Reflection Essay on Medical Marijuana
Dustin Flynn Assn# 5 Example/Comparison/Argumentative Inductive TREAT THE SYMPTOMS, NOT THE INJURY For centuries marijuana has been used by the top doctors of their time.And until recently, the past thirty years, the actual physical effects were unknown.Over the past three decades Science and Medicine have been researching what useful and healing effects this herb has, if any.
Through my research I have found what I had only thought to be true. Marijuana does have great medicinal use.
It is currently being used for an array of illnesses and injuries. But its most effective uses are focused in treating the onsets of AIDS and the symptoms from chemotherapy in the treatment of cancer. Those onsets and symptoms are anxiety, declining appetite, nausea, and general pain. These ailments bare a strong resemblance of the symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI. It is because of these resemblances that I have come to the conclusion that marijuana could be the best treatment for the symptoms associated with TBI.
In this article I am going to explain the historical uses of marijuana, the symptoms of TBI, the current treatments for TBI, how marijuana works, and the valued effects that marijuana can provide for persons diagnosed with TBI. As I said before, marijuana has been used for centuries for medicinal use. The first uses are dated back before 4000 BCE, (Before Common Era), as a food source because of its protein and omega 3 content. “The first recorded medicinal use was in 2737 BCE.
Emperor Shen-Nung of China suggested it be used for the treatment of constipation, menstruation cramps, rheumatism, malaria, gout, and absentmindedness. ”(Sanna, 18) Now if we look at some of these ailments and diseases and take some of the symptoms that are associated with them. We can see that they are similar to symptoms associated with TBI. Take rheumatism for example, most people associate rheumatism with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. But in its most simple diagnosis it is described as general pain and weakness, which is a common symptom with a major diagnosis of TBI.
Patients with a major diagnosis can be in, sometimes, constant pain, because the receptors in the brain that regulate pain are damaged due to their TBI. So centuries before things were the way they are now, there was a suitable prescription for one major symptom associated with TBI. Now lets look at absentmindedness, we cannot be sure what the exact definition of this could have been in 2737 BCE. But what we can take from this is that even back then it was acknowledged that marijuana was a suitable prescription for issues concerning the brain.
The Emperor was able to see a beneficial change in mood, memory, or thought process. Something made a significant change for him to recommend marijuana. Marijuana became very popular medically in China and eventually made its way to Europe. Around 500 BCE marijuana reached Europe, and with its long reputation as a medicating plant, the Europeans immediately put it into personal testing. “Doctors of that time separated marijuana into two groups, weedy, and cultivated. ”(Sanna 18) The weedy marijuana was best used for curing hard tumors. And the cultivated marijuana was best used for soothing and curing coughs.
Now that might seem like a big difference in the severity of symptoms, but the Doctors of that time tested marijuana with almost every ailment and disease that was brought to their attention. Again as before, if we look at one of these symptoms and compare it with symptoms of TBI we can see the benefits. As a patient with any severity of TBI there is a higher risk of developing cancerous and malignant tumors in the brain. “Doctors and Scientists are unsure of why this is associated with TBI”(Chew 851-878), but their research shows that the risks are there.
Marijuana has certain properties called “Cannabinoids” (Richmond) that actually convince tumors anywhere in the body to commit suicide. The reason this is so beneficial for patients with TBI, patients who are at higher risk of developing tumors in the brain, is because the “Cannabinoids” in marijuana link up with our bodies own “Endocannabinoid System”, (Richmond) a system which naturally produces cannabis in our bodies, and fight tumors in the brain. “Tumors in the brain are the hardest forms of tumors in the body to cure, because they are so hard to treat. (Chew 851-878) It is extremely dangerous for Doctors to operate on the the brain, and normal chemotherapy will usually kill the patient before it kills the tumor due to what is called the “blood/brain barrier”. (Chew 851-878) “The blood/brain barrier” is a filter of sorts, the brain has to have whole blood and oxygen to operate properly. The “blood/brain barrier” filters out toxins such as the ones used in chemotherapy, and is very selective in what it lets in the brain. The “Cannabinoids” found in marijuana are able to pass through that “blood/brain barrier” freely which allows it to do its job and destroy tumors, naturally.
