Medical marijuana proven to help manage pain and ease symptoms
Dr. Mark Ware has been studying the safe and effective use of medical marijuana for 16 years. His research is done at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). Last June, Ware was named vice-chair of the federal task force studying the recreational use of marijuana. So he has studied the subject of cannabis from both ends of the spectrum.
When told that a 40,000 square foot medical marijuana production facility was poised to open in Pointe-Claire, he put on his research cap.
“Remember that cannabis is not one drug. It is a family of drugs called cannabinoids,” Ware said.
More than 100 cannabinoids can be extracted from a cannabis plant. The two most studied so far for their medical applications are THC and CBD.
“When extracted, they can become very important medicines,” Ware said. “THC is linked with the euphoria associated with being ‘high’. CBD does not produce euphoria. Its therapeutic value is still being studied.”
The Pointe-Claire plant would help facilitate the research being done at the MUHC.
“It is very important to have access to medical marijuana for use in clinical trials,” Ware said.
CBD is being researched as a possible anti-spasm, anti-seizure and anti-inflammatory medication. It might even help in the treatment of schizophrenia. But Ware said the research is “a long way from being proven.”
THC research is further along.
Ware said it has been successful in managing pain, easing spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis, and reducing nausea and vomiting brought on by chemotherapy treatments for cancer patients.
Medical marijuana can be smoked, vaporized (through a heating process) or reduced to an oil which can be either ingested as is or with food.