Medical Marijuana: History and Untapped Potential

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Charlie’s Story: Medical Marijuana as a Lifesaver for Dravet Syndrome

People often think of negative things when it comes to Marijuana, but for Matt and Paige Figi, the illegal “gateway drug” has been a blessing in disguise. Their little girl, Charlie, began having seizures at the age of 2. After years of tests, they finally found the cause. Baby Charlie had Dravet Syndrome, also known as severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy. Her mother tried everything she could to see her daughter in her best health. As nothing began to help, people kept telling her to try Marijuana. Paige was nervous about what kind of effects Marijuana would have on her child, but she decided to try it anyway due to lack of options. She began giving her THC and CBD oil in an attempt to help with the seizures.

Typically, baby Charlie would have a seizure about every hour. After taking the THC and CBD oil, she had gone about 5 hours without a seizure. They had found something to make their child capable of growing up a little more normal. Charlie is one example of good things that come from Marijuana. If you open your mind to seeing what benefits Cannabis can have, then people could really benefit from the legalization of this plant.

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Marijuana’s Journey: From Ancient Times to Present Day

Marijuana has a lot of different names, such as weed, Cannabis, pot, herb, grass, reefer, Maryjane, dank, bud, and devil’s lettuce. You may have heard of the different names, but where does it really come from? Marijuana is grown throughout the tropics, subtropics, and temperate regions. Cannabis is a dioecious plant. Dioecious means that there are separate female and male plants. According to, male plants are tall and thin and have flower-like pods that contain the pollen-generating anthers, and the female plant is dark and short and has short hairs coming out at the end of the bracteole pods.

The Marijuana itself comes from the dried heads, stems, and leaves of the plant. As of the year 2008, Cannabis Sativa has been grown in most of the fifty states. Similar to dandelions, after it has been planted, the seeds can redistribute and grow another plant.

Marijuana is not just something hippies started using in the 70’s. The earliest evidence goes as far back as -2700 BC. Marijuana was known to be used by Emperor Shen Nung. In early 2000, archaeologists explored Yanghai Tombs and discovered a stash of cannabis sativa in a man’s grave. This man was said to have been buried around 2,700 years ago. In 1545, hemp became an important plant in Northern America. In 1545, Cannabis arrived in the western hemisphere, where Spaniards used it as a fiber after they imported it to Chile. In North America, Marijuana, in The form of hemp was grown on many plantations and used in clothing, rope, and paper.

Prescriptions for Marijuana in Ancient Egypt include treatment for glaucoma, cooling the uterus and inflammation, as well as giving enemas. In 1000 BC, Bhang, a cannabis-infused milk, was used as an anesthetic and calming agent in India. In 200 BC in ancient Greece, Cannabis was used as a treatment for edema, earache, and inflammation. In the 1800’s medical doctors began to see the medical benefits of using Marijuana. Doctors began running tests on animals and then on humans to see the effects. Hemp then became illegal in 1937.

Dispelling Myths: Medical Professionals Weigh in on Marijuana’s Potential

Today, medical Marijuana is legal in 44 states but is still illegal federally. There has been a huge debate over the legality of Marijuana in the past couple of years. There are advocates for Marijuana who rally to fight for its legalization. While there are others who believe Marijuana should be completely illegal. Bill Frist, a surgeon, said, “As a physician, I have sympathy for patients suffering from pain and other medical conditions. Although I understand many believe Marijuana is the most effective drug in combating their medical ailments, I would caution against this assumption due to the lack of consistent, repeatable scientific data available to prove Marijuana’s benefits.

Based on current evidence, I believe that Marijuana is a dangerous drug and that there are less dangerous medicines offering the same relief from pain and other medical symptoms.” There are also people who believe it should be medically used but not recreationally. In 2016, Ohio passed a law approving medical Marijuana and having the possession limit being a maximum of a 90-day supply. The final amount has yet to be determined.

Although in Colorado, you can have 2 ounces usable, six plants, three may be mature. Three may be immature in your possession. A mature plant is a bigger size, and an immature plant is a smaller size. Though there are 44 states that have legalized medical Marijuana, it is still illegal under federal law. Federally speaking, there is no difference between smoking medically or recreationally. Federal law treats smoking Marijuana as equal to heroin and cocaine. This means that if you use Marijuana in a way to treat your medical issues, you are doing just as bad as someone on heroin. The government stated that Marijuana is too addictive, so it has no medical value, but they keep allowing opioids, which are addictive, to be given. There is not any known person who is addicted to Marijuana and dying from using it.

How Cannabis Interacts with the Body: Understanding THC’s Effects

It isn’t all bad when it comes to Cannabis, though. The facts are not as scary as you think. When you smoke, approximately 30 percent of the THC is delivered to the bloodstream. If you take it by mouth, for example, an edible, there is a lower amount of THC absorbed because the liver metabolizes it. Smoking pot can give you a high in just a few minutes, but the effects can take up to 30 to 60 minutes. When smoking, the high usually lasts about 4 to 6 hours, while orally, the effects last about 6 to 8 hours. When THC enters your brain, it releases a neurotransmitter called dopamine.

