Here in the United States, medical marijuana quickly went from something that was ridiculed to something that was accepted as having a potential basis in reality, and now, we have doctor after doctor coming out in favor of its widespread medical uses.
One of them is Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who you might’ve seen on CNN a few times and who recently started to endorse medical marijuana.
Dr. Gupta explained the journey to understand the plant’s medicinal properties in a 2014 article on.
“This scientific journey is about a growing number of patients who want the cannabis plant as a genuine medicine, not to get high.
“It is about emerging science that not only shows and proves what marijuana can do for the body but provides better insights into the mechanisms of marijuana in the brain, helping us better understand a plant whose benefits have been documented for thousands of years.
“This journey is also about a Draconian system where politics overrides science and patients are caught in the middle.” (1)
Dr. Gupta, a mainstream doctor, made an unprecedented move in departing his previously biased opinion of marijuana and exploring its potential. This, along with plenty of other developments where reputable doctors started to come out in favor of medical marijuana, sets a new standard for the exploration of the herb’s medical uses.
Now, another country is setting their sights on medicinal cannabis – Australia.
Australia has become the latest country to put medical marijuana to the test, and while they aren’t looking to legalize it quite yet (which is what the Australian activists who’ve been pressuring them want), they’ve taken a significant step.
Alexandra Preston at Natural Society tells us more.
“Since 2014, there has been much pressure from activists in Australia to legalize cannabis, at least for medicinal use. Fortunately, all their hard work is beginning to bear fruit, with New South Wales introducing a trial last year in order to treat drug-resistant epilepsy, relieve chronic pain, and treat some of the many chemo-induced side effects suffered by thousands of cancer patients.
“More recently, the states of Victoria and Queensland have joined this trial, also with an emphasis on treating children with severe epilepsy.
“The principle driving force behind this has been a multitude of cases of children finally being able to lead more normal lives, with little to no seizures and an increasing level of functioning, once they began taking cannabis oil.” (2)
Citing the revolutionary medical marijuana documentary from Rick Simpson entitled “Run From the Cure”, Alexandra tells us that cannabis oil poses a wide array of medicinal uses.
“But are epilepsy and symptomatic relief for cancer patients the limit of cannabis oil’s capabilities? Hardly so.
“In 2008, the documentary ‘Run From The Cure’ was released online, documenting the story of Rick Simpson, a man who developed a specially prepared extract of cannabis buds and young leaves in order to treat his own skin cancer.
“After this was a success, he began to distribute the oil to various people with cancer in his community, with most patients becoming cancer-free despite an often ‘terminal’ diagnosis.” (3)
I’d imagine Rick Simpson has run in to a lot of legal trouble for distributing his cannabis oil, but it’s all for a good cause. With all the medical benefits we continue to learn about, of which shrinking tumors is only one, it’s amazing that nobody stepped up to offer cannabis medicine sooner.
Then again, there has been a lot of stigma around the plant, and a lot of people claimed early on that medical marijuana was little more than a new way for legalization activists to find another way to make it legal.
Now that so much data is being released, however, we can’t deny that this plant really does possess healing capabilities, which I’m sure we have yet to really learn about or understand.
Alexandra explains that “thousands” of people have been able to heal their cancer with cannabis oil.
“Today, there are thousands of people around the world who have eliminated their own cancers of many different cell types and stages.
“Corrie Yelland, now assisting many other cancer patients in treating themselves with cannabis oil; David Hibbit, a man who has recently gained much media attention; and Dennis Hill, a biochemist who has written an explanation of how cannabis works to destroy tumors without negative side effects, are just three of these cases.” (4)
Even still, some people (mostly in government) continue to demonize cannabis, all while acting as if it doesn’t have any accepted medical uses. The US government still classifies cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning that in their eyes, it has absolutely no medical benefits whatsoever.
They’re going to need to change their stance, and quickly – mainly because they’ve inadvertently admitted it has medical properties by issuing medical marijuana to a select few patients 80s and 90s (5), and approving “Marinol”, which is a cannabis-based pharmaceutical drug that, no surprise, makes Big Pharma a lot more money than medical marijuana in its original form or even cannabis oil. (6)
Alexandra explains how cannabinoids, the compounds in marijuana, actually cause tumors to commit suicide.
“Cannabinoids work to treat cancer by increasing the signalling molecule known as ceramide when they bind to endocannabinoid receptors on tumor cells. This does not occur in healthy cells. When ceramide levels rise to a certain point, the tumor cell literally kills itself in a process known as apoptosis.
“One mechanism behind this is the increase in membrane permeability of the mitochondria, which are the energy-producing centers of a cell.
“Heightened permeability allows a protein called cytochrome-C to flood out of the mitochondria, and because this protein is necessary for the production of most cellular energy, the cell can no longer produce the energy it needs.” (7)
Almost every creature with a vertebrae has an endocannabinoid system, which means animals can have their tumors destroyed too, Alexandra tells us.
“As the endocannabinoid system is shared by almost all classes of vertebrates, along with some invertebrates, cases of pets being treated of their cancers abound, sparing owners/“pet parents” from the pain of euthanizing their dogs or cats.” (8)
Not only can cannabis shrink human tumors – it can heal your dog or cat too. And yet, much of society still hesitates to find out what it can do for us. All of the ‘reefer madness’ propaganda is still getting to some people’s heads in this day and age, and this obviously needs to change if we want to advance our understanding of this plant.
Clearly, a lot more studies need done on marijuana’s medical benefits. I’m not saying this because I doubt what it can do – I’m saying it because we need to find out everything it can do. We’ve learned a lot so far, but something tells me we still have a lot to learn about this medically revolutionary plant.
The best thing Australia can do is continue (and maybe increase) their testing, and who knows – they might learn more than we’ve learned here in the US.
The best thing we can do as a society is try to move beyond our trepidations toward cannabis, and things could really change if we can stop seeing it as a dirty street drug and start recognizing it for what it is – a plant that could very well help us in the fields of medicine and societal advancement.
Imagine what things will be like when society can do away with its stereotypes regarding marijuana and finally open up to its healing properties and everything it, along with its cousin, hemp, can do for the world.
I don’t think this time is very far off, but the people who are still on the fence about marijuana will have to seriously open their minds and consider things about it that, a short time ago, would either have been unheard of or would’ve been laughed out of the medical community.
Our collective perception of this plant is changing, but we have to be willing to make some potentially uncomfortable changes in our individual perception too.
Kudos to Australia for taking this significant turn toward the acceptance of medical marijuana. I hope other countries follow suit, because it’s time for marijuana – medical or otherwise – to have its day in the sun.
- Dr. Sanjay Gupta: “‘I am Doubling Down’ on Medical Marijuana”. http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/05/health/gupta-medical-marijuana/index.html , March 6, 2014 –
- Alexandra Preston: “3 Australian States Begin Testing Medical Marijuana Following Demand” Natural Society, May 4, 2015 – http://naturalsociety.com/3-australian-states-begin-testing-medical-marijuana-following-demand/
- Loc. cit.
- Loc. cit.
- Here’s a piece from the Marijuana Policy Project about the federal Government’s medical marijuana program, which George H.W. Bush ended in 1992 but still has at least one living recipient, who was grandfathered in when the program ended –http://www.mpp.org/media/op-eds/oped-psst.html
- Here’s a piece from NORML about Marinol and natural cannabis –http://norml.org/component/zoo/category/marinol-vs-natural-cannabis
- Alexandra Preston: “3 Australian States Begin Testing Medical Marijuana Following Demand” Ibid.
- Loc. cit.
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