Medical Uses of Cannabis
First off, apologies from our team for the late posting, I had a sudden medical emergency myself that put me in the hospital. But... we are back and will be posting a new episode on that incident in the near future! Thank you for trusting us to return to show production, even if we are 30 hours late!
We are running with back to back reruns based on listeners requests. For this week's show, let me re-introduce you to Meg Pecora from our first season in July of 2018. At the time Meg was a recent college graduate from Columbia in Chicago. Now she is a recently engaged artist with chronic pain due to Fibromyalgia. She was approved for the Illinois medical cannabis program and discusses the process of obtaining the authorization and finally "prescription" for medical cannabis as a pain reliever.
Medical marijuana uses the marijuana plant or chemicals in it to treat diseases or conditions. It's basically the same product as recreational marijuana, but it's taken for medical purposes.
The marijuana plant contains more than 100 different chemicals called cannabinoids. Each one has a different effect on the body. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the main chemicals used in medicine. THC also produces the "high" people feel when they smoke marijuana or eat foods containing it.
"The greatest amount of evidence for the therapeutic effects of cannabis relate to its ability to reduce chronic pain, nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, and spasticity [tight or stiff muscles] from MS," Bonn-Miller says.
Medical marijuana received a lot of attention a few years ago when parents said that a special form of the drug helped control seizures in their children. The FDA recently approved Epidiolex, which is made from CBD, as a therapy for people with very severe or hard-to-treat seizures. In studies, some people had a dramatic drop in seizures after taking this drug.
The cannabidiol Epidiolex was approved in 2018 for treating seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. In addition, the FDA has approved two man-made cannabinoid medicines -- dronabinol (Marinol, Syndros) and nabilone (Cesamet) -- to treat nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy.
(credits: WEBMD & Marcel Bonn-Miller Ph.D.)