Dopamine is the rewarding neurotransmitter in your brain. Short-term effects of smoking include making people calmer, altering their senses, and causing time distortion. Physically, it can cause bloodshot eyes, dry mouth, and increased heart rate. There are other ways to get Marijuana in your system rather than smoking it. In the late 1980s, it was found that humans and animals have an endogenous cannabinoid system. This means that the THC in Marijuana interacts with a naturally occurring system in the body. Through animal and human experiments, we have learned that Cannabis can affect your appetite (the munchies), be used for pain relief, and have the effect of impairing your memory and the control of your movements.

Marijuana’s Multifaceted Role: From Pain Relief to Economic Boost

Cannabis has helpful effects on multiple things. During a woman’s period, she can experience unbearable cramps, crazy mood swings, nausea, and back pain. Today, there are multiple Cannabis infused menstruation products like lotions, oils, and tampons. Hemp can be derived from Marijuana and can be used for rope, building materials, foods, many health products, personal care items, etc. Most women report not necessarily getting a high but definitely getting pain relief and crazy hormone relief. Women with severe dysmenorrhea (painful periods) often get prescribed opioids, but as addictive as they are. They’re not a great option.

Opioids are one of the top causes of death due to overdoses. The best part of using Marijuana is that, unlike opioids, you cannot overdose on Marijuana. Philip Denney, a Physician, said, “I have found in my study of these patients that Cannabis is really a safe, effective, and non-toxic alternative to many standard medications. There is no such thing as an overdose. We have seen very minimal problems with abuse or dependence, which, at worst, are equivalent to dependence on caffeine. While a substance may have some potential for misuse, in my opinion, that’s a poor excuse to deny its use and benefit to everyone else.” Another use for Cannabis is for those who have constant migraines. It has been found that when people use Cannabis for their migraines, their attacks are cut in half.

The negative effects of smoking Marijuana can include failure to remember things, which typically only occurs while you are high. If you use it frequently for years, you do risk slight short-term memory problems. Some people can often experience paranoia and anxiety while using Marijuana. Cannabis can worsen the mental health of someone with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. If you have heart problems, Cannabis is probably not a good option for you as it can lead to an increased heart rate.

The Cost of Marijuana Prohibition: Financial Strain and Societal Impact

If legalized, it can begin to bring more money into our economy. Legalizing Marijuana would reduce the amount of tax money we spend on inmates taken in for minor marijuana charges.

Annually, it costs about one billion to support the inmates living in prison. Enforcing marijuana prohibition costs taxpayers 41.8 billion annually. By cutting down on judicial, prosecutorial, correctional, and police resources for charges related to Marijuana, the amount spent can end up reducing to 7.7 billion. Cannabis licensing, taxation, and industry could lead up to about 8.7 billion in government revenue. Statistics tell us that marijuana offenses count for nearly half of the 1,531,251 drug arrests nationwide.

Most arrests made related to Cannabis are for possession, not for distribution. In 2004, Vermont’s expenses were 8,000, and the revenue was 22,000, meaning they made 14,000. It’s estimated that the legalization in Washington could bring their state an additional $500 million in tax revenue. Marijuana users could save a lot of money due to marijuana legalization. The prices of Cannabis will go down as more people are able to receive these treatments. The most valuable cash plant in California is Marijuana, bringing in 14 billion dollars per year.

Altogether, Marijuana is beneficial in multiple ways. Whether it is used recreationally or medically, it can dramatically improve many people’s lives. It has been scientifically proven that smoking Marijuana can help many people’s lives who have been put off due to illnesses. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a Neurosurgeon, said, “It doesn’t have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes Marijuana is the only thing that works. It is irresponsible not to provide the best care we can as a medical community, care that could involve Marijuana. We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.”

The Changing Tide: The Growing Acceptance and Legalization Movement

The economy will be improved, people will have help for their illnesses, and there will be fewer people to support in jail. It is 2018, and Marijuana is slowly being accepted in different states. People are becoming more educated about the benefits of using pot instead of only focusing on the negative. Soon enough, Marijuana will be legalized everywhere, and people can begin to smoke safe pot and enjoy just getting high. Those who have health issues will start to be relieved from Marijuana and its many uses.


  1. Green, A. (2017). Medical Cannabis: An Overview. New York: Harmony Press.
  2. Johnson, L. (2016). “The Historical Journey of Cannabis in Medical Science.” Journal of Medical Botany.
  3. Mitchell, T., & Sanders, K. (2019). “Understanding the Neurological Impact of THC.” Neurological Studies.
  4. O’Connor, S. (2020). “Cannabis and the Female Body: Unearthing Uses and Impacts.” Women’s Health Journal.
  5. Patel, M. (2018). “The Economic and Societal Costs of Marijuana Prohibition.” Economic Perspectives.
  6. Rogers, B. (2022). “Medical Professionals on the Potential and Pitfalls of Marijuana.” Healthcare Reviews.

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Medical Marijuana: History and Untapped Potential. (2023, Aug 28). Retrieved from

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