Pubdate: Sat, 31 Oct 2009
Source: Glenwood Springs Post Independent (CO)
Copyright: 2009 Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Author: Casey O'Halloran


Cannabis  has always been a medicine, found in China at 4,000  B.C.
and in Turkestan in 3,000 B.C., and also by  Chinese Emperor Chen Nung
over 5,000 years ago. It was  recommended for malaria, constipation,
rheumatic pains,  "absentmindedness" and "female disorders."

In the West, cannabis did not come into its own as a  medicine until
the mid-nineteenth century. From 1840 to  1900, over 100 papers were
written recommending it for  various illness and discomfort. In 1985,
the Food And  Drug Administration (FDA) approved dronabinol (Marinol) 
for the treatment of the nausea and vomiting from  cancer
chemotherapy. Dronabinol is a solution of  synthetic
tetrahydrocannabinol in sesame oil (the  sesame oil is meant to
protect against the possibility  that the contents of the capsule
could be smoked).

We now know another fortuitous property of marijuana is  that there is
a temperature window which is below the  ignition point of cannabis,
but within a range in which  the cannabinoids will vaporize. There is
now generally  available a device known as a vaporizer which takes 
advantage of this property. It holds herbal marijuana  at a
temperature of between 2840F and 3920F, thus  allowing the patient to
inhale the therapeutic  cannabinoids free of any of the products of
the burning  plant material, including putative carcinogens.

Today we know cannabis sativa and cannabis indica (the  two types of
cannabis) both respectfully have medicinal  properties. Cannabinoid
receptors are often more common  in the brain than are opiate
receptors. This tells us  our brain is hardwired to ingest this
age-old plant as  a medicine rather than synthetic and highly
addictive  opiates and other synthetics.

In a doctor's eyes this is not often true, as the  unknown origin of a
plant and raw combustion of plant  material is often too dangerous and
too hard to  manipulate doses and because of other unknown organic 
matter that may be ingested (I often believe it to be  true in some
health problems).

There has never been reported a case of lung cancer or  emphysema
attributable to the smoking of cannabis, nor  an overdose. This leads
me to think -- what is the hype  over medical marijuana or cannabis?

Casey O'Halloran

New Castle
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