An overview of the science behind medical marijuana, its uses and limitations: Part 1

Nov 17, 2023 | 0 comments

Author’s note: The is the first of a multi-part series about medical marijuana.

By Garnett Stewart

My elder brother truly embraced the 1960s. I was a 70s girl. He used drugs, and I witnessed firsthand the impacts of cocaine, amphetamine, marijuana, and even LSD. The fact that I was repulsed by what had occurred in my brother’s life probably confirmed my medical career pathway. I would have interviewed him for his personal history, but he died a couple of decades ago.

Back then, the grower’s location determined the plant styles, and the names of the plants typically reflected that information. One particularly powerful marijuana variety used for amusement was called Mau-e Wow-e. At the age of 14, I started studying medicine, and by the time I was 19, I was working as a nurse in Texas. My degree and master’s degrees came later. My brother and I went to Woodstock in New York from Texas, and it was there that I got my first high — albeit from secondhand smoking.  For a little girl, Woodstock was quite an education. It really was!

The medical community disapproved of the notion that marijuana may have any advantages in the 1970s. I’ve heard statements like “stoners never amount to anything” and “gateway drug to heroine.”  The hippies propagated extreme anti-government propaganda and anti-war sentiments, and its leaders were marijuana users. Once more, the knowledge I gained in the 1970s changed my extremely conservative outlook to one that is more adaptable and open-minded. My religious upbringing was against the use of marijuana as a medicine. My colleagues would not discuss it.

I underwent random drug tests at work and spent decades working as a sober nurse. In the 1970s, the only medical institution in the country to discuss marijuana use was M.D. Anderson in Houston. The hospital was full of the acrid marijuana smell. I first witnessed the usage of medicinal marijuana at M.D. Anderson to treat the terrible side effects of chemotherapy and the devastating impacts of cancer.

Three generations later, I was studying medicinal marijuana in Denver, Colorado, with Colorado’s biomedical engineers, who are renowned for developing marijuana strands for certain ailments and applications. For those of you who have never seen anything like this, the warehouse was 3 acres of plants growing under lamps for harvest and use but only medical and not recreational marijuana. Just entering the field, I got that second had high again.

I started working with the medical director of a large hospital who had retired to engage in the marijuana industry after receiving a doctor’s prescription for fifteen plants. I did not understand what 15 plants meant. He physically assessed me and took a history of my suffering. The fact that I was interacting with a board-certified physician who switched from industrial medicine to the cannabis industry intrigued me. I attended many seminars regarding medical marijuana and got to know a few other marijuana nurses. I was on the verge of diving off the edge into marijuana nursing, but I changed my mind. The federal government of the United States prohibits it. I was afraid that my employment and title would be attached to the inquiry by the Federal Bureau of inquiry, preventing me from moving abroad. After all, criminals are not welcome as immigrants in Ecuador.

Why the narrative? My close friend was a part of a drug study of marijuana plants. After taking an excessive amount of natural plant gel, she went from being paralyzed in excruciating agony to performing fan kicks akin to a Rockette. Simultaneously, I witnessed the Colorado baby who had status epilepticus overcome those continuous convulsions. This was a medical transformation! It was the talk of Colorado.

As a devout lady, let me state that I have faith in my Holy Father to provide for all of us with wonderful things in life.  Furthermore, marijuana is a plant that exists on Earth.

As an advanced practice nurse and scientist, I nearly abandoned my work when I developed an interest in the marijuana industry. I was about to move to marijuana care but there was no return possible. marijuana is a very safe and incredibly effective substance when used properly. However, where do you find trustworthy information? Well, it appears that access to published marijuana publications is improving.  Because we had no other resources, our drug dealers used to be the ones who gave us advice. It is rare that I find a seller that is knowledgeable. Luckily, I have one here in Ecuador.

Cannabis is a huge industry, and research and development of illness-specific medicinal strands are underway. In Denver’s biomedical engineering warehouse, I found threads for a plethora of chronic illnesses, including epilepsy, strokes, heart disease, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, lupus, COPD, cancer, and arthritis.

In medicine, if something is broken, it should be fixed well!  Traumatic injuries are now recoverable. However, in the field of chronic medicine, contemporary medicine is extremely lacking! Although we know what causes cancer, there is still no cure. We address the symptoms of chronic inflammatory disorders because we understand their causes. The remedies are where? We have a higher per cent of the population suffering from chronic illnesses and doctors’ do not speak cure. Only control maybe?

My second personal view, which I know many of you will disagree with, is that since medicine is a business, we do not heal. Because it is our daily bread, we treat the symptoms and continue the ailments.

In this series, I will be providing an in-depth, well-researched explanation of how marijuana may effectively treat chronic pain and diseases in my next article. We refer to it as adjunct or supplementary treatment. If you use medicinal marijuana in the United States, your physicians cannot talk about changing your medications.

Fortunately, the ban is being lifted. Perhaps you are unaware of how serious this is for U.S. doctors? The medical board has the authority to revoke a license if there is a complaint that the vitamin your doctor prescribed is not FDA-approved. Can you imagine! Why would a physician risk losing their license in exchange for a vitamin?

Because ester vitamin C was now authorized, Dr. Denton Cooley and I danced down the corridors of THI in 1983, laughing and frolicking. I was the provider who could talk to our large patient base about “alternative” medications prior to that approval. It was a valuable role and an extra duty that I gladly performed as none of my doctors could safely talk about alternative medicine.

I wanted to let you know that I have just recently —and here in Ecuador— began using medical marijuana. No, I don’t smoke. However, I will go over the benefits and drawbacks of marijuana use in this series.

I take a cheap THC CBD oil multiple times a day in the form of drops. I don’t want to get high. I’m looking for chronic sickness alleviation. I was very weak on stairs months ago. I had every “itis” you could imagine!  “Itis” means inflammation, and I had bursitis, tendonitis, arthritis, and synovitis.

This is how the droplets function chemically! The pH of the inflammatory process is acidic. The body battles the acidic pH all the time due to the free radicals produced during inflammatory processes. Therefore, more free radicals are produced in an attempt to combat the inflammation. And so, it goes on and on.

My physicians address this vicious cycle symptomatically by prescribing painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs. As a result, drugs have been overused to treat ailments caused by “itis.” To not heal! The body’s chemistry is changed by marijuana to a basic or alkaline pH. The “itis” problems can go away if the body’s circumstances are changed to a more alkaline state.  A vital aspect of health is the body’s transition from an acidic to an alkaline state.

However, I have one question for every one of you: When was the last time a doctor advised you to alkalize your body? Never, not a single time, right?

I’ll concentrate on marijuana as one effective method of eliminating the body’s acidic conditions, though there are many more options. It’s not the only option, but given its low cost, it’s worth considering. The alkalizing of water may be quite expensive. Alkalizing drinks, such apple cider vinegar, can be consumed. There are other approaches.  I believe using many approaches is a wise decision. However, in the pieces that follow, we’ll be concentrating on marijuana.

Permanent resident Garnett Stewart lives in Cuenca, Ecuador. She is a retired Adult Medicine Nurse Practitioner who specialized in Cardiology and Cardiovascular Surgery and wrote numerous publications. Her nursing degrees are both Bachelors and Masters. Biochemistry and biophysics were her undergraduate majors. Contact her at


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