Here is my answer to those who slam the door on cannabis as medicine due only to the lack of science.
Cannabis is unlike any other plant in the world so it stands to reason that, as medicine, it’s also going to be unlike any other that we know.
Cannabis Research has been very difficult in the United States for most of the last century going back to the 1920’s and /30’s. Research was effectively made impossible early in the War On Drugs, started by President Richard Nixon, in 1971. Attempts to provide proof, through research, of the harms of cannabis could find no harm, only benefit! The draconian response was to outlaw research. If the studies only show good, end the studies, end the science, that will shut people up — this was the approach taken in the US. This had a chilling effect on cannabis research around the world; very few research labs (they could be counted on the fingers of one hand) survived, that’s how devastating this was. This approach was highly effective at suppressing and preventing research and is why there is so little science available today.
There are over 20,000 studies involving cannabis available on PubMed the online research database of the US National Library of Medicine. Thousand of these studies show promise and conclude with recommendations for human trials; recommendations that go nowhere. Only about 200 of those studies reported on PubMed involve clinical trials on humans. Why are the number of human trials so low when the pre-clinical studies show such great promise? Because cannabis trials involving humans are virtually impossible to get approval for in the US and 80% of all research conducted in the world is paid for by sources in the United States. By Federal law these sources of research funding are not allowed to fund anything that could not be studied within the US. Get the picture?
There is some clinical science and there is more of it coming every month, it has now become a “Hot Topic” in those jurisdictions where medical use has been legalized and the body of knowledge is growing steadily. The research, both preclinical and clinical is overwhelmingly positive. There are virtually no negative reports. If any pharmaceutical showed such promise it would be rushed through clinical trials as quickly as possible. Again — reason enough to give cannabis a uniquely prized stature! There are others.
Cannabis has no serious side effects, there is not one single death attributed to cannabis overdose. Overdose is, for all practical purposes impossible. Very few, if any, medicines can make this claim.
Cannabis is one of the simplest of all medicines to titrate — meaning to determine the effective dose. In all clinical trials a universal rules is this: ‘start low, go slow’. When this approach is taken with cannabis it is pretty hard to go wrong. When you reach an efficacious level, where your symptoms are being relieved — that’s your dose. Easy, done, symptoms relieved! If you get negative side effects like nausea or overwhelming tiredness, it will soon pass, your dose was too high, try backing off next time to judge effectiveness.
If, after repeated trials and consultation wth a knowledgable counselling source, you find that no symptom relief is obtained, you will at least have discovered a way to help you relax, sleep, build appetite etc., the halo effects of cannabis. The worst that could happen to you, if you trial cannabis medicine, is to find that it does not help you. You won’t have hurt yourself or any of your organs, you’re not addicted to anything — cannabis cannot hurt you. It may not cure you but it will not harm you.
Those who raise the lack of published science as a rationale for ignoring cannabis medicine are only perpetuating the rationale for making cannabis science illegal in the first place. This is completely wrong headed and such people need to back off!
Here’s a great article that touches on this the lack of science by a revered scholar who was around for most of it: http://issuu.com/hempnation/docs/cnm-_draft.2_jan-feb_2016_issue-1
For those seriously interested here is an online magazine that started publishing late last year: Cannabis Nurses Magazine. They promise to publicize new research and summarize it in language you don't have to be a professional to understand. So far the results are very impressive! - http://issuu.com/hempnation/docs/cnm-_draft.2_jan-feb_2016_issue-1