Originally published August 15 2009
Calls for Further Research into Medicinal Marijuana Gain Momentum
by Ethan Huff
(NaturalNews) In 2008, the American College of Physicians (ACP) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, released a position paper entitled Supporting Research Into the Therapeutic Role of Marijuana that expresses the group's support for increased research and investigation into the medicinal functionality of marijuana, including one of its key elements, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC as it is commonly known. Since marijuana is federally classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, legitimate research investigating its efficacy medicinally has been limited due to its illegality and the stigma that often accompanies it. Yet, preclinical, clinical, and anecdotal reports continue to support the increasingly acknowledged fact that marijuana's key components treat a host of maladies, including cancer.
Prior to 1942, marijuana was recognized and included in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia, the official public standards-setting authority on medicine in the United States. According to Marijuana as Medicine? The Science Beyond the Controversy by Allison Mack and Janet Joy, marijuana's earliest known medicinal uses date back to twenty-seventh century B.C. China where then emperor Chen Nung discovered that it effectively treated gout, rheumatism, and malaria.
Fast forward to nineteenth-century America when research showing marijuana as an effective treatment for chronic cough, gonorrhea, cramps, headaches, fever, diabetes, impotence, and general aches and pains was becoming widely known due to research conducted by the Ohio State Medical Society. In fact, in the 1930s at least two American pharmaceutical companies were successfully marketing standardized extracts of marijuana for use as an analgesic, antispasmodic, and sedative. One company even began marketing a cigarette form for treating asthma.
Everything changed in 1937 when the U.S. Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 which heavily restricted the sale of and prescription for medicinal marijuana which ultimately led to the end of its production by drug companies. By 1942, marijuana was removed from the U.S. Pharmacopoeia on the grounds that it was a harmful and addictive drug, thanks in part to the increased recreational use of marijuana for non-medicinal purposes by the general public and propaganda campaigns conducted against the plant around the same time period. Eventually, it became the Schedule I controlled substance that it is today, regarded in the minds of most Americans as merely a dangerous drug that deserves prohibition.
Many books, papers, articles, and studies delve much further into the history of marijuana and its gradual extinction as a generally recognized and efficacious medicinal treatment, but in recent decades, the debate over its usefulness in medicine has begun to emerge once again. As many states have begun legalizing forms of marijuana for medicinal purposes, the subject has begun to reform into one worthy of serious debate. Additionally, the demand for investigation into it has seen a gain in momentum, especially among medical professionals. Because countless reports of marijuana's amazing healing properties continue to materialize, thanks to the free flow of this information across the internet, the truth is rapidly spreading about its potential and the medical profession appears to be taking some notice.
As it pertains to cancer, for example, anecdotal reports in recent years have shown the amazing effectiveness of marijuana in treating and curing cancer with virtually no side effects. A Canadian man named Rick Simpson claims that potent extracts of hemp oil containing THC successfully cured the illnesses and cancers of many in his small Nova Scotian town. For years he produced and provided this oil to his fellow neighbors in need free of charge until the authorities clamped down on his trafficking of the illegal substance. Simpson's hemp oil was non-hallucinogenic and purely medicinal, taken both orally and topically in gel form. He has much convincing documentation supporting his claims and tours Canada holding seminars about hemp oil.
While just one example begs further review and consideration, there is escalating interest among people of all stripes into this taboo subject. Many, including professional and well-respected groups such as ACP, are calling for a revaluation of marijuana, essentially calling for an end to the negative stigma that has inhibited serious inquiry into the legitimate uses of a plant that holds seemingly nonpareil healing capabilities. Health minded individuals everywhere would do well to research the subject for themselves and support this legitimate effort in discovering the truth about marijuana.
American College of Physicians. Supporting Research into the Therapeutic Role of Marijuana. Philadelphia: American College of Physicians; 2008: Position Paper. (Available from American College of Physicians, 190 N. Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106.)
Mack, Allison. Marijuana As Medicine? : The Science Beyond the Controversy. 2001. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2001.
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About the authorEthan Huff is a freelance writer and health enthusiast who loves exploring the vast world of natural foods and health, digging deep to get to the truth. He runs an online health publication of his own at http://wholesomeherald.blogspot.com.
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