Medical marijuana is a game-changer

Columnist Samoni Brown. Photo courtesy Brown

In the state of Florida there has been a constant back and forth about whether or not marijuana should be legal. To look at it on a deeper level, whether it should be legal for medicinal usage, recreational usage or both. Although medicinal marijuana was made legal in 2017, some residents still believe it should be illegal.

As of 2020 there are more than 300,000 Florida residents with a medical marijuana card. The Florida law permits qualified physicians to order medical cannabis or low-THC cannabis for patients diagnosed with certain conditions and some terminal conditions. Some common conditions are cancer, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, PTSD, multiple sclerosis, ALS, Crohn’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. 

As many know, cancer is hard for the patient going through it and for the patient’s family. Intensive chemotherapy treatments can become grueling and stressful on the body — not to mention the multitude of side effects that comes along with it. According to the American Cancer Society, studies have shown that smoking marijuana can be helpful in treating nausea and vomiting. It was also found that smoking or inhaling vaporized marijuana can be helpful in treatment of neuropathic pain. 

HIV and AIDS was a serious epidemic that shook up the ’80s and early  ’90s. Today there are treatments and antiretroviral medications to help HIV positive and AIDS patients live a much longer life and improve their quality of life. By smoking marijuana or ingesting THC/CBD infused foods (edibles) it was found to ease symptoms like weight loss, appetite abnormalities and nerve pain. Nerve pain originates from damaged nerves, described as being a stabbing, burning, or tingling sensation in the hands or feet, and antiretroviral medication can sometimes trigger this. 

Epilepsy, a brain disorder characterized by unpredictable reoccurring seizures, is another common condition that 1 in 26 Americans will be affected by. For those unaware, a seizure is a sudden uncontrolled electrical disturbance occurring in the brain. With modern western medicine there are traditional ways to treat or manage epilepsy. However, 30% of epilepsy patients will not be able to control seizures with those methods. CBD, a chemical found in marijuana, acts as a neuro protectant, reducing stressors on the brain, thus reducing the probability of the likelihood of a seizure. Researchers also found for patients that develop a tolerance to CBD, they are able to use THC to manage their seizures. 

Some patients who have found traditional methods unsuccessful find hope in seeing the results of non-traditional methods. For many, using medical marijuana has improved their quality of life and helped with the management of their condition. Although all residents do not agree with marijuana usage of any sort, for some it makes a grave difference in the way they experience life.