One of the most commonly asked questions I receive from people that are trying to decide whether or not to begin using medical cannabis is “will it help me?”
I always answer, “well, it can’t hurt you”.
The predictable side effect profile of cannabis (dry mouth, red eyes, relaxation, mood elevation) coupled by the lack of any instance of acute fatality makes the above statement completely correct. There is, however, another aspect of cannabis that I didn’t learn until I began helping people use this medicine over two years ago.
I’ve seen some incredible things.
The medical use of cannabis dates back over 10,000 years to the Chinese. In these ancient times, this useful plant was used to treat pain and many various conditions such as nausea and migraines. Used as a tea, cannabis was drank to help treat gout, rheumatism, malaria, and even poor memory.
While the ancient uses of cannabis are well documented, many people don’t realize that cannabis and its derivatives were commonly used in Western medicine until the prohibitionist forces were able to strike it from the United States Pharmacopeia in 1942. The backlash from physicians at the time was so pronounced doctors actually walked out of their hospitals and joined the picket line.
The doctor’s cannabis strike was, of course, short lived. Physicians eventually gave up the fight and accepted the loss of this useful natural treatment. In 1970, the Controlled Substance Act drove the final nail into the coffin as cannabis was classified as a Schedule I, a substance without any accepted medical use that cannot be used safely even under the supervision of a doctor.
It was the AIDS crisis in California that drove the push to pass the nation’s first medical marijuana law in 1996.
Since that ballot initiative, over 33 other states have followed suit – with Floridians passing Amendment 2 in 2016 by a 71.3 Percent margin.
I met my first medical marijuana patient on January 3, 2017, and since then I’ve seen over 4,000 men, women, and children all looking for a treatment alternative. Sure we don’t have double peer-reviewed medical studies on these patients, but I can tell you the honest truth about what I’ve witnessed.
While there have been a few instances where cannabis didn’t accomplish what the patient sought for it to do, those cases are most definitely in the minority.
In the vast majority of patients, most of which were very cannabis inexperienced, the positive results were beyond any expectation. Once they found their dose and products that worked for them, many individuals found their pain to be lessened (usually greatly), their mood to be much better, their anxiety reduced, and found they were able to sleep better than they had in years. After a few months of using cannabis, the average patient was able to reduce or sometimes eliminate many of the prescription medications they were taking everyday.
The most shocking aspect of the patients I’ve met is the positive cases were not isolated instances. Over 90 percent of individuals being treated with cannabis reported a positive life change due to the medicine. 80 percent were able to reduce prescription medications, with anti-anxiety drugs leading the reductions, followed by opioids. A full 50 percent of patients reported experiencing a better quality of life that they’d not seen in years.
Cannabis isn’t for everyone, and it certainly isn’t a cure-all. Anyone who would claim as such should be discredited as selling snake oil. In Florida, the law requires you to be suffering from a chronic and debilitating illness.
Cannabis is, however, effective for people with no other options. It brings hope to those people who have run the pharmaceutical gamet – bouncing from one drug to another to try and combat the symptoms of their illness, usually compounding issues because of the litany of side effects that come with pills.
Just finding your dose and the right product combination is difficult enough. To better help you along the way, make sure you find a responsive physician that will listen to your concerns (like Dr. Kunstman here at Medicann). As a cannabis clinician, I’ve seen how important proper education is. Without a good teacher, your odds of success are diminished.
Will cannabis work for you? As I explained earlier, it certainly won’t hurt you. Given the best guess I can muster, if you are able to find your optimal dose and the right product combination for your individual physiology – yes, cannabis will work.