Thursday, January 22, 2015

Health and Medical Marijuana

Did you know that medical cannabis is legal in 23 states? Well its true, medical marijuana has been legalized in almost half of america AND is legal in our nations capital. If the president had reason to use this for a medical reason that would be 100% legal sense the vote on Amendment Act B18-622 (13-0 vote) in 2010 (Procon). After i found this interesting fact i asked the question, "what does literature say about the health benefits of the controversial medicine of medical marijuana". As i researched this topic i found that many studies were formed regarding the same question that i asked.

Many people think of one thing when they hear the term marijuana , and that thing is drug. It is understandable that this comes to mind because until 1995 marijuana was in a probation throughout the United States. Many presidents did study's on this "drug"  including Pres. Nixon .who is most famous for the scandal that later resulted in him stepping down from office.”In 1970, cannabis was placed temporarily in Schedule I, the most dangerous controlled substances group, pending the results of a commission created by Richard Nixon” is this evidence still capable of holding any ground because of how old it is? Or can it be shut down because The president who organized this study was forced to step down?
Many studies show that marijuana does have adverse effects when smoked. But then again ingesting smoke is not the best thing for Lungs. With this in mind the question is  other than the effects on lungs does it affect other vital organs, the brain for instance. One study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has shown that there are existing abnormalities in brain function and structure of long-term marijuana users, this was shown by MRI scans of the brains of habitual marijuana users. The abnormalities were as follows, users have smaller brain volume in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), a part of the brain commonly associated with addiction(National institute on drug abuse). This troubles the ideas of if marijuana is non addictive like many users suggests.  

Although marijuana is considered medical in some states, it is still considered in the federal standpoint a schedule one drug or a controlled substance (FDA). This means it is classified in the same realm as heroin. Not only is it classified with heroin and many other drugs but it has adverse effects like the drugs it is classified with, although many less there are still adverse affects On the health of the user. “Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the main active chemical in marijuana. When smoked, THC quickly passes through the lungs and into the bloodstream, thus carrying it to various organs -- including the brain – where the bulk of cannabinoid receptors reside. These receptors were discovered in the 1980's, and there are two known types, CB1 and CB2” while THC passes through the bloodstream it deposits many “waste products” that stay in the body potentially harming over time ("Is Marijuana Addictive?") . Seeing these studies and the vast variety of possible adverse effects It is a toss up with the government because until a definitive answer comes up on whether marijuana is a cancer causer The government does not want to fully legalize something that could possibly be the death of its citizens.
Although there are  adverse effects of this controversial medicine (these adverse effects haven't been proven as true) there are much more positive effects that have been proven by more and more study's on a daily basis but if you can't comprehend that. Then Imagine that you are one of the many people in the united states that suffer from painful illnesses such as arthritis, cluster headaches ( Said to be as painful as childbirth) all the way to the cancer (more deadly than painful) or seizures  and you had an option. The option is that you can either try various medicines that have harsh side effects or use medical marijuana. Marijuana can be considered as a narcotic or as a vital pain medicine/cure for disease,it is up to the mind to decide where it should fall on the spectrum. Many people have been put on drugs like oxycodone for pain and the ending result  is addiction. Unlike many pain medicines marijuana is non-habit forming, this means one can not be physically addicted to marijuana as some are physically addicted to opiates or pills (United Parents Group). With this said look back at the question “Would you turn to medical marijuana if you were in the excruciating pain that could be solved with Medical Marijuana”

There are many reasons on why one would turn to the controversial medicine of medical marijuana but some use it as a last resort. Medical marijuana in the conservative eye is considered as less than attractive or still considered as “taboo”. Although medical marijuana is is frowned upon by some it is praised as a vital part of many everyday lives across the world. For instance if some patents or care takers of those who have epilepsy have turned to medical marijuana as way to counteract the effects of seizures. “Epilepsy is a chronic seizure disorder that affects about 2 million Americans and 30 million people worldwide. It is characterized by recurrent sudden attacks of altered consciousness, convulsions, or other motor activity. A seizure is the synchronized excitation of large groups of brain cells.There are anecdotal and individual case reports that marijuana controls seizures in epileptics (reviewed in a 1997 British Medical Association report), but there is no solid evidence. While there are no studies indicating that either marijuana or THC worsen seizures, there is no scientific basis to justify such studies."("Is Marijuana an Effective Treatment for Epilepsy (Seizures)?"). There are many circumstances where one would or from a medical stand point should turn to unorthodox medicine like this.

