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cannabis in medical practice

Cannabis in medical practice

Cannabis in Medical Practice

A Legal, Historical, and Pharmacological Overview
of the Therapeutic Use of Marijuana

edited by Mary Lynn Mathre, RN

This book is the collaborative effort of 17 experts from the countries of Brazil, Jamaica, The Netherlands and the United States who tell the story of medical marijuana in layman’s language based on facts, scientific inquiry, common sense and compassion. Included are hundreds of references for those who wish to explore the subject of therapeutic Cannabis to a greater depth.

The legal dilemmas of the Cannabis prohibition are examined; patients, their pain, and their search for legally provided medicine through the court system are presented; legal procedures and issues related to medical use of marijuana are identified and explained. Attorneys and patients alike will find the information invaluable.

The medicinal characteristics of Cannabis are identified in a 5,000 year historical review of its therapeutic use. Its low toxicity and review of its known pharmacology reveals how remarkably safe this medicine is compared to other conventional medicines.

Common indications for the therapeutic use of Cannabis are presented with known research findings. These indications include: use as an antiemetic for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, AIDS and the wasting syndrome, glaucoma treatment, spasticity and chronic pain, seizure disorders, use in psychiatry, and in particular use of cannabidiol (a non-psychoactive chemical constituent of Cannabis) as an anxiolytic and antipsychotic. Also included is a review of the proper dosage and administration of this medicine.

Cannabis is further considered in its relationship to both mother and infant during and after pregnancy and an evaluation of the risk of dependence and addiction. The book contains a complete breakdown and review of the nutritional value of the hemp seed and its oil as well as the environmental and economic potential of the plant when grown for its fiber.

Mary Lynn Mathre is a substance abuse consultant to the University of Virginia’s Health Sciences Center, the President of Patients Out of Time, a managing director of I-CARE, and the Secretary of the National Nurses Society on Addictions. She has been the initiator of therapeutic Cannabis resolutions adopted by the Virginia Nurses Society, the National Nurses Society on Addictions, the American Public Health Association and other organizations that demand immediate patient access to therapeutic Cannabis with guidance by healthcare providers. She was a contributor to one of the American Journal of Nursing’s Book of the Year Awards for Community Health Nursing (by Stanhope and Lancaster). She is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Addictions Nursing, the author of numerous journal and media articles and has spoken to many national and local groups on the value and efficacy of therapeutic Cannabis.

A 228 page sewn softcover, Cannabis in Medical Practice contains references, photos, charts, tables, appendices that include lists of organizations, hemp stores and wholesale sources, and an index.

Cannabis in medical practice Cannabis in Medical Practice A Legal, Historical, and Pharmacological Overview of the Therapeutic Use of Marijuana edited by Mary Lynn Mathre, RN This book

Is there a role for marijuana in medical practice?

Dr Ware states that cannabis has been used for thousands of years. Yet many time-honoured medical therapies are abandoned as it becomes evident that they are harmful or as they are replaced by more effective treatments. Dr Ware encourages family physicians to learn about the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations because physicians do not have to prescribe medical marijuana but simply to support its legal use. The access form might not be an official prescription, but patients will interpret the physician’s signature as an endorsement of the therapeutic benefits of smoked marijuana. Patients trust their physicians and expect physicians to act in their best interests; therefore physicians should sign the form only if they truly believe that medical marijuana is safer or more effective than available alternatives. This position is untenable now that oral and inhaled pharmaceutical cannabinoids are available.

Dr Ware admits that, although “cannabis has not yet been formally evaluated in clinical trials,” family physicians should become more familiar with it because studies are under way. Yet most clinical trials are testing pharmaceutical cannabinoids, not smoked marijuana. We are reassured that marijuana has “safety data generated from 2 generations of recreational users.” This statement is unreferenced, and we take issue with Dr Ware’s commonly held view that cannabis is a harmless herbal remedy. Its harms are well studied and documented; marijuana smokers are likely at increased risk of prostate, head, and neck cancers 1 ; bronchitis 2 ; motor vehicle accidents 3 ; psychosis 4 , 5 ; and psychosocial difficulties. Marijuana smoke contains numerous toxins, and the rapid delivery of high doses of inhaled delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol puts smokers at risk of psychomotor impairment and addiction. It is inadvisable for family physicians to prescribe an unproven and possibly harmful substance to their patients when far safer alternatives are available.

Footnotes

These rebuttals are responses from the authors who were asked to discuss “Is there a role for marijuana in medical practice?” in the Debates section of the December issue (Can Fam Physician 2006;52:1531–3 [Eng], 1535–7 [Fr]). In these rebuttals, the authors refute their opponents’ arguments.

Is there a role for marijuana in medical practice? Dr Ware states that cannabis has been used for thousands of years. Yet many time-honoured medical therapies are abandoned as it becomes evident ]]>