As a growing community across America wakes up to a new era of sensible marijuana legislation and scientific investigation, much of the world beyond continues to view pot through outdated, archaic eyes. Of course, opinions will always vary quite strongly when it comes to the recreational use of marijuana and the extent to which it should or should not be made publicly available.
Nevertheless, behind the propaganda and the endless scare stories of society on a slippery slope, the scientific community is really only just beginning to discover the very tip of the iceberg in terms of the potential uses and benefits of marijuana in a medicinal sense. Medical marijuana has been around for many decades now, but due to such bizarrely repressive and overbearing restrictions hasn’t been studied nearly as closely as it perhaps should have been. Only now as we begin to scratch the surface are we finding out that there’s so much more to the green stuff than anyone could have imagined – despite the fact that naysayers remain adamant that it’s pure evil.
Once again this week, new clinical data has been published which offers further backing to the use of marijuana in order to relieve or ease chronic pain. For the purposes of the study a group of chronic pain patients were prescribed measured doses of herbal cannabis to be taken each day over the course of a year. According to the results of the study, those who used herbal cannabis reported a marked increase in life quality and a significant reduction in pain and discomfort. In addition, the use of herbal cannabis as a substitute for conventional painkillers brought about a sizeable reduction in the risk of severe and unpleasant side-effects.
The study was carried out by a team of researchers from McGill University in Montreal, where a group of 216 chronic pain patients provided with a daily cannabis supplement was compared to a control group of 215 patients with similar health complaints. Those prescribed cannabis throughout the study were provided with a measured dose of marijuana extract containing 12.5% THC, which equated to daily intake of approximately 2.5 grams per patient.
Reporting on the findings, the research team confirmed that those consuming marijuana on a daily basis faced no higher risk of “serious adverse events” than the control group. What they were referring to in this capacity was the risk of harmful effects on the brain, the blood, the heart or the body in general – the data having shown that marijuana consumption posed no additional threat whatsoever. Those in the cannabis group did, unsurprisingly, report relatively frequent mild side effects associated with marijuana consumption, including temporary light-headedness or coughing.
What was most significant about the study’s findings was the way in which the chronic pain patients prescribed cannabis to be taken daily reported not only a sizeable reduction in pain and discomfort compared to the control group, but also noticeable improvements to on-going problems with depression, anxiety and tiredness.
“Quality-controlled herbal cannabis, when used by cannabis-experienced patients as part of a monitored treatment program over one year, appears to have a reasonable safety profile,” the researchers reported.
In terms of this particular study’s influence on attitudes to medicinal marijuana going forward, realistically speaking it probably won’t have much impact either. The reason being that incredible as it may be at this juncture in time, this is actually one of the only studies that has ever been carried out with a core focus on both the effectiveness and the safety of medical marijuana use as a long-term treatment. Nevertheless, it is expected that the findings will at least pave the way for further studies and essential research into what’s clearly a wonder-drug we’re really only just getting to know.