Posted on Leave a comment

The role of women in the medical marijuana movement

The Women Grow Summit in Denver is a major event which brings female cannabis entrepreneurs together to talk all things pot. The summit also highlights the progress being made by the marijuana community in general.

The 2016 edition saw Melissa Etheridge give the keynote speech, and she chose to focus on how the image of cannabis is changing across the globe. Etheridge also commented on how women had and would continue to play a crucial role in transforming the herb’s image.

About Women Grow

While Women Grow is intended as an entrepreneurial convention more than anything, it gives attendees a great chance to immerse themselves in the personal arguments for medical marijuana. The industry is booming and going through a phase of rapid development – the emergence of new cannabis products, new equipment and new ideas is very exciting, and it’s even more fun to have an active role.

The battle for medical marijuana has already been won at conventions like Women Grow, but those present at such meetups are more than aware of the need to improve perceptions of cannabis among the wider public. For example, many still stereotype marijuana users as lazy, do-nothing potheads just trying to escape from reality. But the actual reality is that most cannabis users are perfectly sensible and grounded, and use the plant not for escapism but to improve their lives.

It’s time to recognize that sensible marijuana use is not akin to just chilling out with a joint and getting the munchies. Indeed, women-driven companies like AnnaBis are developing practical products for discerning cannabis users. Take their new range of fashion handbags, made with advanced odor-hiding tech so women can medicate discreetly on the go. The marijuana movement will succeed thanks to the innovative minds of these women, who work tirelessly in the name of a fully-fledged, legitimate and accepted industry.

Why women are vital to the success of cannabis

But why are women going to be so important in ending the stigma surrounding cannabis and prohibition altogether? In a typical family, it’s women who have the role of looking after others as caregivers.

If female eyes can be opened to the potential and safety of medical marijuana through education, it’s fair to assume that others will benefit. Elderly family members may be able to use marijuana products for pain relief, while oils and creams (especially for skin complaints) could have medical possibilities for children and adolescents.

Understanding endocannabinoids and the medical potential of marijuana

So marijuana is being proposed as treatment for several physical and mental conditions, but what’s so special about this all-round therapeutic plant? Understanding the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is the first step to understanding medical marijuana, and Nurse Heather Manus explained its processes – the ECS controls mood, appetite, sensitivity to pain and more – to the 1,400 in attendance at Women Grow.

A well-functioning ECS is essential to a healthy human body. Fibromyalgia and migraines are often caused by endocannabinoid deficiencies, which occur when the receptors and the signalling systems of the ECS stop working properly.

Now the ECS has been discovered, it’s much easier for medical marijuana experts and scientists to explain just why the plant can treat specific health conditions. In a nutshell, marijuana helps to restore balance in an adversely-affected ECS.

In the next section, we will reveal how medical marijuana helps with Crohn’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, traumatic brain injury and opioid addiction. It’s important to remember that cannabis doesn’t cure everything, and suggestions it can cure cancer are not proven and dangerous to make.

However, used in the right way, marijuana can be an excellent addition to a treatment plan through its range of non-aggressive, therapeutic properties. Many have found their quality of life greatly improved after bringing medical marijuana into their lives.

Medical marijuana for Crohn’s Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and specifically Crohn’s Disease, can seriously impact a person’s ability to lead their lives. Cannabis is not only a useful anti-inflammatory (reducing inflammation helps to manage symptoms), it also interacts with the ECS to improve appetite.

“I’d rather be illegally alive than legally dead,” were the famous words of Colyton Turner, a teenager who moved to Colorado to use cannabis oil as treatment for his Crohn’s Disease.

Medical marijuana for Multiple Sclerosis

THC and CBD, the two main cannabinoids in marijuana, both have traits that Multiple Sclerosis-sufferers have found can help with symptoms. Medical marijuana has antispasmodic properties to counteract MS-caused muscle spasms, and its analgesic qualities promote general pain relief. There are anecdotal reports in some states with legalized medical marijuana of MS patients switching from opioids and corticosteroids to CBD products such as CBD e-juice, sublingual sprays, edibles and oils.

Those using medical marijuana to tackle MS have found relief from consuming the herb daily. Advocate and MS patient Montel Williams noted that he only really started having success with marijuana when his body was “saturated with cannabinoids.”

Medical marijuana for traumatic brain injury

The neuroprotective properties of cannabis are now better understood thanks to an uptick in clinical research over the past two decades. But despite this information, medical experts have been frustratingly hesitant to recommend the herb as traumatic brain injury (TBI) treatment.

In 2002, scientists discovered that the ECS is active in trying to heal the body post-TBI, by increasing the levels of anandamide and 2-AG in the body. From this, we can deduce that with the right marijuana prescription, the plant could be mightily effective at treating TBI.

In addition, Reactive Oxygen Species and Tumor Necrosis Factor-A, both neural-damaging substances, are made more easily by the body when endocannabinoid levels are lower. Hence, marijuana can be used to stifle their production.

The National Football League (NFL) has been embroiled in debate for several years over whether it should allow players to use marijuana for pain relief, its anti-inflammatory qualities and for neuroprotective purposes. The high-intensity sport, in which players experience an abnormal number of head blows, has left many athletes dependent on addictive opioids to deal with symptoms. A study found that NFL players are four times more likely to have an opioid addiction than the average member of the American public.

Former NFL player-turned-medical marijuana supporter, Ricky Williams, has spoken of how he would use cannabis over the anti-inflammatories and painkillers given by doctors.

Medical marijuana for opioid addiction

America’s opioid epidemic is very worrying, with more than 47,000 dying from overdose (either from heroin or prescription painkillers) as early as 2014. The ease of access to opiate-based painkillers has caused many patients, of all ages, to get addicted to the likes of Vicodin and Percocet.

Some lawmakers have proposed for more attention to be put on medical marijuana as a practical alternative to opioids, including Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic senator serving Massachusetts. She scribed a letter to Tom Frieden when he was director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, appealing for information on the effectiveness of medical marijuana, and whether cannabis had reduced opioid overdoses when legal medically, recreationally or both.

As well as being a pain reliever, legal cannabis is also helping to reduce opioid addiction and death from opioid overdoses, per a 2015 working paper.

Marijuana can modernize healthcare

The healthcare system has not moved with the times, and old-fashioned practices continue to win out in spite of new evidence. The stigma surrounding marijuana only hurts those who could benefit from this powerful natural substance, especially in states that are yet to enact any medical laws. Consider the case of Moriah Barnhart’s daughter, Dahlia.

Dahlia’s aggressive brain cancer, which she was diagnosed with at two years of age, was only made worse by the serious – perhaps even life-threatening – side effects from experimental chemotherapy. However, simply bringing daily doses of cannabis oil into Dahlia’s treatment plan was enough to eliminate the majority of side effects and restore the young girl’s quality of life.

With the information available, there is no justification from restricting Dahlia and others like her from life-changing medical cannabis treatment. It’s high time that the public was better educated about the potential of medical marijuana and, most importantly, that doctors and medical experts brushed up their knowledge on the plant and became better positioned to offer quality advice.

Final thoughts

To the dismay of the prohibitionists, medical marijuana isn’t going anywhere – as is clear from Women Grow and similar events. Cannabis is a topic on everyone’s lips, and through talking we can educate and bring about change for the better.

Colorado, Oregon, Washington D.C. and now California, Nevada and more are opening their eyes to medical and recreational marijuana. Now the conversation must be taken to conservative heartlands that have historically held a more hesitant stance on cannabis.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *