Tuesday, April 26, 2022

When "Drugs" Are Actually Good; How Narcotics Are Now Being Used Medicinally

I wrote this article a few months back for someone but in the end they didn't want it published, so I had it just sitting there, unused and unpublished. But it is so jam packed with useful information that I felt I needed to share it with you. Between when I wrote this and now I got my medical marijuana license and it is very helpful for my health issues.


Don't do drugs. 

Don't do drugs.

Don't do drugs.

Did you grow up with that message repeated to you until you could repeat it in your sleep as I did? Drugs are bad, people who do drugs are bad, stay away from drugs, etc...

The thing is, as there has been more education on the topic, people are starting to realize that the topic of "drugs" is complicated indeed.

There is a reason why there have been legalization and decriminalization of marijuana and other drugs in many places in the world- there has been more and more awareness on the beneficial medicinal uses of some of these drugs. Yes, some drugs are bad, bad, bad, and can permanently destroy your brain. However, other so-called drugs are not only not harmful but are actually beneficial for many people. This isn't nearly as black and white as we were led to believe.

Marijuana is one of the most obvious ones of these. There has been a lot of talk about CBD and its medical benefits, and fortunately, CBD is legal in all the US as well as many other places. CBD sometimes is made from the hemp plant, but CBD is also one of the medicinal components of the marijuana plant. Even people who tend to be opposed to marijuana generally are not anti CBD, because it doesn't; get you high. 

However, CBD is not the only beneficial component in marijuana. THC, the part of marijuana that gets you high, still has many beneficial components. Some of the medical benefits of THC are overlapping with CBD, but there are some that only THC has, as well as some benefits that only CBD has.

I've been to quite a few doctors and physical therapists to deal with my chronic pain that is often excruciating and debilitating. So far I've been on multiple medications that are supposed to help, but none have. My doctors, when I begged them what to do about my back (where most of my issues are) basically put up their hands in exasperation and said that all they could recommend was to take medical marijuana and apply for disability.

See, it is ridiculous that I had to try so many different types of medications, all with potentially problematic side effects, before I would be allowed to buy medical marijuana. In my country, you need a special license for it, and getting licenses are hard and only in specific conditions (fortunately chronic pain is one of them) but only after you've exhausted all other options. But I digress. 

I'm now in the process of applying for a medical marijuana license to deal with my pain issues.

My pain issues are in large part because of my Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, which causes my joints (mainly my pelvis and my spine) to sublux on a regular basis. Because of this, my muscles are constantly in spasm, which causes me tremendous pain. A friend of mine who also has EDS has her medical marijuana license has been talking to me about what type of medical marijuana she's using. She generally uses oil, and switches off between THC and CBD, because each one has a different benefit, even when being used for pain.

Both CBD and THC are used as pain relievers, but only THC helps spasming muscles. And since spasming muscles is one of my hugest issues, just taking CBD wouldn't help that.

Both CBD and THC also work to help with anxiety and nausea.

In addition to helping spasming muscles, only THC helps with Parkinson's tremors, insomnia, glaucoma, and decreased appetite. 

Only CBD helps with inflammatory bowel disease, depression, inflammation, migraines, and psychosis. 

In short, both parts of the marijuana plant are helpful medicinally, not just the CBD part.

But it's not just marijuana that was previously vilified as a "drug" that has now been found to be medically beneficial and is being either legalized, decriminalized, or deprioritized, because of this. 

Magic mushrooms, also called "shrooms"  are also medically beneficial. Yes, that's true. While it still is in research stages, magic mushrooms that cause vivid hallucinations actually can really help people with serious conditions.   https://ladyjaneexpress.ca/shop/mushrooms/shroomedibles

One of the more promising uses of psilocybin, the active compound in magic mushrooms, is in treating depression, including very severe cases. I personally have friends who have serious depression that thus far has not responded to medication, and they've been included in studies using psilocybin

In studies, compared to standard depression treatment of Cipralex or Lexapro, use of psilocybin afforded faster results to treat depression, and was even more affective than the traditional medicine.

It gets better than that. According to HopkinsMedicine.org, in one study in 2020, after just two doses of psilocybin 67% showed a more than 50% reduction in depression symptoms at the one-week follow-up and 71% at the four-week follow-up. Overall, four weeks post-treatment, 54% of participants were considered in remission – meaning they no longer qualified as being depressed." (Emphasis mine.) No longer qualified as being depressed! This is groundbreaking because usually people are just supposed to manage their depression with constant medication and therapy, but it is something they'll have to deal with lifelong. But just 2 doses of magic mushrooms put serious depression into remission! I know I'm using exclamation points, but it is just so exciting to see, as someone who deals with depression and is currently on 3 different psychiatric meds.

Just a month ago, the largest ever study on psilocybin, in a randomized, controlled, double-blind study was published. The results showed that more than a quarter of the patients that got the psilocybin treatment were still in remission 3 months later!

But it isn't just depression. PTSD is something that is also hard to cure. The treatments usually used for it are therapy, antidepressants, and antipsychotics, but while they work for some, they tend to not be as effective for people who've had multiple traumas especially over the course of years. However, treatment with psilocybin has shown promising results with PTSD in a way that medication and therapy do not, and found that one-time treatment with psilocybin very quickly brought relief from distress that had lasted more than 6 months in 80 percent of study subjects. The likely reason for this, and probably its treatment of depression, honestly, is because they've found that psilocybin stimulates neurogenesis—the growth and repair of brain cells in the hippocampus, which is the brain’s center for emotion and memory.

For this reason, and more, there has been a push to legalize psilocybin in the United States, and progress has been made on that front. Veterans have been some of the strong crusaders of this because of the PTSD common among veterans. 

There are even more "drugs" being studied now for their medicinal benefits, such as LSD, MDMA, and peyote. This is a fascinating time to be alive, and hopefully with more knowledge, these previously maligned substances might be able to help people live better lives.

Have you heard about the medicinal benefits of medical marijuana and psilocybin? What are your thoughts on them? Would you use them if you had an issue that they have been addressing? Why or why not?

1 comment:

  1. This is really interesting, and thoroughly researched. I hadn't thought much about the anti-drug message I too grew up with (although as a kid in the 1970s certain street drugs were wreaking havoc on kids...and even now the opioid epidemic is a tremendous problem where I live.) But you're quite right that drugs can offer benefits too. Thinking of Eric Flint's Ring of Fire series, where an American town is transported back to the 17th century. Suddenly marijuana (grown by the town hippie) is vastly important for pain relief.


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