It’s almost April, which means 4-20 is on its way, and most fellow marijuana enthusiasts know exactly what that means. We go out to the legislature, and we advocate for the right to use cannabis, whether it’s medicinally or recreationally.
I say “we,” because I am one of the advocates of Manitoba who has spoken at 4-20 for the last five years. use cannabis medicinally to manage the symptoms that come with my illness.
Yet many people are still unaware of what cannabis can be used for, how it works and how it can be consumed.
“Both THC and CBD are in a group of substances called cannabinoids. They bind to receptors in the brain and are effective against pain,” according to healthline.com.
“All mammals and most vertebrate species worldwide have endocannabinoid systems (ECS). Receptors for the ECS are much like the lock, while cannabinoids are the key. Our bodies naturally produce cannabinoids to bind with receptors triggering response to pain levels,” Mike Mailman, a fellow activist, explains.
“When our body is fighting pain, added dietary cannabinoid medicine, naturally occurring in plants, may be used in place of endogenous cannabinoids.”
The uses are very diverse, but one of the major symptoms that cannabis can alleviate is pain. Pain comes with several illnesses and disabilities, such as fibromyalgia, some cases of spinal muscular atrophy, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain and various types of cancer.
Imagine being in so much pain that leaving the house becomes impossible, and relationships start to suffer because of it - that’s emotionally draining. Pain also takes a toll on a person’s immune system, and it can promote tumour growth.
For several years, harsh prescription drugs like Vicodin, fentanyl and oxycodone have been the option for pain management. These drugs are highly addictive, can cause stomach ulcers, constipation and overdoses, and they have been linked to several deaths.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, there were 2,861 deaths linked to opiods in 2016 and 1,460 in the first half of 2017. Also, 29 per cent of Canadians over 18 years old used opioids in the last five years.
Yet cannabis has a less-lethal association and fewer bad side effects … except maybe an empty fridge from the munchies.
Another symptom that cannabis can alleviate is nausea. Nausea can be caused by several diseases, medications or illnesses and is a well-known side effect of chemotherapy. Patients who are treating cancer with chemotherapy really need nutrition to keep themselves strong enough to fight the disease. However, treatment medications are very hard on the stomach and can make it near impossible to eat. Cannabis stimulates a person’s appetite and can solve the nausea problem.
The next symptom that cannabis can alleviate is seizures. These can