Marcela Boyacá Mesa
Latin Agency for Medicine News
The cannabis plant or better known as marijuana has more than 500 chemical compounds and has been used since 3,000 BC in the industry and for therapeutic purposes, being very successful treatments for patients with seizures, mental illnesses and it was used as an analgesic for the time of delivery. The Journal of Medicine and Public Health (MPS) interviewed Dr. Maria Fernanda Arboleda anesthesiologist and researcher in supportive care in cancer and medicinal cannabis to learn more about the therapeutic uses of the ancient plant.
“In the 1800s it was accepted by the doctors of the time, there are those who say that it was accepted by the queen’s court who used it for the pains of her menstrual cramps or dysmenorrhea what we call in medicine and by the 1850s it was accepted in the pharmacopoeia of the United States, however, due to the relationship that begins to give the cannabis plant with crimes, with the psychoactive part, which is a drug, which represents a danger, it was withdrawn from the United States pharmacopoeia in 1942 and we entered that prohibitionist era in which we find ourselves ”.
Several countries in the world have modified their laws in order to reintroduce the use of this plant for medicinal and recreational purposes, in Uruguay and Canada it is fully legalized and more than thirty countries have already legalized it for therapeutic purposes.
Listen to the full interview here
This compound of the plant is the most used by doctors for therapeutic purposes, there are more than a hundred but the two most used are THC and CBD, Dr. Arboleda explained why these two are the most studied.
“When a person looks for cannabis or marijuana for recreational use, they will look for high concentrations of THC because the THC produces this feeling of euphoria and well-being and this effect produces what we call psychoactivity, but you should not demonize the THC because the THC at very small doses that have nothing to do with the doses used for recreational purposes will allow us to control some symptoms. Medical cannabis does not cure any disease, controls symptoms within a disease and the THC has shown that it can control chronic neuropathic pain, patients with chronic neuropathic pain are patients with diabetes mellitus because it gives them very severe pain in their limbs, patients with herniated discs or known as sciatica, the THC It is also used to sleep and has been shown to improve the quality of sleep in patients with insomnia, there is also evidence that it increases appetite and we doctors use this to our advantage in cancer patients with HIV who have anorexia syndrome. Finally the THC it has been shown to improve nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. ”
The doctor explained that CBD does not produce that intoxication that is seen with THC and it is from the point of view of the medical literature and scientific evidence has proven to be an excellent anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic and others.
“It has been shown that it can help with pain for example in patients with arthritis, it also improves anxiety, studies tell us about patients who have social anxiety disorders which is an important type of anxiety, also patients with post-traumatic stress disorder such as those who have gone to war or have been kidnapped develop this type of post-traumatic stress disorder and CBD can help us with that type of anxiety and THC can help us sleep better and there we begin to see in which cases it will help us and finally the CBD has been very famous for the effect on seizures, it helps to control seizures in epilepsy especially in children who have refractory epilepsies which are known as the syndrome of Lennox–Gastaut and the Dravet’s syndrome that they are two types of epilepsy where children seizure many times a day and that affects their quality of life and that of their parents, CBD can be very useful in these cases ”.
Medical cannabis does not cure and does not replace any medicine, it is a complement or as it is said in adjuvant medicine
Challenges of medicine in the use of cannabis
Research gaps: scientific evidence for the use of cannabis in various diseases remains to be built.
Social stigma for the use of medical cannabis: this stigma is seen all over the world including for medicinal use.
Regulatory limitations: There are bans in many countries and the doctor is handicapped when prescribing and patients are forced to access these products in illegal markets that can put the patient at risk unnecessarily.
Limitation in education of the use of medicinal cannabis to doctors: It is a subject that is not addressed in the academy in most cases due to the stigma attached to the subject, this leads the doctor not to prescribe it.