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By Dr. David Bearman (California)
SCIENTIFIC MECHANISMS AND CLINICAL INDICATIONS
David Bearman, MD
Finally in the early 21st century, medicinal cannabis is being rediscovered by physicians
and patients alike. This paper discusses the current state of medicinal marijuana in the U.S. We’ll
look at contemporary medicinal use in the context of the 5000-year history of the therapeutic use
of cannabis. This includes cannabis use in ancient times, in patent medicines, its use in the early
20th century, and assess the modern medicinal cannabis research that started in 1949. The
paper will cover the current legal status of medicinal cannabis, recent research, the role of the
FDA, physician practice standards, medical indications, and mechanisms of action.
We stand at the dawn of a new era for medicinal cannabis. Since 1964, when Dr.
Raphael Mechulam, of Jerusalem University, isolated tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) we have
learned more about the marvels of the brain’s neurochemistry. There has developed a greater
understanding of the role of serotonin in depression and we have had the discovery of
endorphins, the naturally-occurring opiates, and the endocannabinoid system. In 1992, Professor
Mechulam described the endocannabinoid system. He characterized the endogenous
cannabinoid receptors and the endogenous cannabinoids that bind to these receptors.
We have crossed the threshold into exciting cannabis-related treatments for many
conditions and symptoms. Cannabis gives relief from chronic pain which arises from a myriad of
pain-producing illnesses; cannabis provides both analgesia and anti-inflammatory relief for
autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, complex sympathetic dystrophy,
and restless leg syndrome; and assists many with mental health problems, including attention
deficit disorder (ADD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and obsessive
compulsive disorder (OCD) – to name but a few conditions which have been shown to benefit
from cannabis and cannabinods.
© This article is copyrighted by Medical Cannabis Journal 11-27-2013Medical Cannabis marijuana Dr Bearman endocannabinoid
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