Can Cannabis Treat TB?
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The disease Tuberculosis was rare in developed countries, but infection rates began increasing in 1985, partly because of the emergence of HIV. However, because of stronger control programs, TB rates began to decrease in the United States in the early 1990s although it is still a concern today.
What is TB?
Tuberculosis (TB) is a potentially serious infectious disease that mainly affects the lungs.  The bacteria that cause tuberculosis can be spread from person to person through tiny droplets that coughs and sneezes put into the air. Once you have inhaled the bacterium, it lodges in the lung tissue and begins to grow if the immune system cannot fight off the infection.
Healthy people may contract TB, but the disease may not become active until months or years later. TB usually develops when the immune system is weakened, so those who have a weak immune system are more likely to develop active TB right away. In some instances, TB may develop within days of the initial infection.
When the disease becomes active, it means TB bacteria are multiplying and attacking the lungs or other parts of the body, such as the brain, bones, spine, lymph nodes, kidney, and even the skin. From the lungs, TB bacteria can move through the blood or lymphatic system to different areas of the body.
Since the body can harbor the bacteria that cause tuberculosis (TB), your immune system usually can prevent you from becoming sick. For this reason, doctors make a distinction between:
- Latent TB: This is when a person has a TB infection but the bacteria remains in the body in an inactive state, causing no symptoms. An estimated 2 billion people have latent TB. Latent TB, also called inactive TB, is not contagious. It can turn into active TB, making treatment important for the person with latent TB and to help control the spread of TB.
- Active TB: This condition makes one sick and can spread to others. It can occur in the first few weeks after infection, or it might occur years later
Who is at risk?
The chances of getting tuberculosis are highest for those that are in close contact with others who are infected. This includes:
- Family and friends.
- People from parts of the world with high TB rates, such as India and parts of Asia and Africa.
- People in groups with high rates of TB transmission, like people who are HIV positive, the homeless, and injection drug users.
- Those who work or reside in facilities that house high risk people such as hospitals, nursing homes, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, and residential homes for those with HIV.
People at the highest risk for developing active TB disease are those with a weak immune system, including:
- Babies and young children
- Organ transplant recipients
- People with chronic conditions
- People diagnosed with HIV/AIDS
- Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy
- People receiving certain treatments for autoimmune disorders
Latent Tuberculosis causes no signs or symptoms. Signs and symptoms of active TB include:
- Coughing that lasts three or more weeks
- Coughing up blood
- Chest pain, or pain with breathing or coughing
- Unintentional weight loss
- Night sweats
- Loss of appetite
When TB occurs outside your lungs, signs and symptoms vary according to the organs involved. For example, tuberculosis in your kidneys might cause blood in your urine, or TB of the spine can cause back pain.
The History of Marijuana and Tuberculosis
Use of marijuana as a treatment for tuberculosis was first recorded in India and was well-known by the time of the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission of 1893-1894. The Commission listened to testimonies of cannabis use to treat tuberculosis, as well as a wide range of other conditions, from both Indian and Western doctors, suggesting this was also known in contemporary European medicine. 
Years later, in 1955, a Czechoslovakian tuberculosis nutrition study stated hemp seed cured tuberculosis.  After more than 30 years of studying hemp seed, it was found that a diet high in protein can help treat tuberculosis successfully. Since hemp seed has edestin protein it is easily digested and is similar to human-produced globulin, making it the best protein to treat TB.
Another study in the 1960s found marijuana resin inhibited TB bacteria growth successfully. It showed that CBD’s antimicrobial characteristics were helpful and effective for tuberculosis treatment.
In 2013, the African Journal of Traditional Complementary and Alternative Medicine reported on the healing properties of medical cannabis in the treatment of TB. Additionally, a research article in 2016 named “The cannabinoid 2 receptor agonist β-caryophyllene modulates the inflammatory reaction induced by Mycobacterium bovis BCG by inhibiting neutrophil migration” highlights how specific properties of the cannabis plant fight off bacteria and infection related to tuberculosis. 
Which Symptoms of Tuberculosis Can Medical Marijuana Help?
While there has not been enough research conducted to effectively treat tuberculosis with cannabis, there are ways it can help one manage their symptoms caused by TB.
Cannabis and tuberculosis treatment can be effective for a range of TB symptoms, including:
- Chest pain or pain when coughing or breathing
- Treatment-induced nausea
- Unintentional weight loss
- Loss of appetite
Getting a Florida Medical Marijuana Card
Overall the process of obtaining a medical marijuana card in Florida is quite simple as long as you meet the following requirements:
- Be a permanent or seasonal Florida resident
- Be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition by a qualified physician
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to the others listed.
- A terminal condition diagnosed by a physician other than the qualified physician issuing the physician certification.
- Chronic nonmalignant pain caused by a qualifying medical condition or that originates from a qualifying medical condition and persists beyond the usual course of that qualifying medical condition.
- Be entered into the Medical Marijuana Use Registry
- Obtain a Medical Marijuana Use Registry Identification Card
If you think that you or a loved one could benefit from the many uses of medical marijuana, take this quick survey to get started. Florida has a variety of cannabis products, from the traditional smokable flower to transdermal patches, to edible chocolates and gummies, and everything in between. The compassionate team of Florida Medical Marijuana Doctors at DocMJ can help you find the regimen that helps improve your life and allows you to live life the way you deserve.