Imagine waking up every morning and knowing that you have been infected with the AIDS virus, and could die in a couple of years. What if their was something you could do to slow the affects of the virus to live a longer life expectancy? Would you inhale a joint of marijuana, even if it was prescribed by a physician? I believe the majority of people would take the chance to live longer, especially if it meant that they could see a new smiling face each day, another pleasant cheer of laughter to be heard, and a bright colorful sunset to be seen. “Marijuana is a relatively mild, nonaddictive drug with hallucinogenic properties, obtained from the flowering tops, stems, and leaves of the hemp plant. Resins found on the surface of the female plant are used to prepare the most potent form of marijuana, hashish. The primary active substance is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Marijuana produces a dreamy, euphoric state of altered consciousness, with feelings of detachment and gaiety. The appetite is usually enhanced, while the sex drive may increase of decrease.”(******) Though exposed with an increasing number in the 1960’s up to today’s time period, marijuana usage has been an entertainment bandstand throughout the years, and has taken peoples minds to unseen worlds. With all the talk about how great this fantasy drug is, the majority of people do not realize the history that it has, with the ways it affects us, and the medical uses that it provides for us. Many citizens of this world today acknowledge the thought of marijuana as a negative source, but in contrast is has an extremely positive acceptance when dealing with the medical field. Throughout time many people have obtained the thought that marijuana is an evil drug that destroys people lifestyles, and has been only used by those of what some people call as “hippies” or “stoners.” When in fact marijuana has been used for past centuries for medical use. In about 2700 B.C, the Emperor Shen-Nung discovered the plant known as cannabis, where marijuana comes from.
The ancient Chinese formed many remedies in the form of a liquid extract to help relieve pain from people suffering from menstrual fatigue, malaria, gout, and constipation. Later on, these Chinese solutions spread to Middle East, Central Asia, Greece, and Rome. In 1621, cannabis was recommended by an English clergyman, named Robert Burton, to treat depression. Coming upon the turn of the 19th century, more than a quarter of a million Americans had been addicted to cannabis related drugs, along with cocaine, heroin, and morphine. In 1914 the Harrison Narcotics Act was initiated among America, which was the beginning of many laws confining drugs. Marijuana had soared new heights in popularity during the 1960s, and users started obtaining its therapeutic advantages.
US soldiers took the benefits of this drug, during Vietnam, to relieve the pain of spinal cord injuries and to also reduce muscle spasms. About a decade later, marijuana’s pharmaceutical capabilities began to capture the attention of sick patients around America, and many of these citizens were being arrested for possession of marijuana. To get marijuana into the hands critically ill cancer patients, at least 20 states passed laws allowing their health departments to conduct research on cannabis’ medicinal effectiveness, using marijuana provided by the federal government’s Investigational New Drug (IND) program. The IND program allowed experimental drugs to be made available to critically ill patients for “compassionate use.”(*********) But because of governmental restrictions and laws only six states got the chance to perform these investigation; which included New Mexico, California, New York, Tennessee, Michigan, and Georgia. In spite of the fact that the use of marijuana has been illegal in the United States since 1937, research has continued on medical uses of marijuana up to today.
One of the most interesting findings was the effect of marijuana in reducing intracular pressure. As the amount of marijuana increased in dosage the pressure within the eye decreased by up to 30%, whether it occurred in a normal persons as well as in those with glaucoma.(*******) In 1949, two doctors, Davis and Ramsey, performed a study on 5 epileptic children and the effect of THC on these children. Five of these children, all had severe symptomatic grand mal epilepsy with mental retardation; three of them had cebral palsy; and two had focal seizure activity. After a couple of test and examinations the reports had been completed as follows: Three children had responded at least as well as to normal therapy for epileptic children, and the fourth child was almost completely seizure free, along with the fifth child who became absolutely seizure free. As a result of their study, David and Ramsey felt that “the cannabinoids here in reported deserve further trial in non-institutionalized epileptics.”(*********) Chemotherapy is one of the most significant cancer treatments that doctors have come up with.
Chemotherapeutic agents are some of the most dominant and lethal chemicals that are used in medicine today. Unfortunately, while attacking cancer cells in the body, these chemicals tend to also kill healthy body cells, and sometimes causes the patients to have unpleasing and hazardous side effects. But the most common side effects for patients is abstruse nausea and vomiting. This may last for hours at a time to up to days and even weeks. Many patients may not be able to eat anything, because they may get sick just seeing food or smelling it.
Many patients will obtain enough relief from this sickness by using standardized drugs equal to Compazine or Zofran. But both of these drugs may lead to a cost of hundreds of dollars per treatment, and that is why some state research programs are discussing that marijuana may be a remarkably effective substitute for these standard drugs.(**********) Unfortunately there is a great number of people that suffer from chemotherapy by there is even a greater number who suffer from migraines. Migraines are severe headaches that last for long periods of time from hours to days, and is appended by visual perplexities or nausea and vomiting or both. They are triggered by stress, by specific foods, and by bright lights, loud noises, and penetrating odors. Relief of migraine could be just another narcotic effect of cannabis, but one study suggest that something more is involved.
THC has been found to hinder the release of serotonin from the blood of migraine sufferers during an attack.(******) Though the outcome still needs more evidence that marijuana is a clear resolution for migraines, there is a good chance that the data will be useful for later research. Today, researchers and doctors have spent millions of dollars find a cure for a outbreak that has taken over more than two million lives in the United States since 1981. This is the AIDS epidemic has spread most rapidly among inner-city black and Hispanic drug abusers and their sexual partners. With no cure known, almost all infected persons will eventually become diseased. Though the virus can be attacked by a antiviral drug named zidovudine (AZT), the drug just suppresses the creation of red blood cells by the bone marrow, decreases the number of white blood cells, and has many damaging effects on the digestive system.
AZT may also cause a patient to become extremely nausea, which may increase the danger of starvation for the sufferer, who is already distressing from nausea and losing weight because of the illness. There is a forerunner of AIDS known as ARC (AIDS-related complex). It includes swelling of the lymph nodes, fever, nausea, diarrhea, pain, and fatigue. Unfortunately, many of the prescribed drugs, like AZT, hardly touch the symptoms of AIDS and ARC, but doctors began to notice that small amounts of marijuana smoked during the day helped to eliminate the nausea entirely and decreased the number of stools to only a couple a day. On top of these decreasing numbers many of these victims tolerate to fatigue, which cannabis reduces as well. Regular marijuana users are familiar with the fact that marijuana is an appetite stimulant. It tends to make food more desirable with an enhanced flavor and aroma, which makes the meal to its full pleasure.
In 1971, four groups of subjects received either a marijuana extract, alcohol, dextroamphetamine, or a placebo after fasting for twelve hours. Then the test subjects were offered milkshakes, and asked how hungry they were and how well the food tasted. The patients who tested the marijuana felt hungrier and ate more; those who took the dextroamphetamine and placebo felt less hungry and ate less; and the one with the alcohol had a negligible effect.(*******) Showing that marijuana had such a tremendous affect on a person’s body to crave food in that great of an amount, demonstrates how an AIDS victim can live a much longer life and stay more nourished than without marijuana.