There are two texts I recommend on this topic: The Green Pharmacy (updated in 2009) and the Mayo Clinic Book of Alternative Medicine.
The Green Pharmacy auther, James A. Duke is one of the world's leading experts on healing herbs. He had a thirty-year career as a botanist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, specializing in medicinal plants. He covers both standardized (store-bought) medicinal herbs and foraging for wild medicinals. The book's index contains 34 pages of plants. In Part Two of the book, "Choosing the Herbs that Heal," he covers ailments from Aging (yes, you could call that an ailment) and Allergies to Wrinkles and Yeast Infections.
The Mayo Clinic book is a serious study of a topic that is too often relegated to a back room. One review by a physician calls it a "great starting point for patients." I just have a lot of respect for everything the Mayo Clinic puts out.
Both of these books are available in inexpensive paperback editions from Amazon (www.Amazon.com ).
Caveat:This is another of those areas where we have to be vigilant of scams. A good reference to help avoid these is "QuackWatch," a web site maintained by Dr. Stephen Barrett (www.quackwatch.com).
Chronic pain relief.
Most medical researchers now agree that marijuana does in fact have medicinal benefits for chronic pain sufferers.
Eighteen states now permit medical use of marijuana with a doctor's prescription. These are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. In fact, Washington and Colorado, became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana (in limited quantities) in 2012, for anyone over the age of 21.
The best way to grow medical marijuana is hydroponically, indoors. Only one or two plants are needed to provide enough medicine for one individual for several months. It is possible to realize three harvests each year. Plants can be started from either clones or seeds. These can be obtained from another grower. Also, seeds can be purchased over the Internet from various Canadian web sites.
The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods: Proven Natural Remedies to Treat and Prevent More Than 80 Common Health Concerns by James A. Duke, Ph.D.
Mayo Clinic Book of Alternative Medicine: The New Approach to Using the Best of Natural Therapies and Conventional Medicine (Mayo Clinic, Book of Alternative Medicine) by Mayo Clinic