Do Potential Health Benefits For Chronic Kidney Disease Patients Using Marijuana Outweigh Costs?

"I have started Dialysis and I am on the Kidney Transplant waiting list. Rather than taking pain killers and anxiety medications, I am considering utilizing Medicinal Marijuana," a viewer wrote. "However, I wanted to know what you think. Do you guys have any suggestions?"

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This is a good question because many Chronic Kidney Disease patients, especially those on Dialysis, are constantly looking for solutions to relieve their chronic pain, stress, anxiety, insomnia, loss of appetite and more. While more states are legalizing the use of Marijuana for medicinal purposes, Chronic Kidney Disease is not listed as a condition that qualifies for Medical Marijuana use. Still, Dialysis patients who suffer the above listed effects of their Chronic Kidney Disease may qualify for a Medical Marijuana Card upon their Nephrologists' recommendations.  

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As many Chronic Kidney Disease patients already know, if they live in a state where Medical Marijuana is legal and their Nephorologists think it would help, then they will be put on a list that allows them to buy marijuana from an authorized seller, called a Dispensary. Medical marijuana may be smoked, vaporized (heated until active ingredients are released, but no smoke is formed), eaten (usually in the form of cookies or candy), or taken as a liquid extract. However it is consumed, according to Pharmacologist, Laura Borgelt (University of Colorado), "Your body already makes marijuana-like chemicals that affect pain, inflammation, and many other processes. Marijuana can sometimes help those natural chemicals work better."

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Given all of the benefits associated with Medically Prescribed Marijuana, one large drawback of using Medicinal Marijuana for many Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients specifically is the fact that in almost every case, it disqualifies them from receiving a Kidney Transplant. Yes, Transplant Centers typically define the use of Marijuana as "substance abuse" which is grounds for Chronic Kidney Disease patients being "delisted."

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To re-qualify for the waiting list, patients must take drug counseling and test negative for marijuana for six months. Even then they are added to the bottom of the list. 

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Huffington Post previously reported that Toni Trujillo, a Medical Marijuana patient in Los Angeles, was removed from the Kidney Transplant list at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The second patient at the time to be removed from the Kidney Transplant Center's Transplant Waiting list due to medical marijuana use, the article continued, "In April, after waiting for a transplant for six years, she learned she had been delisted for substance abuse." 

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Also, WebMD noted that, "Medical Marijuana is not monitored like FDA-approved medicines. When using it, you don’t know its potential to cause cancer, its purity, potency, or side effects." They recommend those with Heart Disease in particular do not use the drug.  Hence, if you are considering this medicinal option, then check with your Nephrologists to ensure that Medical Marijuana is best for your unique circumstances. 

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Moreover, share your opinion with the over 15,800 KidneyBuzz.com Facebook Fan Page friends! We all value YOUR opinion and invite you to join the discussion. Is it fair that Toni Trujillo and others are booted off of the Kidney Transplant Waiting List based on their use of Medicinal Marijuana? Would you ever consider using the substance in an attempt to improve your health outcomes? Also, visit KidneyBuzz.com every day for the latest Breaking News and Information which teaches those with Chronic Kidney Disease how to better manage and improve their lives. 

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References:

"Can I Get a Medical Marijuana Card for Chronic Kidney Disease?"Http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com. Jackalope Ranch.

Graves, Lucia. "Medical Marijuana Patient At Cedars-Sinai Denied Kidney Transplant." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com.

Feature, Anne HardingWebMD. "Medical Marijuana Treatment Uses and How It Works." Http://www.webmd.com. WebMD.