cannabis

For many patients, cannabis may offer the best medicinal pain relief yet discovered

Friday, April 06, 2012 by: Raw Michelle
Tags: cannabis, pain relief, medicine

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(NaturalNews) By the beginning of the 1980s, after a four decade long lockdown, a re-interest in cannabis arose in the scientific community. In 1982, the American Institute of Medicine published an intriguing report entitled "Marijuana and Health". The report was a collection of tentative exploratory research and case studies of the use of cannabis as a medicine.

The reappearance of a powerful plant in human pharmacopeia

The studies provided a glimpse of something that intrigued health care researchers. While the plant's effects were entirely congruent with the goal of healing, the methodology used by the plant's chemicals was very different from those employed by typical pharmaceuticals. To developers, cannabis suddenly represented a precedent for a whole new type of medicine. With over 88 pharmacologically active substances, cannabis introduced hundreds of new compounds to the medical world. The institute's report concluded that further research into cannabis' potential would be of great value to the field.

However, further research was very limited, stifled by cannabis' legal status and social stigma. The legal status forces researchers to expend an overwhelming amount of time and effort to get permission to conduct the studies. The social stigma causes institutes to be less likely to receive funding for the projects, and that researchers are sacrificing their reputation in the professional world. That also means most of the studies conducted are federally funded. Unfortunately, in addition, successful researchers will still have to face a further publication bias, as journals also risk their reputations and status when publishing cannabis related research. It is ironic that even within a scientific community, researchers are punished for being unbiased. As a result, outlets that focus solely on cannabis related research have arisen. Internet publications have opened a wide market for research that would have previously been buried.

Where opiates don't quite cut it

Of the studies that have been conducted, most have focused on marijuana as a treatment for neuropathic pain, one of the earliest treatments for which physicians saw potential. Neuropathic pain results from nerve damage in which the cells experience difficulty communicating. This can happen from traumas like surgery, where nerve connections are severed, but continue trying to communicate news of the damage to the next cell over. Similarly, when new nerve cells are formed but not yet hooked into the neural highway, they sputter and spark, trying to achieve connection. The sensation can be very painful. Neuropathic pain is very common symptom of cancer. Tumour growth can crush nerve trunks as it bullies its way to more territory.

Sometimes just talking about it helps

Early studies demonstrate that cannabis is hugely effective in treating neuropathic pain. The cannabinoids allow nerve cells to reverse the communication path. Cells sending trauma notifications to the main trunk would normally continue doing so until the stimuli was resolved. From a practical standpoint, it is difficult to eliminate pain the moment it is recognised, but from a human level, once the person is cognizant of the problem, there is no benefit to remaining in pain. Cannabis simply tells the alarmed cell that authorities have been notified and that the problem will be resolved shortly. It doesn't, as is popularly believed, relieve pain by making cells "stoned" or unfocused so as to disrupt communication.

The few studies have been conducted have returned agreeing with the American Medical Institute's findings and recommendations. After only preliminary examination, cannabis presents itself as a powerful tool. More in-depth research is likely to further displace today's most relied-upon pharmaceuticals.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC34324/?tool=pmcentrez

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1997313/

http://www.iasp-pain.org

About the author:
Raw Michelle is a natural health blogger and researcher, sharing her passions with others, using the Internet as her medium. She discusses topics in a straight forward way in hopes to help people from all walks of life achieve optimal health and well-being. She has authored and published hundreds of articles on topics such as the raw food diet and green living in general.

Click here to see more by Michelle

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