Ganja is good; don't marginalise it - Dr Vendryes
Dr Anthony Vendryes, a strong advocate for holistic medical treatment, says it would be intellectually dishonest for medical doctors to turn their backs on cannabis, given the overwhelming evidence of its medical virtues.
"There is a resistance, particularly here in Jamaica, where there is so much prejudice against cannabis, "said Vendryes. "There is, understandably, a resistance, but the mounting medical evidence has been so overwhelming and powerful that it would be intellectually dishonest for the profession to turn its back."
He added: "I believe that the profession will be forced, even if they are unwilling, to pay special attention to medicinal cannabis."
He was speaking with The Gleaner following the Zimmer and Company Doctors' Breakfast in Montego Bay, last Sunday.
"Cannabis offers very useful ways to improve people's health and well-being, with minimal side effects, that we just can't ignore it," said Vendryes.
"Cannabis is an amazing plant with lots of medical benefits, so I am here encouraging and promoting its use to our doctors and clinicians for their patients and for themselves."
According to Vendryes, the human body produces its own form of cannabis called the endocannabinoid system, which regulates circulation, mental functioning, and the immune and digestive systems.
"The research has shown that the body already has a system based on cannabis, and a number of conditions appear to be due to a malfunction of this endocannabinoid system, so doing things to improve the balance and function of the endocannabinoid system can have a beneficial [impact on] many disorders," noted Vendryes.
"This is not something foreign to your body. It's actually helping your body to function better in areas where it has gone imbalanced, and so circulatory problems benefit from cannabis."
Vendryes further noted that cannabis is good for circulatory imbalance, anxiety, stress, and a lot of the things that would lead to preventing erectile dysfunction.
"Hypertension. Is cannabis good for hypertension?" asked Vendryes. "Yes, because it helps to deal with the things that cause hypertension in the first place - stress, anxiety, nutrition imbalances, poor blood-flow control."
Despite his strong advocacy, Vendryes said that cannabis is not a magic bullet and pointed out that there were several natural things that people could do to improve their endocannabinoid system, including a balanced diet, exercise, and getting adequate rest.
"Cannabis just seems tailor-made for cancer. It powerfully improves the immune system functions. It is critical in the fight against cancer," said Vendryes. "When it comes to cancer, which is perhaps the most awesome problem affecting our health these days, cannabis helps to improve things like appetite. Many people who suffer from cancer end up dying from malnutrition. They can't eat, so they deteriorate. Cannabis helps that."