The Science of Medical Marijuana
One of the canards regularly raised by opponents of medical marijuana is that it just gets people high and doesn’t provide real medical relief. For example, last year former deputy drug czar Scott Burns told a California newspaper, "Anybody can say something makes me feel better anecdotally. And I hear that a lot. ‘Marijuana is the only thing that makes me feel good.’ I say you should try crack, because from what I hear, crack cocaine will make you feel really good as well."
At the Marijuana Policy Project, this is one of the arguments we seem to have to debunk every 10 minutes.
Anyone inclined to believe such nonsense should check out an article just published online by the journal Pharmacological Research. The article, by two researchers from the University of Naples, covers the potential benefits of cannabinoids in illnesses involving intestinal inflammation (e.g. Crohn’s disease) and in colorectal cancer.
The authors explain that "cannabinoids exert important physiological and pathophysiological actions in the digestive tract, including appetite regulation, emesis, protection of the gastric mucosa, intestinal ion transport, gastric emptying and intestinal motility." They then go into a detailed and highly technical explanation of how the body’s CB1 and CB2 receptors — the route through which marijuana and the body’s own marijuana-like chemicals act — are involved in controlling the excessive inflammation that is the hallmark of Crohn’s and other forms of inflammatory bowel disease and how enhancing those actions can help.
The researchers then go into a similarly detailed discussion of the cellular mechanisms by which cannabinoids — including natural plant cannabinoids like THC and CBD — fight colorectal cancer, opening the discussion with this: "Cannabinoids exert antiproliferative, antimetastatic and apoptotic actions in colorectal carcinoma epithelial cells as well as antitumoural effects in experimental models of colon cancer."
So, can we lay to rest once and for all the lie that medical marijuana is just about "getting high"?