Every component of the human body is complex, from the tiniest cell to the largest organ (which, by the way, is your skin). However, no organ is more complicated than the brain. This three-pound organ houses billions of neurons that guide thought, perception, emotion, and action, making each and every one of us who we are today. In this article, I’ll explore a few of the many ways the human brain is affected by using marijuana (Cannabis). If you have any questions about registering for a Massachusetts medical marijuana card, I encourage you to contact Inhale MD for a private consultation.
“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change” (Stephen Hawking).
Stephen Hawking was known as one of the top physicists, professor, and author in modern physics. At age 21, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain. The manner in which ALS develops is by the deterioration and death of neurons, in particular motor neurons that are vital for communication between the brain and voluntary movement. As ALS progresses, it causes lack of nourishment to these neurons and eventually the neurons degenerate to the point where muscles are weakened and begin to waste ways (atrophy).
Finding relief through the Cannabis Plant:
Within the medical cannabis community, patients with MS are beginning to appear, talking it up and telling their stories about how the plant has drastically helped their disease, bringing glimmers of hope to those that definitely did not see light before and furthermore opening the eyes of families and friends. Additionally, although some conventional medical treatments can assist with certain forms of Multiple Sclerosis, the symptoms of this condition can sometimes not be effectively assisted by pharmaceuticals leaving patients wanting an alternative, more natural method of soothing these painful and often debilitating symptoms. This is where the cannabis plant can play a role in changing a life like no pharmaceutical maker could ever dream of, at least not those of the 20th century. But one thing many don’t consider is the judgment that people endure even after much of the world and most of the U.S. has legalized it in some form or another.
Qualifying Conditions for a Medical Marijuana Card by State
Although cannabis remains federally illegal in the United States, many states have legalized cannabis for valid medical purposes (and several states have legalized cannabis both medically and for adult use). In order to qualify for medical marijuana, patients must have a diagnosed ailment that is on their state’s list of qualifying medical marijuana conditions. With the recommendation of a local physician, a qualified patient can obtain a medical marijuana card or authorization to visit dispensaries and purchase medical marijuana products. (In states where recreational cannabis has been legalized, adult consumers do not need a medical marijuana card, but may not have access to the same medical cannabis products that are available for patients.)
Here’s a list of which states authorize medical marijuana for valid, qualified patients. Each entry includes a link to the state’s qualifying conditions, as well as a rundown of which medical conditions and symptoms must be verified by a physician in order to get authorized as a valid medical marijuana patient. Please note that some states allow physicians to approve other medical conditions not listed on a case-by-case basis, so check with your doctor.
The use of cannabis to treat a variety of debilitating medical conditions cleared a major hurdle Thursday when a legislative panel approved what supporters call the Compassionate Use Program.
The action by the Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee could move House Bill 3703 to the full chamber for a vote next week.
“The Texas Legislature took another step toward a more inclusive and functional Compassionate Use Program,” said Heather Fazio, director of the Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy. “Sadly, though, the vast majority of patients are being left behind. We hope senators will consider including patients with other debilitating medical conditions like PTSD, severe pain, and Crohn’s Disease.”
The bill, which already has passed in the House, does not affect overall marijuana laws in Texas.
However, it does expand the medical use of cannabis to treat medical conditions including all epilepsy and seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, terminal cancer, and incurable neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, autism and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Several marijuana bills, however, remained bottled up.
The House has passed a measure by El Paso Democrat to effectively decriminalize first-time possession of an ounce or less of marijuana. But House Bill 63 is a nonstater in the Senate where Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the presiding officer, has said he opposes any relaxation of drug laws.
Time for considering legislation is short. The session in Austin ends May 27.
In the mid-1600s, hemp was a cash crop for European settlers who had recently arrived in what would become the United States. It remained an integral part of the colonies’, and later independent country’s economy for centuries, until the early 1900s, when Americans started to change their attitude toward cannabis.
The budding marijuana movement of the present day has overcome enormous obstacles in its long, winding attempt to end cannabis prohibition, from the fear that was ingrained into society by Harry Anslinger, the infamous 1936 drama “Reefer Madness,” and the war on drugs initiated by the Nixon administration in the 1970s.
Cannabis legalization hasn’t spread across the U.S. in a linear fashion, though. Aside from a few exceptions, notably Colorado, medical marijuana legislation took root on the West Coast, followed soon after by the Northeast.
Prohibition received its first series of blows when California, Oregon, and Washington legalized medical cannabis during the 1990s. Voters in these three Pacific Coast states were also among the first to legalize recreational cannabis, starting with Washington. Then, as if the enthusiasm behind weed legalization decided to board an airplane and fly east, the next wave of legalization began in the Northeast, with a layover in Colorado.
Gradually, cannabis prohibition has been withering, now that 10 states have legalized adult-use cannabis, also known as recreational use, and a total of 33 have medical marijuana legislation in place. Some states without any form of legal cannabis are starting to allow medical use of cannabidiol (CBD) products with low amounts of THC.
The federal government also is starting to embrace the plant that was a vital part of the U.S. economy. The 2018 Farm Bill, signed Dec. 20, 2018, removed hemp‘s status as a controlled substance and legalized industrial hemp production.
Dosage is the key factor in achieving the most benefits and least adverse effects of cannabis. After following thousands of patients using medical cannabis for eight years, I’ve observed that dosing cannabis is unlike any therapeutic agent to which I was exposed in my medical training. A basic understanding of the key characteristics of cannabis dosing can empower you to make the most of this incredibly versatile, safe, and effective herb.
Have you ever discussed cannabis with your doctor? Despite the fact that 29 states plus the District of Columbia have decriminalized the use of marijuana for the treatment of certain medical problems, research published in September 2017 in Drug and Alcohol Dependence found that nine out of ten doctors were unprepared to prescribe it to their patients. “Most doctors don’t know much about it, even in the states where it is legal,” says Rav Ivker, DO, a holistic family physician in Boulder, Colorado and author of Cannabis for Chronic Pain: A Proven Prescription for Using Marijuana to Relieve Your Pain and Heal Your Life.