No ‘accepted medical use’ yet medical marijuana has been shown to ease pain.

Posted on: July 11th, 2013  |  No Comments

Special to the Washington Post, Kathryn Petrides, reported that dispensaries aren’t yet open, but when drugs failed, cannabis helped her endure side effects of chemo.

My breast cancer diagnosis at age 26 was an unwelcome and at times harrowing experience.

Eventually, though, I was lucky enough to take a medicine that did alleviate my suffering. Not so fortunate was the fact that it came in the form of a drug illegal under U.S. federal law: cannabis.
Though cannabis for medical purposes became legal in the District of Columbia (where I live) in 2010, the city-sanctioned dispensaries that can supply it are only now inching closer to opening their doors.

Nevertheless, marijuana is still banned under the United States Controlled Substances Act – meaning it continues to be a federal crime to possess or grow marijuana, even in the 18 states plus the District that permit it for medicinal purposes. As a Schedule I drug, cannabis is deemed to have no “accepted medical use” and to lack “safety for use under medical supervision.”

Yet marijuana was the only thing that truly quelled my stomach, provided for restful sleep and allowed me to eat and drink. I was not a cannabis smoker prior to my diagnosis, and I am not one now. I used it only during my chemotherapy treatments, which ended a few months ago.

It was the safest medicine I took over the course of my cancer treatments. Only with further research can we better understand the palliative effects of cannabis – and perhaps finally make it more accessible to the many of us who suffer chronic pain and discomfort. For us, quality of life has special meaning.

A full version of this article appeared in print on Tuesday July 9, 2013, on pages E1 and E5 of The Washington Post with the headline: Medical marijuana and me: It eased my pain

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