Medical Marijuana Works

Dewy Medow

The following article was originally published on VancouverSun.com

People benefit from using medical marijuana. It is a fact. Opponents of this idea may cite a lack of data, double-blind studies, or clinical trials to suggest that the water is too murky to assess cannabis’ effectiveness in a therapeutic context. This is a reflection of where we stand on the timeline of marijuana’s mainstream acceptance. It does not, however, discount the thousands of instances across North America where patients have chosen to use cannabis as a part of personal treatment plans - and found success.

The evidence is out there, and with the advent of MMPR, firms like Tantalus Labs bring the opportunity to formalize it in quantified study. We welcome this long awaited scrutiny. Current and future patients, that we believe such studies will validate, are the reason Tantalus Labs exists.

One thing is clear: patients with a wide host of afflictions believe they benefit from marijuana use.

I have had the privilege to interact with patients across all walks of life since founding Tantalus Labs almost three years ago. The most fascinating quality of this small sample population of medical cannabis users is the variety of their applications. From arthritis and inflammation, to substitution for opiate narcotics; the diversity of reported application is overwhelming. One thing is clear: patients with a wide host of afflictions believe they benefit from marijuana use.

I want to share two anecdotes of patients who reported success with medical cannabis. They represent two very different ends of a spectrum of uses, and their contrast is a testament to the broad application of medical cannabis seen today. While excited to be included in the story, they asked that their identities be withheld.

The first case is an athlete who relies on muscular endurance and readiness for their livelihood:

“As a fairly long term cannabis user I always feared how it would affect my performance as I got deeper and deeper into competitive sport. Making the transition from smoking it, to a vaporizer, has allowed me to take advantage of the physical and psychological benefits of cannabis without the (unknown) risk of sacrificing lung capacity.

Sometimes in my sport we do 2 - 3 heavy and hard training sessions a day, and average 7 - 10 hard training sessions a week.

Smoking cannabis via a vaporizer has allowed me to relax at night after putting my body (and mind) through some seriously rough and stressful sessions, and although I have no research to back it up, I can definitely preach the benefits of it's anti-inflammatory processes. I've yet to find a pharmaceutical drug on the market today that can simultaneously decrease the throbbing pains of recovering from hard training sessions while simultaneously decreasing stress and helping you relax to fall asleep at night.”

The second case is an elderly woman suffering from Leukemia. I cannot quote her directly, because she lost her battle to cancer earlier this year. Her prognosis was terminal, and the pain of her last months was crippling. To combat this pain she was prescribed Morphine. It was administered intravenously several times daily, on-demand when the pain became too much. The side effects of the increasing doses left her immobile and without interest in eating. This, in turn, caused weight loss and sleeplessness, accelerating the unfortunate outcome of the disease.

Over the last 6 months of her life, she discovered edible cannabis. She reported pain reduction and a renewed appetite. Within weeks of complementing her treatment plan with marijuana she had regained some of her mobility, enabling her to travel. She was able to reduce her Morphine intake by more than half, reducing her reported side effects. She gained some weight, and was present with loved ones in the precious time she had left. Cannabis gave this mother time with her children less dulled by the malaise of opioids.

It is time to give this treatment the scrutiny of quantified scientific study

These are simply two contrasting stories of patients who believe marijuana helped them. I have personally heard hundreds more. The critique that we don’t know enough about the plant to prescribe it alongside more traditional pharmaceuticals is understandable. Now is the time to study it. It is time to give this treatment the scrutiny of quantified scientific study, and see if the anecdotal evidence holds true under a clinical lens. Tantalus Labs hopes to be a part of that conversation.