Let us skip ahead to around the ninth century. Marijuana has gained popularity as a medicine everywhere east of the Atlantic. And in “India it was claimed to cure dandruff, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, leprosy, insomnia, and tuberculosis. ” (Sanna 18) As far as these ailments and diseases go, insomnia is the one symptom that is shared with patients of TBI. Many patients with any severity of TBI experience insomnia, or other sleeping disorders. Research today supports the Indians theories that marijuana can and does treat insomnia. Now to bring it home, in the United States from 1850 to 1942 marijuana was actually listed in the U.
S. Pharmacopeia, which is the list of government approved and recommended drugs for use in treatment of patients. At that time marijuana was stilled called cannabis and was being used in the treatment of labor pains and nausea. But in 1942 the United States Government declared cannabis, (marijuana), a level one narcotic and was made illegal to prescribe, posses, or cultivate. Out of the two ailments that marijuana was being used for at that time, nausea, is a direct symptom of TBI.Patients with any severity of TBI can have chronic nausea brought on by a injured equilibrium.
This injury can have the affects of severe motion sickness even when a patient is standing or sitting still. Finally in 2003, “Canada became the first country in the world to offer medical marijuana to patients” (Sanna 18), initially if was for the treatments of symptoms associated with cancer and AIDS. Since 2003 some states in the United States have followed that example, California being the first, but since medical marijuana is still Federally illegal patients, Doctors, and pharmacies can be arrested, closed, and have their licenses removed.
Which makes the freedom of prescribing and receiving medication difficult. “More than 5. 3 million people, or approximately two percent of the U. S. Population, are living with disabilities resulting from Traumatic Brain Injury. ” (Chew 851-878) Here is a list of some of the difficult symptoms, both mentally and physically, that these patients could be facing on a daily basis. Mentally; Attention Deficit Disorder, memory loss, depression, easily agitated, irritability, unprovoked acts of aggression and violence, mania, psychoses, and mood swings.
These are just the main mental struggles these patients possibly face suffering from TBI. Physically; Random loss of consciousness, disorientation, headaches, general pain, loss of balance, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, bad taste in the mouth, sensitivity to light and sound, sleeping disorders, seizures, and loss of bladder and bowel control. With all of these symptoms these patients could be facing it is hard to think of the cocktail of medicine that these patients could be forced to take on a daily basis.
Currently pharmaceutical companies try only to treat one symptom at a time, it makes for a bigger business and more profits, which leaves the patient, especially in this case, on the long road to recovery. Currently there are over thirty one different drugs being used just to treat the mental symptoms associated with TBI, with no one drug being able to treat multiple symptoms. So that means in most cases these patients are using at least two drugs on a trial basis at any given time, and if there is no change in symptoms they are simply switched to another medication until they achieve satisfactory effects.
Just imagine the strain these patients are putting on their livers just to ease the symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury. And this is how it is for every patient, Doctors are still unable to come up with what works best for certain symptoms. With that uncertainty, patients become human test subjects, and each Doctor becomes a researcher. And in some cases of mild TBI, the medication that is prescribed has side effects that out weigh the patients initial symptoms.
Why would anyone want to take medicine to stop vomiting if the outcome was constipation; and if someone has loss of balance, the medicine prescribed could make them extremely drowsy and have them sleep all day. The world of pharmaceuticals is expensive, representatives from these companies turn Doctors in to salesmen and spokesman. And the outcome is high cost prescriptions that cost the patient and the insurance companies millions of dollars every year, not to mention the huge amount of money that these companies receive from the government every year to research and produce new “miracle” drugs. Marijuana is made up of over 421 natural chemicals, of which over sixty are Cannabinoids”. (Richmond) Now as I mentioned earlier, we all have what is called a “Endocannabinoid System”, which regulates the “Cannabinoids” that are body naturally produces, that is right our bodies produce cannabis. The natural “Cannabinoids” in our body are used almost like our immune system. When there is something wrong in our bodies an alarm goes off, like when we get a cold, and our immune system rushes in and attacks that bad thing trying to kill it.
