Monday, March 10, 2014

Medical Marijuana Myths

by Kate Collins

A lot of information has been coming out lately on the medical benefits of cannabis -- impressive studies by respected researchers -- which alarms many people who view marijuana as a gateway drug.

I was back and forth on the issue until I read a very clarifying article and learned that, as per usual, much of the information being put out there to scare people is coming from pharmaceutical companies who stand to lose money. Surprised?

Here's why.  Medical cannabis can take the place of a wide variety of synthetic drugs, especially for the following conditions, without the toxic side-effects of pharmaceuticals: Mood disorders, pain disorders,
degenerative neurological disorders such as dystonia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, PTSD, and seizure disorders.

But is that same marijuana a gateway drug? Consider this.  Prescription drugs have far greater potential to turn you into an addict.  Legal drug addiction is taking lives in record numbers and leading many to heroin, which is many times cheaper to buy than oxycontin, for example.  In the US, according to a CDC press release of July 2, 2013, there were four times more deaths among women from prescription painkiller overdose than for cocaine and heroin deaths combined in 2010.

Pharmaceuticals in general are among the leading causes of death in the US, and some medicines have killed tens of thousands of individuals. The painkiller Vioxx killed over 60,000 before being pulled off the market.

The diabetes drug Avandia, it is estimated, in a five-year span killed some 800,000 people in Europe from inappropriate use of beta-blockers in non-cardiac surgery patients.

In comparison, deaths attributed to cannabis hardly register. And medical grade cannabis, by the way, has very little of the chemical in it that makes you high.

I'm fortunate that I don't have a condition that requires any kind of drug intervention, but if I did, and medical marijuana would help treat it, you can believe I'd be seeking more information. If you're interested in reading the article I'm referring to, here's the URL: Cannabis or Marijuana as Medicine

Wishing you good health,
Kate

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

There are side effects though. Some of the side effects sound pretty bad.

Kate Collins said...

Could you site your source, please?

Karen in Ohio said...

Shoot, listen to any commercial for a prescription drug (which, why do they NEED commercials for those? That is one of the biggest reasons they cost so much, not research as they try to say), and you'll hear some pretty horrifying side effects. Most of the potential side effects are worse than the condition the drug is supposedly meant to treat, too.

I'll stick with more natural substances, rather than some chemical stew cooked up in a lab for profit. Not necessarily marijuana, but if I were having to take chemo (God help me) and had the accompanying horrible nausea (another awful side effect), medical marijuana sounds pretty good as a palliative aid.

Kate Collins said...

Karen, I'm with you. And you raised an excellent question. Why do pharma companies need to advertise? The doctors are going to prescribe drugs anyway. I guess they want you to ask for their particular drug, as in "Ask your doctor for the purple pill." I wonder how many doctors say no.

Karen in Ohio said...

Yes, and what they don't tell you is that purple pill, and others like it, have horrendous side effects. I was told to take them for GERD (which I didn't have), and I did so reluctantly for a month or so. Then my insurance company stopped paying for it, so I did some research and found that longterm use of heartburn medications, including over-the-counter ones, eventually causes the stomach to stop producing acid altogether.

Now I control the heartburn by diet (wheat caused it), papaya enzyme tablets for when I just absolutely must have a taste of some bread, and ginger tea, plus occasional acupuncture. And my stomach can still produce its own digestive acids, thank you very much.

Rachelle21 said...

I worked at one time for a research company who did detail work by phone with doctors about a drug. Pharma reps can be called detail men (or persons). We played tapes about a drug to doctors over the phone. It was not an easy job. I am more apt to do phone surveys because of my former job.

Kate Collins said...

Rachelle, I can understand why.

Susan L. @ Full Happy Muffin and Mama said...

