindness. According to the National Eye Institute, studies conducted in the early 1970s indicated that smoking marijuana lowered intraocular pressure in subjects with normal pressure and those suffering from glaucoma.

Seizures

Evidence from laboratory studies, anecdotal reports, and small clinical studies from a number of years ago suggests that cannabis could potentially be helpful in controlling seizures, with or without limitations, including epilepsy.

Persistent Muscle Spasms

The effectiveness of medical cannabis in treating muscle spasms, including spasms caused by multiple sclerosis, is very well documented. Some patients find that medical cannabis is extremely helpful in alleviating uncontrollable and debilitating muscle tremors. Other patients with severe spastic conditions have reported that medical cannabis “actually keeps them alive”.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

It has been asserted that medical cannabis is a safer alternative to conventional PTSD treatment, particularly among soldiers and veterans. Marijuana’s relaxing effect allows soldiers to relieve their anxiety without the foggy mental state induced by antidepressants. In addition, antidepressants and other medications for PTSD have a high risk of developing addiction. Hence, they are not recommended for long-term use. On the other hand, marijuana use can increase or decrease depending on the patient’s condition. The upside is that there is little to no side effects regardless of the amount used. According to some, marijuana may very well be the safest anti-depressant on the market today.

Severe Pain

One of the most common uses of medical cannabis is for patients undergoing chemotherapy. Cancer patients going through chemo experience severe pain, nausea, and vomiting. All of these can lead to other health complications. Marijuana has been shown to reduce these side effects. There are also other FDA-approved cannabinoid medications that use tetrahydrocannabinol for the same purposes.

Nausea

There is strong evidence that the cannabinoids naturally produced in the body play a role in suppressing nausea in normal circumstances, and intake of cannabinoids from medical marijuana during episodes of nausea can also effectively relieve symptoms.

Medical Marijuana Legalization Other conditions are still subject to approval.

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