When Weed Is The Cure: A Doctor's Case for Medical Marijuana

When Weed Is The Cure: A Doctor’s Case for Medical Marijuana

In Physicians, Regulatory, Top Stories by Chris DollardLeave a Comment

A year and a half ago, Dr. David Casarett did not take medical marijuana very seriously. “When I first started this project, I really thought of medical marijuana as a joke,” he tells Fresh Air ‘s Terry Gross. But then the palliative care specialist began to look seriously into the issue, and his mind began to change: “I’ve come to realize there really are medical benefits to medical marijuana. … For many of the patients I spoke with, medical marijuana is not a joke. It’s not funny. It’s a treatment that they’ve come to rely on.” While researching his new book, Stoned: A Doctor’s Case for Medical Marijuana, Casarett examined the limited medical studies related to the drug’s use, traveled to places where it is being used legally and tested it on himself. He also spoke to patients who had used the drug to treat a variety of ailments, including seizures, post-traumatic stress disorder and neuropathic pain . The book lays out the case for marijuana’s medicinal use — as well as for more research into the drug’s long-term effects. “There’s a fair amount of science behind it,” Casarett says. “Those are medical benefits that people in the medical marijuana world — including advocates and patients — really take seriously.” Interview Highlights On the use of medical marijuana to treat neuropathic pain It turns out that some of the best evidence for medical marijuana is actually for what’s called neuropathic pain, which is pain that’s caused by the nerves themselves. So unlike pain that’s caused by arthritis or sometimes some kinds of cancer in which the nerve endings of pain fibers are stimulated, which causes pain, neuropathic pain is caused by disruption of or damage to the nerves themselves. … That kind of pain can be really, really difficult […]

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