In the year 2001, there are still many people who doubt or dismiss reports of Cannabis' medical utility and safety. Nevertheless, one quick glance at Dr. Tod Mikuriya's International Classification of Diseases, (ICD) table shows the vast number of medical conditions that have been treated with Cannabis. Some investigators and researchers argue that including these conditions is not based on randomized and controlled clinical trials, but "self-reports" that are scientifically suspect.
The use of Cannabis as medicine has rarely been based on detailed clinical investigation of unique medical indications. It is, rather, a response by large numbers of people who gain significant symptomatic relief for a variety of sensory complaints by using Cannabis in many different forms. Suffering people, tired of using pharmaceuticals and medical treatments that not only bankrupt them but cause intolerable side effects, use Cannabis to assert a greater measure of control over their own lives.
The lack of investigation is largely the result of deliberate U.S. governmental policy that subtly controls what, if any, research is carried out. In this context, it is reasonable that the vast historical record carries more evidentiary weight than the meager (but increasing) clinical research body. It is also remarkable that millions of Americans continue to place themselves and their families at great personal risk to obtain and use Cannabis to treat their symptoms. They often do this against the advice of physicians who can not, or will not advise their patients to "do what they need to do". In this climate the risks to patients and family members attempting to secure Cannabis for medical use include arrest, prosecution and conviction by a legal system so blinded by law-and-order hyperbole that it will not see the destruction it causes to the lives of sick people. This continues all over America, even in states that have medical Cannabis legislation.
Patient reports of efficacy comprise the largest knowledge-base for physicians and nurses to use in evaluating Cannabis as a medical treatment. Patient experiences guide the treatment planning and provide the foundation for the "feedback loop" of reevaluation which medical professionals (should) continuously use. As nurses and doctors know, the patient is the expert about her/his particular symptoms and disease. Patients know when, how, where, and often why they suffer. No physician or nurse can appreciate this extraordinary level of knowledge based upon experience, unless they experience the condition.
The use of Cannabis as medicine has rarely been based on detailed clinical investigation of unique medical indications.
Suffering people...use Cannabis to assert a greater measure of control over their own lives.
The clinical research base into the medical indications of Cannabis is steadily expanding.
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