To inform my audience what medical marijuana is, the medical conditions that it treats, and the different ways medical marijuana is used.
Today I am going to talk about the benefits of medical marijuana. There are many negative connotations that marijuana carries. Often times marijuana is perceived negatively because of its use as a recreational drug. While marijuana can be abused it has many health benefits for patients that struggle with illnesses such as chronic pain, gastrointestinal diseases, epilepsy, and even the side effects of treatment for chemotherapy and AIDS.
Transition: Without understanding the chemical composition of marijuana and how it works, it can be hard to grasp the idea of using a psychoactive drug to treat patients.
First Main Point: Why do humans have the receptors for cannabinoids?
A. Marijuana is made up of chemical compounds, or cannabinoids, which contain both psychoactive and therapeutic properties that produce positive effects of healing.
1. What are cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are active compounds that bind to your bodies cannabinoid receptors.
2. Why do we have receptors for cannabinoids?
All animals, except insects, have what is called endocannabinoids. They are naturally produced neurotransmitters to help regulate your body. The endocannabinoid system regulates all human physiological systems. Meaning it regulates biological responses such as sleep pattern, stress, appetite, blood pressure, inflammation, and more. (Medical Marijuana 101)
3. There are two different receptors in your body for these cannabinoids, CB1 and CB2.
CB1 is the receptor in the brain, specifically the hippocampus and the cerebral cortex, which control memory and cognitive abilities.
CB2 is located in the immune system and organs. These receptors have been linked to reducing inflammation.
4. Out of the 60 different cannabinoids that composes marijuana, THC is the only cannabinoid with psychoactive properties. (NCBI)
Transition: Now that we understand the science behind cannabis and how it works, here are some of the medical issues marijuana can help treat.
Second Main Point: Illnesses that medical marijuana help treats
A. GI disorders and nausea
1. Medical marijuana is beneficial to people with gastrointestinal disorders such as Chron’s disease, irritable bowl syndrome, and ulcerative colitis because of its ability to bind with the receptors located in the intestines. This allows the reduction of inflammation, an increase in nerve-muscle coordination, and the decrease in pain signaling. Medical marijuana is also a good treatment for nausea and vomiting, which are primary symptoms of GI disorders. Because of its ability to treat nausea it is often used by cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
B. Chronic pain and inflammation
1. Marijuana works similarly with chronic pain and inflammation as it does with diseases of the digestive system. It blocks the bodies main pain receptors, and reduces inflammation. It helps treat chronic pain such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, migraines, fibromyalgia, cancer related pain, HIV/AIDS related pain, and more. It does not work as well for traumatic injuries such as broken bones, but rather for injuries that have not healed correctly and cause daily pain.
1. Scientists and doctors don’t fully understand how medical cannabis reduces seizures in epileptic patients, however there have been many studies done showing that a large percentage of patients have seizure reduction when using it. The FDA just recently approved a new drug called epidolex for the treatment of two rare forms of epilepsy. This is the first FDA approved drug that is made with marijuana.
Transition: When you think about marijuana and how it is used what is your first thought? It was smoking, right? While smoking marijuana is the quickest way to have relief, there are still health risks with inhaling smoke of any kind. Smoking is also an issue when patients are young children, elderly, or hospitalized. One of the benefits of medical marijuana is all of the different ways it can be used.
Third Main Point: How medical marijuana is used and the pros and cons of each
A. Edibles are most commonly used by children and elderly patients.
Dosage is precise
Takes time to see effects, not immediate.
B. Tinctures/Sprays are a mixture of extracted cannabinoids and glycerin solution.
Dosage is precise
No psychoactive effects
Can be expensive
C. Topicals are lotions and ointments made similarly to tinctures, and are used directly on the skin. They have been found to help with ailments such as arthritis, eczema, muscle aches, and inflammation.
Localized pain relief
No psychoactive effects
Some patients don’t find them to be helpful
Transition: Knowing that there are other ways of consuming medical marijuana is often comforting to those opposed. There are safe ways of getting the same health benefits to smoking it.
Summary: While the legalization of marijuana is an ongoing controversial topic, the use of it medically speaks for itself. It is non-toxic and not addictive compared to opiates, such as morphine, and in many cases, is just as effective.