Mental disorders are everywhere and because they are all over there are a vast number of medicines that counteract the mental illness. There is an anxiety disorder that hits the ones who fight the hardest for our country ,PTSD or post traumatic stress disorder.PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is an anxiety condition caused by disturbing episodes, such as military combat or sexual assault.("Cannabis and PTSD.”). Because PTSD is an  anxiety disorder  it can be treated with drugs like Prazosin for the depression and anxiety that comes along with PTSD. Do you know what else can be used to treat posttraumatic stress disorder? Medical marijuana can, “one pillar of PTSD is an endocannabinoid deficiency: the body stops producing enough endocannabinoids to fill receptor sites, and this is where the cannabinoids found in marijuana play a therapeutic role”("Cannabis and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).). Also THC can stimulate the brain in ways that no other medicines can , medical cannabis can be used as a less harmful to the body (long term) medicine . When someone who suffers from PTSD uses marijuana they report that their anxiety level becomes subsequently lower than when they are having an episode or flashback.

When someone is under the influence of marijuana whether it be medical or recreational they are ingesting both chemical compounds known as THC (more well known) and CBD (Less known) both of these compounds Have specific effects on the user.The Institute of Medicine found in 1999 that, "THC is significantly superior to placebo and produces dose-related analgesia peaking at around 5 hours, comparable to but out-lasting that of codeine." ("Medical Marijuana Uses & Treatments: Chronic Pain." ). Codeine is a drug derived from the pain medicine morphine. Many other drugs that have the qualities of the marijuana are  highly addictive and internally destroys the user. In a study done by Mark Ware, MD, assistant professor of anesthesia and family medicine at McGill University in Montreal the idea of pain relief was tested and proven patients were able to tell the placebo because it gave no pain relief ("Marijuana Relieves Chronic Pain, Research Shows.").In a case study of the pain relieving effects of marijuana vs other medicines , the marijuana wins.

When someone puts the words "marijuana user" into a search engine like Google images or bing the first image that comes up is something like this  the image depicts
someone who can be classified as a lazy teen or a "typical stoner" as some might say. But when a person walks into a dispensary  they are greeted by people who you would never guess. For instance a video on YouTube of a dispensary Walk-through you would be more likely to see your grandmother rather than a young adult. This is because the idea of the "stoner" has warped from being a bad thing to being as accepted as a routine physical from your pediatric doctor. Literature from the 1980 and literature from 2014  would depict the medical marijuana user completely different from each other. In this day in age marijuana has been recognized as a medicine and less of a drug.

With all this in mind looking back at the question I asked , what does literature say about the controversial medicine that is medical marijuana. I have come to a conclusion based on the literature surrounding the idea of the medicine supports a general consensus. That shared belief is that although there is still a taboo behind the use of marijuana for recreational use it is accepted by the public when it is used as medicine. Now marijuana is further classified from real drugs like cocaine and classified closer with drugs like Tylenol because it actually can help. After all , marijuana is a plant that comes from the ground unlike many medicines we ingest every day. Think of it this way , what are more closely related marijuana and cabbage or marijuana and the fictional blue meth of breaking bad? Here's a hint cannabis and cabbage both come from the ground and are not manufactured in a lab.

  Gap that was found;In my research regarding my topic of “what does literature say about medical cannabis” I was able to find a plethora of interesting information regarding what many knowledgeable and trustworthy sources had to say about the controversial topic of cannabis in general. As you might guess all of the studies, articles and information i collected were done by adults. Yes it is normal that adults wrote those but what puzzled me was that they conveys the ideals of adults and adults alone. With this in mind i was intrigued by what the teens had to say, which leads to the question that I now had: What are  the differences between adults and high school students ideas towards medical cannabis?

methodology; To find the data needed  to explore what i was unable to find in my research i chose to have it be quantitative, rather than qualitative. Quantitative data is that i have fewer questions to ask the poll taker and asked more people(hmoop Editorial Team). This was chosen because if i were to ask about someone's feelings towards medical cannabis that would not convey the ideas of the students/staff as a whole.

Research methods:
Sample population; What if the person from each test group was given the poll and conveyed their feelings that it is the devil and that it was nothing but a nuisance, does this mean that all from the test group feel the same exact way? No it doesn't because from my poll there were no two that read the same exact thing. I asked a total of 22 people around the high school, 11 being staff members and 11 being students to take my 5 question poll and answer truthfully.What i found was much different than expected .

  Data collection process and instrument; The process that was done to collect this data was firstly a 5 question survey was orchestrated and handed out to 11 staff members and 11 students.  This survey provided a wide variety of ideas from the different positions in the school (teachers, students , office staff and principles ).

