I have had multiple sclerosis since 1993, and very recently developed fibromyalgia after a fall that damaged my cervical muscles and nerves.
Over a year ago, I started using cannabis (the correct name for the herb now known as "medical marijuana") in the form of a glycerite, i.e., vegetable glycerin in which the active ingredients of the herb are dissolved. When this is processed at under 300 degrees, it is not psychoactive. I stopped using all my prescription medications because of the horrible side effects, and by using something I can legally grow (I'm in California) I've saved more than $300 a month on the cost of my co-pays alone for the prescription drugs.
An MRI showed no increased progression of the MS, so it's working better than the prescription medications because (1) costs less, and (2) no side effects (a BIG benefit).
Earlier this year, I went to a conference on medical marijuana and learned how people are taking the leaves of the plant (leaves are not the part people smoke, which is the flowers) and juicing them in a wheat grass juicer and drinking the juice and getting better from things like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
This all makes sense when you know that, in 2004, the U.S. Government became the assignee of the U.S. Patent on cannabinoids as anti-oxidants and neuro-protectants, and this patent says cannabinoids are good for treating auto-immune diseases, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, stroke, HIV and AIDS and more.
Guess why cannabis is called cannabis? Because it has at least 61 different cannabinoids. Guess why cannabis is good medicine? Because your body makes cannabinoids, and if something goes wrong and you have a deficiency, plant cannabinoids can take the place of animal cannabinoids, just like plant estrogens can fill in for human estrogens.)
My fibromyalgia seems to be improving, slowly, since I added drinking leaf juice. When the pain was really bad at the beginning, smoking marijuana also helped, although I prefer to use a vaporizer rather than smoking. I know someone else who's had fibromyalgia for awhile, and she smokes regularly to ease the pain (it's legal in California).
I saw somewhere on this site that some doctor wants to see prescription medication take the place of cannabis the herb. I can tell you that no prescription medication will ever take the place of whole, herbal cannabis, at least not in 20 years or more.
That is because cannabis contains MORE compounds than cannabinoids, which also have medicinal qualities: things like terpenes and flavenoids. So, when you multiply the variations available based on all those compounds, as well as on varying proportions of them, you realize that you can get plants that can each have beneficial effects for different diseases.
Everyone thinks that there is just one, fungible "marijuana," which is like thinking there is just one, fungible tomato or rose. Instead, just as there are hundreds of different heirloom tomatoes and all kinds of roses,there are hundreds and hundreds of kinds of marijuana strains, and some are already known as better than other for different diseases. For example, "Black Domina" is considered to be really good for treating Parkinson's Disease.
I have even met people who are trying to breed special cannabis strains to treat a family member's illness, sort of like what the parents in that movie, "Lorenzo's Oil" were trying to do by creating a specific medicine for their son's rare disease.
If anyone else is interested in this stuff, you can order a DVD of the conference I attended on January 22, 2011 in Orange County California. It's available at cbdconference.org for $19.95.
It's the whole conference on the DVD, but the only two parts I thought were really useful for me or anyone who is sick and wants information on possible treatments were the discussion by Dr. William Courtney and Kristen Peskuski (that involved the juicing and a lot more)and a discussion by a man who treated his wife's debilitating combination of IBS and Crohn's Disease with an old-fashioned remedy of cannabis slow-cooked in milk (he used goat's milk). That was really interesting, too!
I am so glad I found out about trying cannabis and that it worked that I try to tell other people that it MIGHT help them, too. Everyone should investigate all this stuff for themselves; I did a lot of research and listened to a lot of patients at meetings before I gave it a try, so you should research, too.
And don't forget that (1) you have an endocannabinoid system (which was discovered in the 1990's); (2) your own body makes cannabinoids; (3) what a body makes, it can stop making: (4) the U.S. Government took out a patent on cannabinoids; (5) the U.S. Government can make money by licensing the rights to use cannabinoids in pharmaceutical drugs, but it can't patent (or license) cannabis as a plant; and (6) Big Pharma can't make money off people who can legally use cannabis as an herb instead of having to buy prescription medications.
See why it's been so important for the U.S. Government to try to keep "marijuana" (really cannabis) illegal? (And I haven't even mentioned how whole herbal cannabis is the cure for and preventative of cancer, from which at least 40 percent of Big Pharma's profits come. For more on that, Google "Run from the Cure" documentary and also Google "THC autophagy glioblastoma Spain" and remember, in both the above examples, it was whole herbal cannabis, not some one compound from the natural plant, that worked!)