Medical Marijuana: Changing the Narrative
What if I told you that there was a substance out there, that could ease chronic pain without opiates? What about helping to control Epilepsy without the traditional medications? Would you be open to funded further research for this substance? Knowing this substance is medical marijuana and it’s derivative, does that change your opinion?
In this article by Prevention Magazine, the different studies done by the FDA and other sources are looked at and the effectiveness of medical marijuana is evaluated. The two uses that score the highest were usage for nausea and usage for epilepsy. Both of these received an “A” rating, showing that medical marijuana has the ability to help in this instances. For epilepsy, the study was done on patients that suffered from either Lennox-Gastuat Syndrome or Dravet Syndrome. When it came time to enroll patients in the clinical trials for the medication Epidiolex, which is a strawberry flavored medication that has CBD oil as an active ingredient, there was overwhelming interest. The medication has been testing favorably in controlling the seizures of these two disorders, especially considering that they are notoriously hard to treat.
Even Dr. Sanjay Gupta has seen how this medication can be used to treat seizures. He mentions it in his article “Dr. Sanjay Gupta: It’s time for a medical marijuana revolution”, speaking of a girl named Charlotte who went from having 300 seizures a week, to just two in one month. He does admit that there will be patients that this course of treatment will not work for, but that is the case with any treatment in medicine. Each person is unique, just as each situation.
In 1969 on 12% of the population was in favor of legalizing marijuana. At the time of Dr. Gupta’s article, that had changed drastically. He found that when polled, 53% of Americans were in favor of legalizing marijuana and 77% favored it’s use in the medical setting. He even goes on to say that when he first started his research into marijuana, his own mother was hesitant about him diving into this topic. Now, only a few years later and after 3 documentaries, his mother has come around. In addition, he has been able to sit down and further the discussion of expanded research and legalization with two members of government. Dr. Gupta was excited, and could see first hand the shifting perspectives, when Sens. Kristen Gillibrand (D-New York) and Cory Booker (D- New Jersey) sat across from him and started to speak of cases where it was effective, how they wanted to devote more money to medical marijuana’s research, and even how they wanted to see the drug rescheduled and being prescribed in the VA. Dr. Gupta noted that they were very enthusiastic, and wanted to make these changes happen quickly.
To see medical marijuana begin to get attention in the government is exciting. As a member of the medical community, I have seen what it can do to help those with diseases that can be helped by medical marijuana. I feel that there is still much to be learned about the drug, but that it’s virtues far out weigh any downfalls it may have. Knowing that it can do such good for patients that are in a bad spot, and even those that just want some thing different, I don’t see how the medical community can continue to shun the idea and hold true to their vow to do no harm. The vast majority of Americans support the use of medical marijuana, and I feel that if given the time and funding, that the medical community will start to feel the same way.
With all this evidence piling up, it’s easy to see how effective medical marijuana can be. The viewpoint of the population at large has changed, and continues to change. So too, does the viewpoint of our representatives in government. Even with everything that is changing, the medical community continues to balk at the idea. Some doctors even cite that there is not enough research for them to feel comfortable with it. In everything that is changing, there is only one thing that would help the narrative change further. That is the continued support of the population, as well as pressure for there to be more peered reviewed, and government backed, studies that show the effectiveness of this drug. Until we make a concerted effort to change how this drug is viewed, it will continue to remain taboo and it’s medical uses will remain unexploited. Maybe it’s time for a change.