Marijuana is a holistic form of medicine that has had a tumultuous history in our modern society. It has been unjustifiably mislabelled as the herbal equivalent of a shit disturber, particularly in the minds of our baby boomers. They grew up believing that it is a villain out to eat away at their brains, steal their mental virtue and common sense, all the while corrupting their pristine character. To hell with its ability to calm the anxious, heal the sick and improve one’s overall well-being; that stuff is for the Hippies, Rastafarians and wayward youth. Thankfully our collective minds have evolved with a greater understanding of the health benefits of this herb.
Marijuana is a medical diamond in the rough. A panacea dressed in poisons’ clothing. It houses hundreds of different chemicals, all of which if used correctly, is beneficial to the human body. The myriad of chemicals in the plant work synchronistically, increasing the efficacy of each constituents’ ability to heal the body. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one one of the many highly beneficial chemicals present in all forms of marijuana and it works hand in hand with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
A researcher named Antionio Zuardi wrote about the medical marvel that is CBD and its potential medical uses in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry in 2008 stating, “Studies have suggested a wide range of possible therapeutic effects of cannabidiol on several conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cerebral ischemia, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, other inflammatory diseases, nausea and cancer.”
Cannabichromene (CBC) is prevalent in dried marijuana. According to a study conducted in 2009 from PubMed, “CBC exerts anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and modest analgesic activity.” It has been known to stimulate the increase of bone properties, including density and is also an anti-carcinogenic. In 2011 a preclinical trial concluded that CBC works specifically on nerve endings above the spine, modifying sensations and degrees of pain. Its easy to see why, although there is stigma surrounding the use of marijuana, it is a medical gem that should be taken seriously, and seriously taken by our elderly.
In Canada the largest demographic of citizens who suffer from chronic pain are the elderly. They are also the largest demographic of opioid users because of this. As stated in the Canadian Drug Summary: Prescription Opioids, this group of our population has “limited access to appropriate and timely treatment: 50 per cent have had to wait six or more months and many areas of Canada do not have any specialist pain treatment services. Although prescription opioids are one of several approaches to addressing chronic pain, they can also result in addiction and overdose death.”
The First Do No Harm: Responding to Canada’s Prescription Drug Crisis Report in Short explains that, “Canada is the world’s second largest per capita consumer of prescription opioids after the United States. The International Narcotics Control Board reports that Canadians’ use of prescription opioids increased by 203 per cent between 2000 and 2010, an increase steeper than in the U.S. Some First Nations in Canada have declared a community crisis owing to the prevalence of the harms associated with prescription drugs”.
In 2014 CTV News reported that “Oxycodone prescriptions increased by 850 per cent between 1991 and 2007. Between 300 and 400 people die each year in the province from an overdose of a prescription opioid”. Until this date, there has been no reported cases ever of overdose related deaths due to the consumption of marijuana in any form. With the opioid epidemic on the rise, why are doctors choosing to be so lenient and prescription happy, doling out opioids to their patients like Santa does gifts to good children, yet so stringent and, often times judgmental, when it comes to prescribing marijuana; a drug that has been proven to effectively alleviate, and in some cases, help heal underlying conditions that cause chronic pain? A more important question is why does the government allow this? Is providing our old and sick with adequate, albeit almost certainly less profitable, medicine not a priority for the government?
And this leads to my next question. Knowing the permissive attitude that our government has towards bad practices, will the old, sick and people who generally need a pot fix still get their supply from them? Moreover, should they? Unless you’re down to your bottom dollar, odds are no. The government, in their efforts to monopolize the marijuana market are hooking and reeling people in by the promise of medical coverage under Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). They have also put forth a seemingly strong argument that marijuana provided by them is more rigidly regulated and purer; meaning that unlike what many would get from their drug dealers, medical marijuana would be free of additives and chemical alterations, which makes it a lot safer. And that’s a good thing. Well at least it would be if that were true.