28 Feb
28 Feb
28 Feb

Medical Marijuana and the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis is an inflammatory disease that affects the central nervous system. The body essentially "tags" its own tissue and begins to destroy it. There are many who advocate the use of medical marijuana as opposed to traditional treatments in order to treat this debilitating disease.

Multiple Sclerosis causes the onset of sudden blindness, weakness in the legs and muscles, extreme fatigue, shock sensations in the face and hands, burning sensations in various parts of the body, muscle pain, poor word recall, bladder failure, sudden muscle jerking, sudden muscle collapse and organ dysfunction.

Immediately after smoking or ingesting marijuana, users describe feeling relaxed and mellow. Marijuana contains four hundred chemicals, the same found in cigarettes, sixty of which are cannabinoids. A cannabinoid is the major active ingredient, and THC is the chemical most often associated with marijuana's affect on the human brain. THC stands for delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol, and is the plant's main psychoactive chemical. The concentration of THC and other cannabinoids varies and depends on genetics and processing after the marijuana is harvested.

As a multiple sclerosis patient, it begs the question; Why would you want to use a substance that affects muscle coordination, short term memory, raises levels of anxiety and increases heart rate when the disease already does that?

THC mimics, blocks, and interferes with normal brain function. There are three cannabinoid receptors in the brain; the basal ganglia, the hippocampus and the cerebellum. The basal ganglia is responsible for unconscious muscle movement, the cerebellum controls coordination, and the hippocampus is responsible for recollection of events and short term memory.

When marijuana is ingested or eaten, the stomach breaks it down, and the blood absorbs it carrying it to the liver, and the rest of the body. Although THC levels are lower, the effects last longer.

Marijuana has been around for thousands of years and is believed to be a native plant of India where it originated in a region in the North Himalayan Mountains. The resin of the cannabis flower produces a much more potent product called Hashish and may be helpful in the treatment of pain caused by the onset of cancer and other debilitating diseases since Morphine is in fact the first line of defense in making the patient comfortable and the pain bearable. The bottom line is that, although medical marijuana has been proven effective in other medical arenas, it should not be considered an effective treatment or a reasonable drug to be used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.



Source by Stacey Price Brown, J.D.

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28 Feb
28 Feb
28 Feb

Missouri Marijuana Legalization Push Comes to An End

The Missouri marijuana legalization push has ended for the 2012 cycle because the required number of signatures was not met. Petitioners were able to collect 65,000 signatures, but this was less than half of the number that was necessary to put the matter up to a vote on the November ballot. Thus, a seemingly impossible run for legalization in the conservative state of Missouri has ended before it even began.

Did the old cliche occur? When it came time to vote, a bunch of potheads just spent their time on the couch. If only there was a way to tell the exact cause of the lack of signatures then the petitioners would be better able to run a campaign in 2012. However, any barometer of the vote would surely find that there were several systemic problems with this attempted legislation. A lack of support base compared to other states who have only came close to legalization. A short period of time to gather supporters together into a signature gathering coalition. A substantial lack of advertising and organization. An inability to adequately mobilize a campaign due to the sparseness of the Missouri terrain. With such little time and so few volunteers, it seems that canvasing the entire state of Missouri proved too much of a task.

Failure this round does not signify defeat for the petitioners because it appears that there will be another chance in 2014. Perhaps the lessons learned from this run will yield greater success in the 2014 season.

I think one of the most significant problems that plagued this initiative was its focus and lack of petitioner cohesion. The initiative sought to fully legalize marijuana in a climate that is not exactly warm to the idea. Instead legalization should have came with a sister initiative creating medical marijuana reform, something that more people tend to be on board with. In fact, Columbia, MO and a small southwest town of a few dozen have passed laws allowing medical marijuana for patients. If the legalization initiative had been coupled with a medical marijuana bill, the results may have been much different.

Furthermore, without the accompanying medical marijuana bill, there will be no beta test of legal marijuana use in the state of Missouri. Instead, during the 2014 season the state and its voters will lack crucial information about how legalized use of marijuana affects the state. It will be another season with an initiative to allow a substance that is banished in all other areas of the law.



Source by Bradley C Hill

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28 Feb
28 Feb

How Does Medical Marijuana Work For Muscle Spasticity (Spasms) for MS and Spinal Cord Injury?

First off, let's look at the relevant numbers. Over 2.5 million people in the US have multiple sclerosis, and over 15 million people have suffered a spinal cord injury. A significant amount of these individuals suffer from stiff, aching, cramping, spasming muscles. These symptoms can cause insomnia, limitation of movement, along with pain. Medical marijuana has shown promising results for treating the symptoms of MS and spinal cord injury.

There are conventional medications available by prescription for these symptoms, but at times those meds cause weakness or drowsiness. Muscle spasms are when patients tense reflexively and resist stretching. Patients utilizing medical marijuana for reducing muscle spasticity and pain have found substantial relief.

It is not known exactly how medical marijuana calms spasticity. It has not been tested on a large scale, but all of the smaller scale evaluations have shown really good results.

Multiple sclerosis involves what is thought to be a malfunctioning immune system, resulting in inflamed nerves throughout the brain and spinal cord. The fibers around the nerves are like the insulation around a power cord, and unfortunately what MS does is it destroys the insulation. Without it, nerves do not conduct necessary impulses. Symptoms then include, fatigue, depression, vertigo, incontinence, blindness, and muscle spasticity.

Muscle spasticity in MS is fairly ubiquitous, 90% of patients suffer from muscle spasms along with aches, cramps, along with painful involuntary muscle contractions. These symptoms typically worsen with time and may leave patients partially or even completely paralyzed.

Conventional medications for muscle spasms with MS include baclofen and tizanadine (Zanaflex). They are sedatives, so they often cause drowsiness along with dry mouth and muscle weakness. In a patient with MS, muscle weakness is already a problem. Exacerbating it is not optimal.

It needs to be noted that there has not been a large scale study evaluating marijuana and THC. Multiple small scale studies have shown excellent results for decreasing muscle spasms along with pain. Not all patients achieved success, however, and there were some unpleasant side effects.

It may be difficult to distinguish a satisfactory result from THC due to placebo versus actual spasm reduction. Without a large scale study to partition out placebo, which can be upwards of 30% with medications, it can be tough to say for sure. These large scale results are underway in Britain, where medical marijuana is frequently used for MS.

What is it about marijuana that helps patients with MS? And if it helps with MS will it help the muscle spasms in patients with spinal cord injury? Anecdotally patients with MS report satisfactory results for pain and spasm. Is it due to the range of effects that THC provides, such as anti-anxiety, in addition to decreasing spasms? Anxiety can make spasms worse, and THC helps relieve that. In addition, THC does not have a muscle weakening effect. If a patient has MS that is a continual problem anyway, so exacerbating it is not optimal.

Oral intake of THC may prove to be optimal since it has a longer duration of smoking without the potential complications of lung inhalation. Spinal cord injury patients have consistent symptoms through the day so oral intake may be better than for MS, whose symptoms wax and wane. For them, smoking or vaporizing may be better.

At this point, we know anecdotally marijuana works for muscle spasms. Larger clinical studies will help us learn more about the specifics and how it exactly fits into the clinical management of these conditions.



Source by David L Greene

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27 Feb
27 Feb

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