How Medical Cannabis Can Help Chronic Pain

Zelda used to lecture her kids about marijuana. Now in her 80s, she's a staunch advocate of medical cannabis. We spoke to her at New York’s Hebrew Home at Riverdale nursing home.

There is still a huge stigma associated with marijuana as medicine

There are over 2.1 million medical marijuana patients in the United States according to Statista. Octogenarian Zelda Fessler is one of them. Marijuana contains the cannabinoids THC and CBD, chemicals that can reduce pain inflammation epileptic seizures based on data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It is being researched as an alternative pain reliever to narcotics and opioids, which can cause physical dependence and addiction. Fessler says there is still a huge stigma associated with marijuana as medicine.

“There is no high involved in this at all the cannabis itself is what takes care of the pain like the pit of the marijuana. It's incredible while I still take medication, it's the cannabis that is most important in my life. Medical cannabis came into my life about a year and a half ago. I have many things wrong with me. As a lot of people, I have something called bronchial calluses, which -- my left lung is full of mucus which has hardened like a marble wall, can never come out so it inhibits my breathing and causes me some not only discomfort but pain. Once I went on medical cannabis, I was able to reduce the amount of pharmaceutical medication was and which was really toxic. And what I thought was so painful while I was on it. The difference was so remarkable that I said, “OK, this is it.” It bothers me that medical people aren't intelligent enough to read it. They don't. A lot of doctors I found out don't read the current stuff enough,” CBD advocate Zelda tells Brut.

The use of cannabis for medicinal purposes dates back to Ancient China, Egypt, and Greece, but modern medical research on the effects of cannabis has been stifled in the U.S. since the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Fessler wants physicians to be more concerned with their patients’ wellbeing, and less with the politics.