While I am by no means a pharm expert, I do believe in the wonders of ibuprofen. I am shocked at (not the pharm adverts) the attorney adverts against some of the drugs. I think some of those attorneys are paid off by rival pharm companies (coumadin versus pradaxa, levoquin versus another antibiotic). Let's see...the times I've taken levoquin (sp?)...were infections that could put me in the hospital, cause me to go deaf, cause me to go blind, or kill me. Messed up tendons versus deafness, hospital stays, blindness, or death...hmmm...that's a tough one. Now, I can't answer on the medical marijuana front because Louisiana hasn't gone whole hog on it yet, but I can answer for the effects of marijuana's (as the illegal substance) use among teenagers. Watching the effects of it as "the gateway drug" and hearing students talk about it as if it is nothing is VERY FRIGHTENING. I'm not sure of the causation, but these also tend to be students who sleep through class, have high truancy, and little interest in academics. As you mentioned, I also have not been stricken with a disease requiring chemo and the nausea that accompanies it. It's very difficult for me to judge. I will say that even among my students there have been whispers about trying to be diagnosed with something so that it can be prescribed. I am, however, a believer in marijuana side products that are not related to ingesting it (hemp rope, etc.).

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loveamystery said...

As a cancer survivor I can say I would never have tried M. I have never done any kind of drug or smoked in my life and honestly I don't want to ever. I like being in charge of myself and do not want to feel impaired in any way. Yes went through terrible sickness and was hospitalized for 3 weeks but took as little drugs as possible and was always conscious. I don't care to wonder what the result of someone using this would be if they drove, it they did something that might injure themselves or others. All forms of medication that impair your ability to function normally should be used under supervision and in a controlled atmosphere otherwise I believe in love and the joy of life to get "high". Just my opinion and yes I am aware as a survivor of the pain, heck I even had an appendectomy done at 4 months pregnant with only a local (which didn't completely work). Like I said for me no.

mariehahn13 said...

My husband is a severe epileptic. He took too many pills in a day to even keep track to try and control his epilepsy. All of those pills were horrible for his liver, kidneys, etc. He would have to go every 3-6 months to have the toxicity levels measured in his blood stream. When medical marijuana was introduced to him, it controlled his seizures better than anything he'd ever tried before. He was able to function in every day life, and we don't fear as much for his safety when he's alone.

Regardless of your stance on marijuana - I, myself, was COMPLETELY against the drug - it does have some amazing benefits. While I still am not a fan of the drug, I am thankful for what it's done for my husband. It has become a major stress reliever for all of us, and has brought him leaps and bounds from where he was before. He doesn't have to use it every day, and his kidneys and liver are better for it as well.

I know for every success story like mine, there are going to be nay-sayers. But remember - what works for one doesn't work for everyone, and judging those who choose to seek out the natural treatment, is exactly like saying someone who uses cough medicine for a respiratory issue is wrong. It's a choice that I believe should be made available for those who need or will benefit from it. Because believe it or not, it's made a world of difference for me and my family.

Thank you for bringing attention to this :) It's nice to see others trying to educate those around them with facts instead of "what they've heard."

catslady said...

Too many people are scared of what they don't understand and you can be sure those that will profit from keeping everyone scared, will continue with their tactics until people get informed.

kayt18 said...

As someone that has m/s and some other pain and neuro issues, I am glad that medical marijuana is becoming more acceptable. I had a friend whose mother was terminal with cancer. She could not eat or do anything. Her son was forced to purchase marijuana on the streets. It truly extended her life by several months and added to the quality of life. There are several families here that have moved to CO for their children. It has helped one child go from over 300 seizures a day down to one or two. Who wouldnt do that for their child. It is even being used in the care of dogs. This is not the same marijuana that is being smoked out on the street. And the side effects, addictions and deaths are so much worse for prescription drugs. Medical marijuana is not a gateway drug any more than Tylenol is. Come on and dont keep those in need hostage to the drug companies. They dont even allow other herbal meds that are safely and constantly used in Europe. The FDA and politicians need to get their heads out of their you know where.

Aurian said...

Marihuana has been legalised here in Holland a few years ago, and now the politicians are making rule after rule to make it almost impossible to buy it. But as always, those people who want some, know how to get some, legal or not.
I absolutely detest the smell of it, I hate it if people smoke it and walk by in the city center.

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