Doctors have long known that marijuana can be useful in the treatment of emaciated and anorexic patients from diseases like chemotherapy and AIDS. Many doctors have and still prescribe marijuana - yes it can be obtained legally through a prescription. Now, the government is doing research into a patch or possibly gum, along with the Marinol pill and other similar treatments to treat more malodys like gulf war syndrome, migraine headaches and similar.
The Food and Drug Administration has recently granted several researchers from large universities and research centers from Harvard to Maryland approval to study the effects of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) in various delivery methods. Some of these The oral methods have recently been approved and released for treatment of chemotherapy and AIDS related weightloss issues. They, along with injectible and patch and gum or lozenge methods of delivery are now being researched for treatment of migraines, psychological associated diseases (Gulf War Syndrom and similar), and even ADD and ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and mental and psychological abnormalities. The list of research the U.S. Government has recently backed continues to grow.
The U.S. government is giving in to the undeniable fact that marijuana does have medicinal properties that can help patients with various conditions and that it should be made more readily available. Recently marijuana and THC have been brought down to a class 3 drug under the DEA. This will make it easier for doctors to prescribe THC and marijuana and get it to those who need it. The National Institutes of Health and an affiliate of the National Academy of Sciences have concluded that the active ingredients in marijuana can ease the pain, nausea and vomiting of cancer and AIDS (courtesy National Academy Press). Even charitable organizations that long withstood the attributes of marijuana have changed their views:
"The American Cancer Society has always been on record against people smoking tobacco and marijuana," said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in Washington, D.C. "This is a way to assuage opponents." The American Cancer Society is currently funding a three-year, $361,000 grant for research at the Albany College of Pharmacy.
There is currently only a few choices smoking, oral (Marinol) and injection (Sumatriptan). According to patient research the smoking method is still preferred as the patient feels more comfortable in determining what amount of "high" they receive. The complaints with the pill is that it takes too long for it to have effect. Then when it does take effect the patient is rendered useless for a period of time. This seems to be a delivery problem and being that there are no competing manufacturers the doctor and patient have little choice.
A THC patch or gum could easily solve this problem as these delivery methods, similar in property to smoked marijuana, can easily be removed when the patient feels comfortable and is sufficiently medicated. This would put control back in the patients and doctors hands with more choices. It would also make these medications less expensive and more apt to be accepted by society. The patch and gum are currently in use for smoking control and cesation and are very effective in this delivery method. This is not to mention the cancer factor from smoking is removed making it much safer and acceptable.
It would be believable to assume a THC patch and possibly gum will be available and through the clinical trials in the next few years. As more acceptance for the medicinal use of marijuana and THC grows it is possible that it may gain universal acceptancebe for medicinal use.
David Maillie is an alumni of Cornell University and specializes in biochemical synthesis. For more useful information please visit: