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Abstract: Recent advances in understanding of the mode of action of tetrahydrocannabinol and related cannabinoid ingredients of marijuana, plus the accumulating anecdotal reports on potential medical benefits have spurred increasing research into possible medicinal uses of cannabis. Recent clinical trials with smoked and vaporized marijuana, as well as other botanical extracts indicate the likelihood that the cannabinoids can be useful in the management of neuropathic pain, spasticity due to multiple sclerosis, and possibly other indications. As with all medications, benefits and risks need to be weighed in recommending cannabis to patients. We present an algorithm that may be useful to physicians in determining whether cannabis might be recommended as a treatment in jurisdictions where such use is permitted.
Introduction: Cannabis sativa x indica is a plant composed of hundreds of different chemical compounds including over 60 cannabinoid molecules. Cannabis that is grown for patient use must be free of biological or chemical contamination and of specific cannabinoid profile and concentration to effectively treat a medical condition. This defines medical-grade cannabis. The standards of practice of the nursing profession combined with direct patient care, place nurses in an ideal position to teach patients how to grow, preserve and use cannabis safely. Anyone who intends to cultivate cannabis for medical use should educate themselves by purchasing a text like “Marijuana Grower’s Guide” by Mel Frank.
Cannabis is the botanical name for the plant composed of three main cultivars: sativa, indica and ruderalis. It belongs in the Family Cannabinacea. Cannabis is a woody, annual, dioecious plant, which grows outdoors in temperate climates (as well as under indoor cultivation) world-wide. It is known for intoxicating, euphoric and medicinal effects, which are based upon activation of the endocannabinoid system.