Our “Endocannabinoid System” works almost the same way but it is able to fight many bad things at once, while also protecting our good cells, regulating proper brain function, and leveling our anxiety. Our “Endocannabinoids System” is very advanced, it is mostly gathered in the brain, but it spans through the liver, the bones and the nervous system. There are four main “Cannabinoids” that Doctors and Scientists have been able to focus on because of there over all medicinal uses. The first and most recognizable is Delta 9-Tetraydrocannabinol or THC. THC is a psychoactive component that mimics and enhances the bodies own Endocannabinoids System” (Richmond); which widely effects mood, appetite, sleep, and good cell protection. So for patients who have been diagnosed with TBI that have appetite loss, sleeping disorders, and mood swings, this component of marijuana can greatly help. The second main “Cannabinoid” is Cannabidol or CBD. “CBD is a non-psychoactive component that enhances the sedative effect” (Richmond), which is good for patients diagnosed with TBI specifically dealing with insomnia.
It also is an excellent anti-inflammatory, and bone growth stimulant. It has anti-diabetic and anti-bacterial capabilities, it also has anti-proliferative anti-cancerous capabilities, which means it helps to kill malignant tumors. It is a anti-spasmodic, which fights against muscle spasms and seizures. It is a neuroprotectant that helps regulate pain due to nerve damage, and it is a anti-psychotic, which helps in the fight against schizophrenia, these last three symptoms are directly associated with TBI. The third main “Cannabinoid” is Tetrahydrocannabivarin or THCV. THCV is a non-psychoactive component” (Richmond) that helps the other main “Cannabinoids” to be delivered faster, and to the correct spots where the “Endocannabinoid System” is possibly running low on ammunition. This component could extremely help patients diagnosed with TBI to get the correct “Cannabinoids” where they are needed quicker. But its downfall can be that if there is to much THCV in the certain strain of marijuana, that the effects of the other “Cannabinoids” will be short lived. It is also a very effective protective/preventive against type two diabetes.
The last main “Cannabinoid” is Cannabichromene or CBC. “CBC is a psychoactive component that is a lower strength Cannabinoid” (Richmond) which is a excellent anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, bone growth stimulant, that strongly prohibits tumor growth in Leukemia and breast cancer. There are few solid arguments against the evidence that has been shown in today’s scientific research. The most popular argument about using marijuana medicinally is that when smoked we are actually introducing tar and other cancer causing agents into our body.
But research shows that there is absolutely, one hundred percent, no evidence to support the theory of that. In fact it is quite the opposite. Also to help against that argument, there are now ways of ingesting marijuana without smoking it, it can be made into a butter and cooked into everyday foods. It can be made into a spray form that is applied directly under the tongue, and it also comes in a very low dosage pill form which is currently used only for nausea and vomiting associated with cancer and AIDS treatments.
Another argument is that there is no way to regulate the dosage on marijuana because there is such a difference between strains of the marijuana plant, someone could overdose. Scientist have proven that if someone was to overdose on marijuana that the initial reaction the body will put off is to just go to sleep, that is it. The patient would just sleep it off as if it were a hangover, minus the headache in the morning. Also the longest possible side effects will last with marijuana is only a few hours, even if there is a overdose situation.
In the thousands of recorded years of marijuana use, for recreation or medically, there has not been one recorded death, no one has died just from using marijuana. In fact scientists have come up with what it would take for a person to actually die from smoking marijuana. “A person would have to smoke 1500 pounds of marijuana in about fifteen minuets, and they would probably die of asphyxiation. ” (Richmond) The only other argument that has any solid ground is that, at least in the United States, marijuana is still federally illegal to posses, cultivate, and distribute.
