Health Facts Many people in Colorado are not familiar with the state's Medical Marijuana laws, and the conditions that allow a person to qualify for medical use. You may qualify and not even know it! Marijuana has been shown to be very effective in alleviating the symptoms of a number of illnesses and diseases. Some of the more common include Chronic Pain, Nausea, Glaucoma, Seizures, Cancer, Diabetes, Muscle Spasms and many more.
Cachexia Cachexia is a wasting syndrome usually caused by various underlying disorders, and results in nutritional deficiency. Symptoms can include loss of weight, fatigue, muscle atrophy, loss of appetite and weakness. Cachexia can be caused by various cancers, Congestive Heart Failure, drug addiction, infectious diseases, and autoimmune disorders.
A severe reduction in body mass (more than 10% of total body weight) may cause changes in metabolic functions such as electrolyte balance. When electrolyte imbalances occurs it results in reduced strength, increased weakness and fatigue, feeling of numbness / tingling / involuntary twitching, and even pain. Even the most basic tasks can be difficult to individuals who are severely malnourished. In the most severe cases, starvation results in death.
Surveys conducted on appetite stimulation have shown that the use of marijuana has the potential to increase one’s appetite.
Cancer The use of marijuana has been found to help cancer patients with the pain and nausea caused by certain cancers and related chemotherapy. Recent research has indicated cannabis also has tumor-reducing and anti-carcinogenic properties as well. Marijuana can help increase appetite stimulation and help combat wasting.
The Institute of Medicine published a report in 1999 which stated: “In patients already experiencing severe nausea or vomiting, pills are generally ineffective because of the difficulty in swallowing or keeping a pill down, and the slow onset of the drug effect. Thus an inhalation (but, preferably not smoking) cannabinoid drug delivery system would be advantageous for treating chemotherapy induced nausea. Epilepsy Epilepsy, also known as a seizure disorder, is a neurological condition in which the nervous system is affected. Diagnosis usually occurs after an individual has suffered at least two seizures, not cause by another medical condition such as very low blood sugar, or alcohol withdrawal. Family tendency or a brain injury may cause epilepsy, but in most instances the cause is unknown.
Clinical research has shown that the use of marijuana can help control epileptic seizures. There have been several cases where sufferers who cannot tolerate traditional anti seizure medications have had success in controlling their seizures, with fewer or none of the common side effects of the traditional medications by using marijuana.
Glaucoma Over 4 million people in America suffer from Glaucoma, which is an eye disease that is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. Numerous studies have been done on the effect of marijuana as treatment for glaucoma. While there are differing reports, there is strong evidence that marijuana is a very effective treatment for many people.
At UCLA controlled studies were done showing that patients smoking marijuana have a 30% drop in eye pressure on average. The reduction was related to the dose taken and generally provided relief for 4 to 5 hours. Dr. Robert Hepler, who was the principal investigator in the UCLA study came to the conclusion that cannabis may be more useful than conventional medications and may reduce eye pressure in a way other medications can't, thus making marijuana a potential additive to a persons regimen.
One of the major problems with conventional medications is people generally build up a tolerance to them. Use of marijuana may provide a secondary source of relief allowing patients to vary their treatment which could eliminate the need for surgical intervention.
Treatment of Glaucoma with medical marijuana tends to affect different people in various ways and is more effective in some people then others. We suggest to our patients that they try it and see how it works for them, then discuss with their physicians how it may or may not become part of their regimen.
HIV HIV (Human Immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). HIV attacks the immune system, the part of the body which fights against infections. The main component of the immune system is the presence of white blood cells, which are destroyed by HIV. AIDS occurs when HIV has weakened the immune system so much that the body has difficulty fighting off infections.
The use of marijuana has been widely recognized for treating some of the symptoms related to HIV/AIDS. The Institute of Medicine has stated, “for patients such as those with AIDS or who are undergoing chemotherapy and who suffer simultaneously from severe pain, nausea, and appetite loss, cannabinoid drugs might offer broad-spectrum relief not found in any other single medication.” In trials performed, it was found that marijuana improved appetite and nausea, and many patients’ mood improved and gained weight.
Multiple Sclerosis Over 350,000 people in the U.S. suffer from Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a debilitating, painful, and potentially fatal disorder of the central nervous system. Among young people, MS is the most common debilitating neurological disease—appearing most frequently between the ages of 20 and 40, with more women being affected than men. While symptoms vary from person to person, the most common is spasticity, which causes spasms, pain, and loss of function.
