By Nicole Beaver
A few years ago, my dad was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. It runs in the family; my late paternal grandfather as well as one of my uncles have it. For awhile now, he’s tried to make differences for his health, such as exercising and eating a little better, which makes me proud. Unsurprisingly, though, daily insulin shots aren’t his cup of tea. I started thinking about alternative forms of treatment, and it brought to mind something I heard once: medical marijuana. Not only does it help with chronic pain, but it can also work for diabetes. And when I went to research, you’d be surprised at what I found.
I want to be clear that the stuff that’s in pop culture and the stuff I’m talking about are very different. Marijuana has elevated levels of the drug tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)–that’s the stuff that gets you high. It’s also usually inhaled in vapor form or mixed into food. Studies have shown that if you smoke weed before you are twenty-five, you will more than likely have issues such as memory loss and poor cognitive function (Business Insider, April 20th, 2013) due to the high concentrations of THC. That doesn’t mean it’s bad for you; rather, like everything else, it should be used in moderation. It is also important to realize that driving high does kill; your reflexes and reaction times are slowed down. Medical Cannabis, or just Cannabis, as I’ll be calling it, is a new pathway we’ve yet to fully explore. Ancient societies such as China, Egypt, and India all embraced Cannabis as a medicinal herb (Wikipedia). Only in recent history was it labelled a “gateway drug” as racial tension in the United States in the 1950s began to associate it with “lower class citizens”–often referring to people of colour.
Cannabis’s pain-reduction chemical cannabidiol (CBD) is the main key. It acts as both a pain reliever and an antidepressant, depending on the concentrations of both CBD and THC. People who take Cannabis for physical ailments are often taking higher concentrations and extractions of CBD alone. The ailments that CBD has shown to help alleviate include numbing the pain of arthritis/chronic pain, decreasing the severity of seizures/muscle spasms, and improving the appetite in those afflicted with HIV/AIDS or suffering from anorexia. It has also been shown to help quell nausea and vomiting in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. As far as mental health is concerned, when people take Cannabis with certain levels of CBD and THC, it can also help mental illnesses as well! Anxiety, depression and schizophrenia have all shown positive reactions to being treated with Cannabis. In fact, in an article by Psychiatric Times, “Molecular CBD has been shown to treat symptoms of schizophrenia… with results comparable to [an] approved antipsychotic medication, and with a favorable adverse-effect profile.”
A stereotype exists where “millennials” are constantly looking for the next organic, alternative trend that will improve their health. I believe that medical Cannabis is the next medicine that’s been stereotyped, and it’s been under our nose this whole time.
This piece is short, but I want to encourage you all to look more into this!