Cannabis in Medical Practice

A Legal, Historical and Pharmacological Overview of the Therapeutic Use of Marijuana


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About the Book

Because marijuana is a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, the therapeutic benefits of cannabis are no longer mentioned in the formal education of health care professionals. Doctors who do learn of the drug’s therapeutic value are often intimidated by its illegal status. Thus millions of patients afflicted with such illnesses as glaucoma, AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, seizure disorders and chronic pain are denied access to information about the drug’s benefits and, in many cases, suffer needlessly. Straightforward and nonpoliticized information on the therapeutic uses of cannabis is provided here by medical, legal and scientific professionals. Legal issues, a worldwide history of therapeutic cannabis and a discussion of its pharmacology are covered. Specific medical uses are then examined, including its application for sufferers of cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, and seizure disorders, and its potential use in psychiatry. Dosages and administration of cannabis are explored, along with considerations on the use of the drug during pregnancy and the risks of addiction and dependency.

About the Author(s)

Mary Lynn Mathre, R.N., M.S.N., is an addictions specialist and is the Executive Director of the Pantops Clinic in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Mary Lynn Mathre, R.N.

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 247
Bibliographic Info: photos, tables, diagrams, references, appendices, index
Copyright Date: 1997
pISBN: 978-0-7864-0361-5
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8390-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction (Mary Lynn Mathre) 1

Part I. Legal Dilemmas of Cannabis Prohibition 11

1. People Behind the Pain (Norman Elliott Kent) 13

2. Legal Issues Related to the Medical Use of Marijuana (Kevin B. Zeese) 20

Part II. Medicinal Characteristics of Cannabis 33

3. History of Therapeutic Cannabis (Michael Aldrich) 35

4. Pharmacology and Toxicity of Cannabis (Denis J. Petro) 56

Part III. Indications for Therapeutic Use of Cannabis 67

5. As an Antiemetic and Appetite Stimulant for Cancer Patients (Daniel A. Dansak)

6. AIDS and the Wasting Syndrome (Walter Krampf) 84

7. Glaucoma: A Patient’s View (Robert C. Randall) 94

8. The Use of Certain Cannabis Derivatives (Canasol) in Glaucoma (Manley West) 103

9. Spasticity and Chronic Pain (Denis Petro) 112

10. Seizure Disorders (Denis Petro) 125

11. Use of Cannabis or THC in Psychiatry (Milton Earl Burglass) 129

12. Cannabidiol as an Anxiolytic and Antipsychotic (Antonio W. Zuardi and Francisco S. Guimaraes) 133

13. Dosage and Administration of Cannabis (Madelyn Z. Brazis and Mary Lynn Mathre) 142

Part IV. Special Considerations 157

14. Cannabis and Pregnancy (Melanie C. Dreher) 159

15. Risk of Dependence and Addiction (Mary Lynn Mathre) 171

16. Nutritional Value of Hemp Seed and Hemp Seed Oil (Don Wirtshafter) 181

17. Economic and Environmental Potential of Cannabis (Robert C. Clarke and David W. Pate) 192


A. Organizations for Therapeutic Cannabis 213

B. Organizations Suppporting Access to Therapeutic Cannabis 215

C. Resolution of the Virginia Nurses Association 217

D. Excerpt from the National Nurses Society on Addictions’ Position Paper “Access to Therapeutic Cannabis” 219

E. Resolution of the American Public Health Association 221

F. Editorial from The New England Journal of Medicine 225

G. Organizations for the Overall Use of Cannabis or Hemp 228

H. Sources of Cannabis/Hemp Products 230

I. Additional Resources 231

Index 233

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Straightforward”—C&RL News
  • “Balanced information…up-to-date information on the pharmacology and toxicity of cannabis”—Addiction
  • “Covers very recent political developments”—Medical Journal of Australia
  • “Highly informative, as well as thought provoking…. I recommend this book very highly”—Family & Community Health
  • “Examines the historical, legal and medical issues…recommended”—Common Sense for Drug Policy