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TIME Marijuana The Medical Movement

TIME Marijuana The Medical Movement

TIME Marijuana The Medical Movement

Cannabis has been used as medicine for 4,000 years. Now, with the majority of states legalizing medical marijuana, the U.S. is discovering this plant’s full potential. Marijuana: The Medical Movement, the new Special Edition from the editors of TIME reveals the science behind marijuana’s medical uses and explains why it may prove valuable for treating a wide range of conditions, including epilepsy, nausea in cancer and AIDS patients, IBS, nerve pain, rheumatoid arthritis—even Alzheimer’s. It also shows promise as a substitute for opioids in managing pain. Legislation has hampered research, however. This edition covers the healing power of marijuana, how to keep your children safe, navigating the buying process in addition to exploring the pros and cons of legalization, and shares stories of researchers, patients helped by pot use, and medical experts, as well as the full history of the legalization movement, which is favored by 90 percent of all Americans. Learn more about the history of marijuana as medicine, where it is today and what’s to come in the future, in Marijuana: The Medical Movement.

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United States
Meredith Corporation

in this issue

5 min.
a budding health remedy

IT WOULD BE CLICHÉ TO DESCRIBE THE ODYSSEY of medical marijuana as a long, strange trip. It would also be true. Humans have been using cannabis for healing since before the written word. It entered the Chinese medicine armamentarium at least 4,000 years ago and has cropped up independently around the world and through the ages ever since—in India’s ancient Ayurvedic medicine, in records from Greece in 50 A.D., in medical texts in England in the 1600s. By the 1800s, doctors in Ireland and the U.S. (yes, you read that right) prescribed it regularly. Americans considered it so safe that it was marketed to new moms to relieve teething pain in fussy babies. Then came the backlash—not to medical marijuana, per se, but to the drug in general. Reefer Madness, an over-the-top 1936…

2 min.
a brief history of marijuana as medicine

10,000 B.C. Cannabis grows in the area that is now Mongolia. 2,700 YEARS AGO A shaman is buried in China’s Yanghai Tombs, along with nearly two pounds of cannabis that appears to have been cultivated for medicinal purposes. 1842 William O’Shaughnessy’s clinical trials of cannabis find that it’s an effective muscle relaxant and anticonvulsive. (The Irish physician also notes side effects like “perpetual giggling” and “ravenous appetite.”) 1840s–1930s Cannabis is widely prescribed. In 1860, the Ohio State Medical Society conducts the first U.S.government survey of the cannabis medical literature, reporting that the plant is helpful for pain, bronchitis, venereal disease and postpartum depression. In 1915, Sir William Osler, often called the father of modern medicine, dubs cannabis “the most satisfactory remedy” for migraines. 1930s The U.S.government begins regulating cannabis, Reefer Madness premieres, and the Federal Bureau of Narcotics says…

7 min.
the healing power of cannabis

WHEN DR. ORRIN DEVINSKY DECIDED HE WANTED to study whether cannabidiol—a compound from cannabis also known as CBD—could help people who suffer severe seizures, he didn’t realize just how difficult a feat it would be. Coming up with how the study would be conducted was the easiest part. Ultimately, the researchers would study whether taking CBD over a 14-week period could reduce seizure frequency in children and adolescents with Dravet syndrome—a rare and severe form of epilepsy. After Devinsky, director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at NYU Langone Health, and his colleagues got approval for the research from NYU and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the team applied for approval from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). “The DEA sent men with guns to my office to inspect,” recalls Devinsky.…

1 min.
your body on marijuana

Head Marijuana releases cannabinoids that latch onto receptors in the brain, which can cause feelings of relaxation and pain relief. The THC in marijuana can increase the feel-good chemical dopamine in the brain. It may also change the way you process information. Lungs The smoke inhaled from marijuana can contain toxins like tar, though research linking pot to lung disease has not been conclusive. Stomach Although marijuana can make some people feel nauseous, for others it can do the opposite and ease upset-stomach symptoms. Eyes THC in marijuana can lower blood pressure, which can expand blood vessels and make the eyes appear bloodshot. Nervous System Marijuana also affects the central nervous system, which is why scientists think it helps with pain and controlling spasms and seizures. Heart For some people, compounds in marijuana may increase heart rate.…

8 min.
“i use pot for my health.”

“Cannabis allows me to live with MS.”—SURI, 54 At age 54, I’ve been battling multiple sclerosis for over 30 years, more than half my full life. I have severe physical limitations: I’m confined now to a wheelchair, and I require 24/7 care. I need help with all the simple things most people take for granted, like brushing my teeth or sending a text. Many friends wonder how I can get through it. I tell them I rely on acceptance, love, a great sense of humor—and daily medical marijuana use. In order to understand why I use this drug, you need to get a sense of what living with multiple sclerosis is like. My flare-ups begin with an electrocuting tiredness different from any fatigue you’d ever experience. Imagine walking with heavy slabs of…

6 min.
keeping kids safe

IF MARIJUANA HAS A DEMOGRAPHIC, IT’S BEEN thought to be young—at least since the 1960s. Leave the Manhattans and martinis to the Mad Men generation; the kids have the pot. Back then, most of the smoking was done on the sly, which is the way of things when you’re using an illegal substance. But as pot has gone mainstream, it has become more readily available seemingly everywhere. Although you must be 21 to purchase pot in all states where it is legal, all a teen needs is a fake ID or access to a computer to get around that barrier. And these days, a parent’s stash of joints or edibles is all too easy to raid. This is a particular concern for parents of young children: research looking at one children’s hospital…