Massachusetts voters have approved the use of marijuana as medicine, a decision that has been hailed by mesothelioma patients and others suffering terminal or serious conditions.
Boston mesothelioma lawyers understand that the law, which makes Massachusetts the 18th in the country to permit medical marijuana use, allows patients to possess up to a two-month supply of the drug for their own personal medicinal use. The exact definition of a “two-month supply” has yet to be determined by the Department of Public Health. Patients and caregivers will need to register with the Health Department by submitting the physician’s certification.
In order to qualify to receive medicinal marijuana, patients would have to have a debilitating medical condition. This would include ailments such as mesothelioma and other cancers, HIV-positive status or AIDS, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, ALS, Parkinson’s disease or hepatitis C. He or she would also have to obtain a written certification from their doctor, indicating that the patient has a condition that is debilitating and would likely obtain some benefit from the use of medical marijuana.
We know that mesothelioma is a debilitating condition. In fact, it’s terminal. Marijuana is not a cure, but some sufferers in other states where medical marijuana is legal have attested to the fact that the drug can help to ease some of the symptoms.
Specifically, mesothelioma sufferers often undergo various painful surgeries, chemotherapy and other treatments to help prolong their lives. As a result, they often suffer from severe nausea, vomiting and weight loss.
Various studies have proven that marijuana quells nausea and helps stimulate appetite and promote weight gain.
It may also help to reduce anxiety, improve the quality of a patient’s sleep and provide some measure of pain relief.
A Harvard University study conducted in 2001 indicated that THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, reduced tumor growth in common lung cancer by 50 percent, and further reduced the spread of cancer. However, this study did not include mesothelioma patients, and there is no indication that marijuana actually slows the advance of this aggressive and rare form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Still, the relief it may bring for other symptoms could be enough for patients to at least try it.
Studies have shown there are more than 400 natural chemicals occurring in marijuana, including Vitamin A and steroids.
Because many patients who have asbestosis or mesothelioma have weak lungs and trouble breathing, consumption of marijuana in edible forms (as opposed to being smoked) is often preferable. This helps to avoid any further aggravation of the lung tissue.
Some of the different forms of edible marijuana include baking the plant into foods like brownies, cookies, chocolates or rice crispy treats. It can also be made into hard candies, teas and cold drinks. Different dispensaries may offer different options.
One concern with regard to the legalization is how state officials will seek to avert federal action, as marijuana possession and distribution is still illegal under federal law.
Typically, though, criminal sanctions have been pursued against dispensaries operators or those skirting state laws – not patients.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in New England, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
Massachusetts voters approve ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana, Nov. 6, 2012, By Chelsea Conaboy, Boston Globe
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