It didn’t take long for CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, to embrace the possibilities that medical marijuana might just be as promising as any other approved treatments for certain medical conditions. In fact, Dr. Gupta, who is also a trained neurosurgeon, released his second documentary, which features two-year-old epileptic Vivian Wilson’s difficult yet inspiring experience in seeking marijuana as the treatment to her serious condition.
Recently, Dr. Gupta turned to Reddit to address questions related to marijuana. Here are his answers:
On His Personal Experience With Weed
When asked whether he experienced smoking weed before, he openly answered, “Yes, I have tried it before,” also adding that smoking pot made him “a little anxious.”
On The Legalization of Marijuana
Then comes the issue on marijuana legalization. When asked about what bill he’d prefer to write, he said, “The bill I would write would be a federal bill, not a state bill. It would include many different strains of cannabis from a whole plant extract. I would want these medicines to be researched and tested to ensure they are safe and effective.”
It is safe to say that although Dr. Gupta’s answers seem to support the use of marijuana, he stays cautious. As a true scientist as he is, the renowned doctor highlighted the importance of considering different strains of cannabis to test them and see which ones work best for different conditions or other purposes. He also underscored the importance of safety when it comes to using marijuana.
This makes complete sense given the fact that marijuana has always been a controversial drug. And for someone of Dr. Gupta stature, to support the use of marijuana — even its legalization at the federal level — proper tests must be done so that the common beliefs or controversies would be debunked (or confirmed) for the general population’s safety. This also helps end the long-standing issues surrounding marijuana use once and for all.
On the Safest Way to Use Cannabis
Well, this is the most interesting part and what we at Smokazon.com are happy about. When asked about the safest method to ingest the drug, Dr. Gupta said, “It is probably vaporizing. I think smoking creates a lot of byproducts that we don’t know enough about. I think eating it leads to very uneven absorption. Vaporizing seems to activate the medicine without burning it. I also think oils absorbed in the mouth are effective, especially for kids.”
Indeed, the safety ofvaporizersover smoking joints is unquestionable, provided that you choose the right device if vapor quality and health is very important to you. With the vaporizer, you do away with burning the dry materials and use heating element instead to release the therapeutic substances from cannabis. The result is pure vapor without the deadly toxins otherwise produced by burning cellulose plant materials.
Another method of ingestion that he casted doubt on is eating cannabis. Yes, there is no chance of ingesting chemically altered substances from combustion, but oral ingestion of the drug can lead to uneven absorption, which varies among individuals. The slow digestion process means that you will only feel or benefit from the effects of cannabis hours after eating it. With the delayed onset of the effects, an individual would more likely underestimate the amount of marijuana he or she consumes and might suffer from the effects of large THC doses later on.
To date, it is still vaporizing that’s the safest route to either get high or reap the benefits of cannabinoids and other therapeutic substances found only in the good old pot. And Dr. Gupta couldn’t agree more.
On Marijuana Use to Treat Brain Injury
For Dr. Gupta, no research on the benefits of marijuana to brain functioning is more convincing than the one that led to Patent 6630507.The patent, which the Department of Health and Human Services currently holds, states that cannabinoids do have special properties that can be used to treat a wide range of diseases that are age-, inflammatory- or autoimmune-related.
Research has also found that cannabinoids are “neuroprotectants” in that these chemicals help prevent further damage to the brain after the onset of stroke, brain trauma or operations involving removal part of the brain tissues. Also, cannabinoids have also shown properties that help in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and even HIV-related dementia.
Although the U.S. patent clearly highlights the benefits of marijuana to the human brain, it is important to note that cannabinoids and its health giving benefits are also observed to alleviate other medical conditions such as cancer, physical pain, loss of appetite and certain gastrointestinal conditions. And the list just goes on and on as more studies are conducted on the use of cannabis or the chemicals that are found in the plant.
In addition to the U.S. patent earlier discussed by Dr. Gupta, he also said, “The studies about cannabis and epilepsy were very compelling. Also, the use of cannabis as a treatment for neuropathic pain and multiple sclerosis. I think people should know that cannabis is being used a legitimate medication in hospitals all over the world. In fact, a medication for MS that is cannabis based, is now approved in 25 countries around the world, but not the United States.”
We’ve featured in our previous articles success stories of individuals whose symptoms of epilepsy have improved after the use the cannabis. Yes, these examples have well been documented to warrant approval of the use of cannabis in the treatment of epilepsy.
On the Future of Marijuana Use
For Dr. Gupta, marijuana will be present for pharmaceutical use and as a food or supplement. He also mentioned earlier that vaporizing is the safest way to ingest marijuana, so these trends are more likely to continue in the future. But Dr. Gupta also stressed out the importance of safety, and that proper guidelines need to be implemented to make sure certain application of cannabis is effective and reliable.
It makes sense that if we are to include marijuana as an essential part of medical practices and also in our daily lives, we need to make sure studies on its effects, side effects and reliability must be well-established. Data from research will then be used to make sure we use marijuana safely and that we maximize the effects of cannabinoids found in the plant.
In the end, whether marijuana use will become as common as taking aspirin still depends in part on how the federal government takes its stand on the use of this drug, which to date is still classified as a dangerous Schedule 1 substance.
Dr. Gupta’s Second Documentary: “Cannabis Madness”
In an interview with Time, Dr. Gupta made it clear that the documentary, which aired on CNN, is not “pro-marijuana,” emphasizing rather the harsh policies of pot that would make it hard for patients to use it. Dr. Gupta calls marijuana as a plant “that can work wonders,” but access to it is still limited by the restrictions imposed by many states — even when the drug is the only apparent treatment to life-threatening disease. Families of patient like Vivian had to move to the West, where restrictions are more lenient, just to get access to marijuana.
Dr. Gupta referred to the “Cannabis Madness” to the challenges that families and individuals have to face just to use the drug, much less acquire it in the first place. For others, the provocative documentary title simply refers to how difficult it is to conduct research on the effects of marijuana because of a long list of restrictions from the federal government. This in turn hampers what might be the discovery of substantial data that would either debunk or support the current myths surrounding marijuana use. So, the lack of data means controversies go on and on, hence the madness.
For Dr. Gupta, more research is needed because guessing games aren’t enough (although are already very compelling) if the idea is to strongly consider marijuana as a treatment to several medical conditions.
The Medical Benefits of Marijuana
Even before Dr. Gupta expressed his growing interest in the use of cannabis in the treatment of several diseases, there have already been numerous research that suggest themany wonders of the drug. Its benefits can cover conditions such as cancer, glaucoma, seizures, multiple sclerosis, migraine, inflammatory bowel diseases and Alzheimer’s disease, just to name a few. All these effects were observed despite the lack of research because of federal restrictions. How much more will we uncover the powers of this drug if the federal government opens the door to more studies. But for now, at least more and more medical professionals now have an open mind regarding the potential uses of cannabis both as a treatment and as food or supplement.
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