Information derived from a Mercola article found at:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/05/16/research-supports-marijuana-benefits.aspx?e_cid=20150516Z1_DNL_art_1&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20150516Z1&et_cid=DM74698&et_rid=955237506

Marijuana is a Schedule 1 controlled substance, a category reserved for the most dangerous drugs, along with heroin and LSD due to a “high potential for abuse” and “no accepted medical use.” Current research shows this to be completely untrue.

Interestingly, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) obtained a patent for marijuana as a “neural protectant,” in 2003. So much for the “no accepted medical use.”

The active ingredient, cannabinoids, has two subclasses important for medical use: THC (tetrahydrocannabinols) and CBD (cannabidiols). CBD comprises 40% of cannabis resin and interact with specific receptors in your cell membranes. THC is the most psychoactive, and is known for producing a “high.” Over time, some producers have bred plants with higher amounts of this compound. The downfall of this practice is lower medicinal value and adverse effects. Like all herbs; however, the plant works best as a whole plant with the CBD lessening the psychoactive effects of THC. Once again, it’s all in the breeding.

According to Dr. Mechoulam we have our own endogenous cannabinoid system within us, with our bodies making cannabinoids similar to those in marijuana, and are found on cell membranes throughout our bodies. The two that have been identified are CB1 which is in our brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas, and other parts. CB2 is in our immune system. This cannabinoid system is believed to assist regulating physiological processes and in maintaining homeostasis.

The most encouraging aspect for MSIDS (multi, systemic, infectious, disease) patients is the ability of marijuana to lower inflammation and an overactive immune system, increase energy, control appetite, help with nutrient transport, cellular communication, emotional balance, sleep, and memory, all of which we struggle with.

It is also pro-apoptotic, which means it kills cancer cells, but leaves healthy cells alone. It is also anti-angiogenic, which means it cuts off a tumor’s blood supply.

But perhaps the greatest benefit is its proven ability to control pain as well as or better than pharmaceuticals as demonstrated by the 2010 report by the Center for Medical Cannabis Research on 14 clinical studies which were FDA-approved, double-blind, and placebo-controlled.

According to Dr. Margaret Gedde, MD, PhD, cannabis is safer and less toxic than many prescription drugs. For instance, in states were medical marijuana is legal, overdose deaths from pharmaceutical opioids decreased by an average of 33% after five and six years of marijuana legalization. The main side-effect of cannabidiol is sleepiness which wears off after the patient gets accustomed to it.

For more information on optimal dosing and protocols, Gedde recommends looking into current clinical practice in states where cannabis is now legally accessible. Other resources include PubMed, cancer.gov, The Journal of Pain, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and Mercola’s interview with Dr. Frankel. Found here:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/03/09/medical-cannabis.aspx