For thousands of years, the Cannabis plant has been used by people throughout the world as a form of medicine. Although many people today use marijuana for recreational purposes, there has also been a recent uptick in looking for information on the medicinal uses of marijuana. It’s safe to say that with the legalization of marijuana across several states in the nation, people who use it recreationally may also be noticing the health benefits of marijuana and exploring this subject. However, prior to the legalization of recreational marijuana in states such as California, for example, it was medicinal marijuana that was first legalized. In this article, we provide a quick synopsis of medical marijuana and its health benefits of marijuana.
The most common question that people have is a basic one—what is medical marijuana? Medical marijuana is the term used for describing marijuana that is used to ease symptoms, relieve pain, and alleviate medical conditions. The medicinal properties of marijuana come from the active compounds found in the Cannabis plant, which are delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and to a larger extent, cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t cause a high sensation. In sum, although medical marijuana is essentially the same as recreational marijuana, it is intended and used for medical purposes.
How Does Marijuana Help?
Medical marijuana is recommended for patients who are suffering from a range of medical conditions and illnesses. According to the California Department of Public Health, for example, people who have the following conditions can obtain a medical marijuana identification card: anorexia, arthritis, AIDS, cachexia, cancer, chronic pain, glaucoma, migraine, severe nausea, persistent muscle spasms, and seizures. There is conclusive proof that cannabis helps to reduce chronic pain, nausea, vomiting, and spasticity. The many benefits of marijuana include:
- Chronic Pain
In the United States, chronic pain is the leading cause of disability and it has affected over 25 million adults. A study conducted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, observed that cannabis and products containing cannabinoids are highly effective when it comes to relieving chronic pain.
- Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Social Anxiety
A review published in Clinical Psychology Review found evidence supporting the use of cannabis to relieve depression and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. It also found that the use of cannabis can help reduce the symptoms of social anxiety. It is not, however, a good option for other mental health conditions like bipolar disorder and psychosis.
According to the CDC, while studies have not shown that cannabis can cure cancer, they have shown that it can manage the side effects of cancer and cancer therapies. There is enough evidence to prove that cannabinoids are highly effective against nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. While there is still only inconclusive evidence, some recent studies show that cannabinoids can slow growth and even kill some types of cancer cells.
It has been revealed that the short-term use of oral cannabinoids can help improve the symptoms of spasticity among individuals with multiple sclerosis.
The use of cannabinoids to treat epilepsy was approved by the Food and Drug Administration, FDA, in 2018. Medication containing cannabidiol can be used to treat two rare and severe forms of epilepsy. Those two are Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
What Are the Health Risks Of Cannabis?
While there are many health benefits associated with marijuana, it will be imprudent not to mention its negative effects. Just like any other medicine, marijuana can have negative effects if used incorrectly or too often. The constant and daily use of cannabis can worsen the existing symptoms of bipolar disorder among people with this mental health issue. Abusing marijuana can also likely increase the risk of psychosis like schizophrenia. Lastly, Smoking cannabis regularly is also linked to an increased risk of chronic cough.
There is more than enough evidence that states the good, the bad, and the ugly of marijuana. While it serves as a great medical resource if used with care, abusing it will do more harm than good. Always remember to consult with a medical professional if you have a serious condition! Although recreational and medical marijuana is legal in California, it is prudent to speak with a doctor before picking up a batch at a medical marijuana dispensary near you.