Thu, Oct

All Things Cannabis

Does medical cannabis (aka marijuana) really do all the things that I’ve been hearing about lately? It sounds more like snake oil to me. I’ve heard it helps cancer patients, it helps insomnia, it helps kids with autism….REALLY? I think it just gets people high and they forget about their problems. What’s the real story about “medical” cannabis?
Curious about Cannabis

Dear Curious,

As more states legalize either medical and /or recreational cannabis it seems that both the facts and the misinformation continue to grow. Given that cannabis is a political hot potato with decades of stigma surrounding it, separating fact from fiction can be a challenge.

I understand your skepticism about the broad and almost unending list of symptoms and diseases that benefit from the use of cannabis. Our society is so conditioned to pharmaceutical interventions that are single focused, i.e., antidepressants for depression, anxiolytics for anxiety, opioids for pain, etc., not to mention the drugs they prescribe to manage the side effects caused by the pharmaceutical drugs and any interactions between those drugs! It’s almost unheard of to be able to take one medicine (cannabis) that does all these things: kills pain, reduces depression and anxiety, plus much more. And by the way, that one drug is nontoxic with only minor side effects such as dry mouth, when used strategically and responsibly. Also note, that you can benefit from cannabis without the “high”. Sounds too good to be true, huh?

Cannabis and the science around it has grown exponentially in the past 50 years. There are more than 25,000 medical studies on cannabis that support most of the claims you read on the Internet or see in the media. If you are interested in reading them, go to the National Center for Biotechnology Information website: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov and search the terms: cannabinoids, cannabis, marijuana, etc. There is also a resources list on my website, dearnursesusan.com. Finally, if you prefer your information delivered in bite-size pieces, stay tuned to this column for weekly “Green Bites.”

I hope this helps balance your skepticism a bit,

Nurse Susan