Alternative Medicines Show Positive Results For Various Types of Pain

By Dr. Julian Reindhurst

The use of marijuana for medical purposes has a history that goes back thousands of years-- the herb has been used for all sorts of aliments such as a stress reliever in India, to subsiding child birth pains. Its uses can be traced all throughout Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

For past 10 years, recent studies have shown marijuana's effects on various types of pains. They range from diabetic treatment, spinal chord injuries, and damaged nerves in people with HIV--Patients with cancer and Multiple sclerosis are also showing promise with marijuana related studies.

Marijuana has also been speculated to help with nausea brought on by chemotherapy and antiretroviral therapy, as well as with severe loss of appetite as seen in people with the AIDS wasting syndrome.

Marijuana has an active compound known as THC (tetrahydro cannabinol) which act like the action of chemicals that naturally occur in the brain. The THC activates receptors that trigger physiological responses in the brain.

A legal prescription form of THC (Marinol) exists, yet researchers say it's far from a perfect drug. Taken orally, its absorption is highly variable and unpredictable and often delayed, says Dr. Igor Grant, a UC San Diego psychiatrist who directs the university's Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. "Smoking is a very efficient way to deliver THC," he says.

Medical marijuana is considered illegal under federal laws, so its only available is selected clinics in states such as California where they have passed laws making marijuana legal for personal medical use.

Research on the medicinal use of marijuana relies on government-issued marijuana cigarettes, which come in different strengths and are supplied by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The UC Center for Medicinal Marijuana Research in California helps aid in the clinical studies to determine the safety and effectiveness of medicinal marijuana and they have found studies related to neuropathic pain, Multiple sclerosis, and nausea. - 30540

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