Published On: Fri, Jan 11th, 2013

Medical Marijuana

 I must reiterate the word "Medicinal" and emphasize, "controlled use".

I must reiterate the word “Medicinal” and emphasize, “controlled use”.

Medical Marijuana

-by Dr. Bob Berger, MS, MVSc, PhD

As a scientist and researcher educated and trained in traditional Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmacology, my opinion about the generalized use of any of the strains of genus cannabis (MJ), should be, at this point in time at least, legalized in all states in the U.S. when authorized for use for medicinal purposes. Why in some states and not all?!

The two major [isolated] components of MJ, although there are other ones of consequence, are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, (THC) and cannabidiol, (CBD). The only psychoactive component is THC…at least this is what is believed.

Regardless of everything “good” or “bad” associated with this plant, once again, in my opinion, and in the opinion of many other doctors and scientists, using the accepted theories of biochemistry and pharmacology, THC is not “physically” addictive. Yes, it may create cravings, (and yes, feeling good is a good thing), but these cravings are not equivalent (nor anywhere near as dangerous), as the physically addictive opioid-based narcotics nor the central nervous system alkaloid stimulant, cocaine. What about the dangerous sedatives, such as the benzodiazepine, (i.e., Xanax), that millions of “stressed-out” folks, (or those who want to use that excuse), use on a consistent basis? Our society has always been so fixated on this essentially “harmless” plant extract, that older generations called folks who used MJ, (if you grew up in the 60’s-Woodstock!), “beatniks” or “dopers”.

In the early 70’s a rock group named “Five man Electrical Band” had a song, “Signs”. One of the verses was “and the sign says Long-haired, freaky people need not apply” (for a job)-it appeared that this was commenting on folks who were representative of the new wave of social and political change…and smoked dope! (Probably caused all of this…you know, the dope!) The use of MJ made them “freak out” about everything…(just the sign itself, “…..breaking my mind”.) Talk about the demonization of a potentially great medicinal!!!!

I must reiterate the word “Medicinal” and emphasize, “controlled use”.

In the brain we have receptors called “Cannabinoid Receptors”. Our brains also produce certain neurotransmitters that, when released, produce the same effect naturally. When THC enters the body and crosses the blood-brain- barrier, it attaches to these receptors and mimics the effects of relaxation and mellowness, that would be normally experienced by the natural release of these neurotransmitters-now just to a greater extent.

THC has effects on different areas of the brain. Apparently, the area which stimulates the hunger sensation is affected–thus, the “munchies”, and even areas which may block the release or receptor attachment of various pain-producing chemical transmitters (i.e., Substance-P)…this would relieve pain and even anxiety in many cases of folks with very serious, debilitating diseases such as certain terminal cancers and diseases highly associated with extreme pain, such as muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis.

People suffering from wasting diseases who have anorexia (lack of appetite) to such an extent (in diseases such as certain invasive cancers, for instance), have benefited remarkably from the prescribed use of medicinal cannabis.

All prescribed use of MJ must be controlled and monitored (as far as inventory ) of course…and the psychoactive effects and/or side effects must always be taken into consideration-but these are folks who really need it-they are not going out to drive in the Indy-500, they are not going on Jeopardy so to recall historic events, and won’t be participating in the NFL Combine…these are folks who won’t abuse MJ because they can’t-it’s Rx.

Let’s treat medical MJ for what it is in these cases-not a “drug” to be abused. Compare the use and side effects of medical MJ to other serious drugs and narcotics that are prescribed to millions on a daily basis-a great majority of these folks expire because of the drug-not so much the disease.

-fin-

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