This article is from the Hemp / Cannabis / Marijuana FAQ, by Brian S. Julin firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
Marijuana has thousands of possible uses in medicine.
Marijuana (actually cannabis extract) was available as a
medicine legally in this country until 1937, and was sold as
a nerve tonic -- but mankind has been using cannabis
medicines much longer than that. Marijuana appears in
almost every known book of medicine written by ancient
scholars and wise men. It is usually ranked among the top
medicines, called `panaceas', a word which means `cure-all'.
The list of diseases which cannabis can be used for
includes: multiple sclerosis, cancer treatment, AIDS (and
AIDS treatment), glaucoma, depression, epilepsy, migraine
headaches, asthma, pruritis, sclerodoma, severe pain, and
dystonia. This list does not even consider the other
medicines which can be made out of marijuana -- these are
just some of the illnesses for which people smoke or eat
whole marijuana today.
There are over 60 chemicals in marijuana which may have
medical uses. It is relatively easy to extract these into
food or beverage, or into some sort of lotion, using butter,
fat, oil, or alcohol. One chemical, cannabinol, may be
useful to help people who cannot sleep. Another is taken
from premature buds and is called cannabidiolic acid. It is
a powerful disinfectant. Marijuana dissolved in rubbing
alcohol helps people with the skin disease herpes control
their sores, and a salve like this was one of the earliest
medical uses for cannabis. The leaves were once used in
bandages and a relaxing non-psychoactive herbal tea can be
made from small cannabis stems.
The most well known use of marijuana today is to control
nausea and vomiting. One of the most important things when
treating cancer with chemotherapy or when treating AIDS with
AZT or Foscavir, being able to eat well, makes the
difference between life or death. Patients have found
marijuana to be extremely effective in fighting nausea; in
fact so many patients use it for this purpose even though it
is illegal that they have formed `buyers clubs' to help them
find a steady supply. In California, some city governments
have decided to look the other way and allow these clubs to
Marijuana is also useful for fighting two other very serious
and wide-spread disabilities. Glaucoma is the second
leading cause of blindness, caused by uncontrollable eye
pressure. Marijuana can control the eye pressure and keep
glaucoma from causing blindness. Multiple Sclerosis is a
disease where the body's immune system attacks nerve cells.
Spasms and many other problems result from this. Marijuana
not only helps stop these spasms, but it may also keep
multiple sclerosis from getting worse.
``Marijuana, The Forbidden Medicine'' by Lester Grinspoon M.D. and
James B. Bakalar pub. Yale University Press New Haven, 1993.
``Therapeutic Issues of Marijuana and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)'' by
J. Thomas Ungerieder, Therese Andrysiak in ``The International Journal
of the Addictions'' Vol. 20 pp. 691-699. ed. pub. M. Dekker New York,