  Data analysis; When i collected the data from the polls i received back i found the following. When asked the opinion of  the statement “ I believe that cannabis has medicinal qualities.” the students were agreeing on some level or being neutral on the topic, while the staff members had 2 that disagreed with the statement. The likert scale was used to find the data in question one. The second question was “what makes someone eligible for medical marijuana” to find the data i asked an open response question but singled it out to the main ideas. There were 6 different ideas such as pain relief, sickness, being alive, mental illness, sleep disorder, doctors prescription of that this was not a medicine. The students had a wide range of ideas while the staff had a basic idea from all that were polled. Staff mainly said that sickness and dr perscription were the main eligibility requirements with one saying how it isnt a medicine. the students said at least one for every option but none said not medicine. The students said pain relief and sickness as the main requirements. The third question that was asked was “ Should children with extenuating medical circumstances be eligible for medical marijuana?” under that category was an idea of yes , no , last resort, if it helps, and no opinion. The staff members say either yes , if it helps  or no. the main thing conveyed by the staff on these are that if it helps then yes it should be allowed. On the standpoint of students there was a wide range of answers but the answer that was most often was no. The fourth question that was asked was using the Likert scale and was  seeing the opinions on the statement "I believe that cannabis can be used in place of many prescription drugs and painkillers"  the answers from the students were as follows; 0 strongly disagree , 2 disagree, 3 were nutral , 2 agreed and 4 strongly agreed with the statement. When asked this same question the staff answers were; 1 strongly disagrees, 4 disagree  5 were neutral on the topic and 1 agreed, 0 strongly agreed. The fifth and final question asked on the survey was asking "what are your feelings towards the use of medical marijuana". The range of answers were categorized into 6 common ideas that were found. One response to the question was that there were many medical qualities, 4 students and 0 staff members stated this. A second response was some medicinal qualities and that scored 1 student and 2 staff. Third response that was found was that it is the patents choice , this got 3 from both sides. 5 staff members said that there is not enough evidence to make an opinion on this while 0 students said this. There were 2 students and 0 staff that said it had many pros and cons as a medicine . One student stated that there were few medicinal qualities and as a final response 1 staff member responded simply with the statement "it is not medicine".

  findings;With all of the data that was collected when looking back at the gap "what are  the differences between adults and high school students ideas towards medical cannabis?" It shows that the ideas are at some points closely related and at other points Far different. On eligibility requirements for medical cannabis it is found that both sides students and staff/ adults agree that if someone is sick with an illness that they have tried to battle but were unable to with other medicines than it is a perfectly fine substitute or extra medicine. But on the other side seeing what the ideas different  is how 4 out of the 11 students that were asked their feelings towards medical cannabis  said that it had many medical qualities and no staff said this. One thing that seems shocking is how more students said that cannabis is not for children than staff did at a 4:1 ratio. When this question was put on the survey I was sure that there would be an outstanding number of staff members that would pick this answer but that idea was proved incorrect.

  Conclusions: In conclusion to the research done and the data collected from the people questioned there is not one clear answer to the gap question. Everyone has their own opinion on controversial topics like medical cannabis, but there is a trend to each side (staff/adults vs students/teens). That trend was that based off the answers from the population in question  and showed that teens believed that cannabis was medicine in many cases but was not an appropriate medicine for young children but could be used in adults in place of pain killers and that this is infact a medicine and contrary to many beliefs is not causing more harm than good. While on the spectrum of the adults some believe cannabis has medicinal qualities and others disagree with this. The staff as shown that the popular belief is that with a sickness and a dr prescription cannabis can be used as medicine, they also convey that yes children can use cannabis for medicine  if it helps with what they have as an ailment. The staff were in the range of neutral to disagreeing with the idea of medical cannabis taking the place of prescription drugs and painkillers and the majority of the staff members said that their feelings towards the use of medical marijuana are neutral because there is not enough medical evidence showing whether it helps or not from a medical standpoint. The reason that this all matters because in a few years or next election for many students they will vote on topics such as medical marijuana here in Massachusetts and this survey provides a look at what outcome can look like. If and when there is future research done on this gap that I looked into the focus should be put on why the answers that teens and adults said were given and what made them come to that conclusion. There will always be more study's done on medicines like marijuana so the outcomes will always change, one day there might be a 100%  outcome on weather it is medicine or not. Then statement that is left behind is no matter when or where you look or when you look for it the data found will be different. Science and study's are allways changeling.

                                                                                         Work Cited
"23 Legal Medical Marijuana States and DC - Medical Marijuana -" ProConorg Headlines., 2014. Web. 05 Jan. 2015.

"Cannabis and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)." Leafly. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2015

Doheny, Kathleen. "Marijuana Relieves Chronic Pain, Research Shows."WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 04 Jan. 2015.

"Is Marijuana Addictive?" Is Marijuana Addictive? N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Jan. 2015.

"Is Marijuana an Effective Treatment for Epilepsy (Seizures)?" ProConorg Headlines. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Jan. 2015.

"Medical Marijuana Uses & Treatments: Chronic Pain." Medical Marijuana Uses & Treatments: Chronic Pain. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Jan. 2015.

United Parents Group. illnesses Treatable with Medical Cannabis . .united patients group, 2014. Web. 10 Dec. 2014.
hmoop Editorial Team. "Qualitative v. Quantitative Data." Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 19 Jan. 2015.