"People who are healthy should not be depriving people who have diseases and have no other treatment modalities to use," says Dr. Nagarkatti. "Let them use the marijuana plant that was given to them by Mother Nature, so that they don't suffer from these debilitating diseases."
Dr. Nagarkatti and his team study compounds called "cannabinoids," which are derived from marijuana plants. Cannabinoids are also produced by the human body to regulate the immune system. Nagarkatti's research has shown that when someone has a cannabinoid deficiency, autoimmune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis are more likely to develop. He says these diseases can be treated by introducing cannabinoids from the marijuana plant.
Recent research has shown that cannabinoid treatment is also less harmful to the body than current treatments for autoimmune diseases.
"The drugs that are available in the market destroy your bone marrow. Bone marrow gives rise to bone marrow stem cells, all the cells of the immune system, and red blood cells. So if you don't have bone marrow, you can't even make new blood in your body. What we have been able to show is that cannabinoids are not toxic to bone marrow. The bone marrow can keep on regenerating healthy immune cells and red blood cells," says Dr. Nagarkatti.
Nagarkatti spoke on March 8 to the Senate Medical Affairs Committee, which is in charge of the current medical marijuana bill. He urged them to pass the bill, showing them the results of his research.
Nagarkatti's team is a world leader in medical marijuana treatment, but their progress is hindered because they cannot study the whole plant. If the current medical marijuana bill passes into law, they will be able to expand their research and continue to make their mark on the global research community.