Some controlled studies have reported marijuana improved spasticity and tremors (to some degree) in patients with MS. Patients with MS have reported cannabis has a dramatic effect on their muscle spasms, balance, bladder control, tremors, eyesight, and speech. Many patients in wheelchairs have stated they are able to walk without aid when they have smoke marijuana.
Muscle Spasms Using marijuana as treatment for muscle spasm has demonstrated significant success. Muscle spasm (or muscular spasticity) is a common condition which affects millions of people in the United States. Muscle Spasm are common in people with sclerosis, stroke, cerebral palsy, quadriplegia, spinal cord injuries, and various other conditions. There is a very limited number of treatments for muscle spasm available to patients, the most common being Phenobarbital and Diazepam (Valium). Patients generally develop a tolerance to these drugs rather quickly making them ineffective for treatment. Patients also often complain of becoming addicted to these drugs.
The amount of evidence for the effectiveness of marijuana use for the treatment of muscle spasm is overwhelming. Our patients generally find the results to be immediate and long lasting. We have also noticed a psychological benefit to our patients knowing they can get greater benefit and relief from a natural remedy like marijuana then strong and addicting pharmaceuticals like Valium.
Below are some of the evidence and research done on the effects of marijuana on muscular spasticity:
- Dr. J. Russell Renolds noted "There are many cases of so called epilepsy in adults but which, in my opinion (are) the result of organic disease of a gross character in the nervous centers, in which India hemp (cannabis) is the most useful agent with which I am acquainted."
- Dr. William B. O'Shaughnessy said that he was greatly impressed with marijuana's ability as a muscle relaxant and anti-convulsant, further stating "The (medical) profession has gained an anti-convulsive remedy of the greatest value."
- Dunn and Davis reported in a 1974 issue of Paraplegia magazine that ten patients admitted using marijuana for spinal cord injury, "with perceived decrease in pain and spasticity."
In September 1988 Chief Administrative Law Judge Francis Young of the DEA concluded that the medical benefits of marijuana on the treatment of spasticity is "beyond question" and he recommended rescheduling the drug to allow prescriptive access. Unfortunately the recommendation was rejected by the administrator of the DEA. Thankfully in 2000 the voters of Colorado expressed their understanding of the marijuana's value and passed Amendment 20 allowing the use of marijuana for treatment of muscle spasm among numerous other conditions.
Caregivers of Colorado offers the highest quality medical grade marijuana for treatment of muscle spasms.
Seizures Seizures, generally associated with Epilepsy, are abnormal, involuntary body movements. Seizures are categorized by the location in the brain they originate: partial and generalized. Partial seizures start in a specific part of the brain and usually cause no change in consciousness. Symptoms can include numbness, weakness, unusual smells and tastes, twitching of the muscles/limbs, sight changes, or vertigo.
Generalized seizures include more consistent abnormal movements of the arms and legs and may include a loss of consciousness. The individual often falls abruptly and begins to jerk uncontrollably and may become incontinent, drool, or bite their tongue. A seizure may last between 5-20 minutes and the individual may wake up in a confused state.
Chronic or Sever Pain. Amendment 20 to the Colorado Constitution allows for medical use of marijuana for relief of chronic or sever pain. This broad condition allows for the use of marijuana in Colorado for numerous conditions which cause a person pain. Prescription pain medications are some of the most addicting drugs to patients, which is why it is commonly accepted that marijuana use for pain relief is an acceptable medicine to reduce or eliminate the use of other more addicting and harmful medications.
We specialize in managing our patient’s pain, regardless of its severity. We believe, as the voters of Colorado did, that it is not the place of the law to prevent a person from using a medication like marijuana to relieve them of pain when it has been proven by many studies to be an effective form of pain relief.
Recently, at the University of California at Davis, a clinical trial concluded that marijuana provides significant relief of neuropathic pain stemming from a variety of ailments. “This is yet more proof that the American College of Physicians was right that the U.S. government policy on medical marijuana is totally divorced from scientific reality.”
Sever Nausea. Nausea is not a sickness in itself, but a symptom of several conditions, frequently unrelated to the stomach. When nausea occurs, it is usually an indicator of some underlying condition located elsewhere in the body. The stomach’s role in nausea starts when the brain comes to the conclusion that poison ingestion has occurred, causing one of the body’s senses to hallucinate. The resulting nausea is the brain inducing vomited to eradicate the supposed toxin.