Possible legalisation of medical marijuana draws closer

2016-12-14 06:01
PHOTO: sourced

PHOTO: sourced

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WHILE the legalisation of marijuana is one step closer to being realised, CANSA has stated that there is no evidence to support claims that marijuana cures cancer, however, it is effective as a pain reliever and appetite stimulant.

According to a statement released by CANSA last week, the term “medical marijuana” refers to using the unprocessed marijuana plant by using its properties to treat diseases.

Lisa Strydom, divisional manager of KZN CANSA said that marijuana used for recreational activities and marijuana used for medical reasons are one and the same plant.

“It’s basically the same stuff, the difference is whether it is freely accessible to everybody or whether it can be used only with a doctor’s prescription, in which case it is medical marijuana. Medical marijuana is not smoked, it is in tablet, capsule or oil form,” she said.

The reason that many have, over the years, fought for marijuana to be legalised is because the plant contains chemicals that may help to treat a range of illnesses, cancer being one of them as well as the medical chemical cannabidiol (CBD) to treat child epilepsy.

“Cannabinoids play a role in regulating pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, body movement, awareness of time, appetite, pain, and the senses, taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight. Currently, the two main cannabinoids from the marijuana plant that are of medical interest are THC and CBD,” read the statement.

The statement, which was produced and researched by Professor Michael Herbst of CANSA, explained that THC increases appetite and reduces nausea. In some countries, THC-based medications are used for these symptoms.

“It is said that THC may also decrease pain, inflammation, swelling and redness, and help with muscle control problems.

“CBD, that does not affect the mind or behaviour may be useful in reducing pain and inflammation, controlling epileptic seizures, and possibly even treating other medical conditions.”

However, according to CANSA, marijuana is not considered the first line of treatment for common cancer symptoms such as loss of appetite or chemotherapy-related nausea.

“The benefits have to be weighed up against the potential harmful effects of the drug. There are other, safer drugs already available on the market that can assist in similar ways,” said Strydom.

“CANSA is therefore of the opinion that more research is needed in all areas related to the therapeutic use of marijuana in oncology.”

Users should seek the proper medical advice before taking or refraining from it.

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