A Derry Township health official believes that medical marijuana cannot be used as a standalone form of proper treatment since there is no sufficient research on cannabis compound has been conducted so far. Dr. Bill Trescher, head of the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center believes that while marijuana does contain beneficial chemicals that may help certain patients to deal with their conditions, the rest of the potentially harmful compounds have not been properly studied. For this reason, Dr. Trescher says medical marijuana can only be used along with other certified forms of treatment, rather than standalone medication.
The use of cannabis for 17 health conditions has been legalized in May 2016. Data pulled from patients exhibiting symptoms of chronic pain and epilepsy showed that the patients experienced fast recovery with almost no side effects, deeming the use of medical marijuana highly efficient. Furthermore, in states where such form of treatment has been accepted, the use of addictive painkillers dropped significantly while saving money on prescription drug costs, at the same time.
On the other hand, the use of cannabis still remains illegal under federal law, forcing patients to pay for the treatment out of their own pockets, since insurance companies do not cover marijuana medication, and slowing further research.
A general conception is that medical marijuana is safer than other pharmaceuticals because it is a natural form of medication, says Dr. Trescher. However, this is completely erroneous, he adds. Furthermore, he says that the original aim of the pharmaceutical industry was to study compounds in plants in order to determine which were beneficial to treat certain conditions. Even though he believes that cannabis has some beneficial chemicals, he also points out to the rest of potentially harmful compounds that researchers might have overlooked.
“They are still chemicals, and chemicals can have side effects”, says Dr. Bill Trescher.
A team of researchers analyzed an online survey and found that out of the 5,000 unique responses, most people who reported feeling better after undergoing medical marijuana treatment were individuals exhibiting symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and epilepsy. As a result, health officials believe that if cannabis is ever going to be used as a standalone form of medication sometime in the future, PTSD and chronic pain patients are expected to constitute the largest markets for medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.
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