And to that argument, the only thing I can say is that it will take the states themselves to stand up and take care of their own people, and provide them with the medicines they need, then eventually the federal government will have to fall in line. In seeing this evidence of marijuana and its scientifically proven medicinal uses, most people can not believe it is true. People cannot believe that there is one drug that is able to treat so many things at once. The truth is that for thousands of years our body has produced this drug on its own, and with the growth of humans not only intellectually but physically, and industrially.
We have created a world that has taken our “Endocannabinoid System” and made it in some cases useless. We are introduced to so many toxins in our food, in our air, and even in our medications that we have not been able to upgrade our “Endocannabinoid System”, like we have with our immune system ,with the introduction of vaccines and certain pollutants. Thousands of years ago, before we created most of the toxins of today’s world, our “Endocannabinoid System” was perfectly able to combat along with our immune system against most of the ailments and everyday aches and pains.
We have not steadily increased our intake of “Cannabinoids” like we have with other things. We are still operating at a level suitable for life thousands of years ago. With the introduction of marijuana into our bodies we will not only be able to fight against these tough symptoms associated with TBI, but we could possibly be able to prevent and possibly cure diseases like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, and many other everyday symptoms that we are all faced with in our life. Thesis Statement: marijuana could be the best treatment for the symptoms associated with Traumatic Brain Injury.
OUTLINE I-TREAT THE SYMPTOMS; NOT THE INJURY A-Historical uses of marijuana B-Symptoms of TBI C-Current treatments of TBI D-How marijuana works E-The valued affects that marijuana can provide for persons diagnosed with TBI II-Historical uses of Marijuana A-Before 4000 BCE a-used as a food source B-First recorded medical use in 2737 BCE a-Emperor Shen-Nung of China makes suggested uses C-Marijuana in Europe around 500 BCE D-Marijuana in India around the Ninth Century E-U. S. Between 1850 and 1942 a-Marijuana is listed in U. S.
Pharmacopeia F-2003, Canada become first country to legalize Marijuana for Medical use III-Symptoms of TBI A-Mental Symptoms B-Physical Symptoms IV-How Marijuana Works A-A brief description of the Endocannabinoid System B-The affects of marijuana on the Endocannabinoid System C-Four main Cannabinoids found in marijuana V-The valued affects that marijuana can provide for persons diagnosed with TBI A-The four main Cannabinoids and there healing powers VI-Arguments against the use of medical marijuana A-Marijuana smoke is bad for you
B-No way to regulate dosage, possible overdose C-In the U. S. It is still federally illegal to posses, cultivate, and distribute VII-Marijuana and its overall affect on our body A-Marijuana is a great natural substance that cannot only heal us but prevent us from acquiring new ailments B-Marijuana is the best treatment for the symptoms associated with TBI REFERENCES Fogarty, A; Rowstone, P; Prestag, G; Crawford, J; Grierson, J; Kippax, S. “Marijuana as a Therapy for People Living with HIV/AIDS: Social and Health Aspects. AIDS Care February/19(2) 2007: 295-301 WEB August 15, 2011 www. cinahl. com/cgi-bin/refsvc? jid=914&accno=2009490500 Cotter, J. “Efficiency of Crude Marijuana and Synthetic Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol as Treatment for Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting: A Systematic Literature Review” Oncology Nursing Forum May/36(3) 2009: 345-352 WEB August 15, 20011 www. cinahl. com/cgi-bin/refsvc? jid=293&accno=2010421156 Chew, E; Zafonte, R. “Pharmacological Management of Neurobehavioral Disorders following Traumatic Brain Injury-A State-of-the-Art Review…
Research to Improve the Lives of Veterans: Approaches to Traumatic Brain Injury; Screening, Treatment, Management, and Rehabilitation in Arlington, Virginia, April 30 to May 2, 2008. ” Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development June/46(6) 2009: 851-878 WEB August 15, 2011 www. cinahl. com/cgi-bin/refsvc? jid=1009&accno=2010544758 Sanna, E. J. Mind Altering Weed Broomall: Mason Crest, 2008 Print What if Cannabis could Cure Cancer. Dir. Lee Richmond. Lee Richmond Films LLC 2010 Film