Medical marijuana is one of those few topics capable of provoking a fiery debate among scientists, researches, doctors, policymakers and the general citizens. People are divided in opinion regarding the safety, benefits and the legality of cannabis. Should it be decriminalized and legal? Has it got proven benefits? Is it really the ‘wonder drug’ people are making it out to be? Keep reading to find out more.
What is medical marijuana?
To put it simply, medical marijuana makes use of the natural compounds in plants of the cannabis genus to treat a variety of conditions and diseases. The cannabis plants consist of over a hundred natural compounds called cannabinoids, each of which produces a distinct effect on the human body. However, there are two kinds of cannabinoids that are extensively used in medical cannabis namely tetrahydrocannabinol commonly known as THC and cannabidiol or CBD.
The difference between THC and CBD
While THC comes with a psychoactive effect, CBD offers anti-inflammatory effects. This is why THC is more associated with a mind and body high while CBD is generally meant for therapeutic uses. Marijuana strains or products that have a high percentage of THC are more suited for recreational use but those with a high percentage of CBD are meant for therapeutic uses. Although the therapeutic values of THC aren’t much talked about, recent researches have proved its efficacy in treating neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. According to these studies, THC is also capable of pain alleviation and can help improve the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
Which conditions can be treated by medical marijuana?
1. Prevents the cancer cells from spreading
As per a study published in the Molecular Cancer Therapeutics journal, medical cannabis can stop the cancer cells by neutralizing a gene called Id-1. Researchers of California Pacific Medical Centre in San Francisco have concluded that CBD might help in checking the spread of the cancer cells. Furthermore, the American Association for Cancer Research reported that cannabis can help in slackening the growth of brain tumor, lungs tumor and breast tumor.
2. Treats arthritis
The anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis make it a staple for patients of arthritis around the world. Sativex a cannabinoid-based pain killer and CBD oil works wonder on patients with rheumatoid arthritis who are known to have experienced a considerable reduction in pain as well as improved sleep.
3. Used on patients of epilepsy
Medical marijuana can greatly help in controlling and abating epilepsy seizures. THC helps to control seizures by binding the cells in the brain responsible for managing excitability and thereby promoting relaxation. More recent studies show that CBD can even help to curb the symptoms of treatment-resistant epilepsy. The use of cannabis for an epilepsy medication called Epidiolex is presently awaiting approval by FDA and once approved the billion-dollar cannabis industry will surely garner massive investment potential.
4. Dravet’s Syndrome
Medical marijuana is a very potent medication for reducing the symptoms of Dravet’s Syndrome- a severe seizure disorder. Marijuana-based experimental therapies particularly the medication Epidiolex has shown promising effects on patients of Dravet’s Syndrome. Presently there are over 40 children in the state of Florida who are undergoing cannabis-based therapies to keep the severe seizures at bay.
5. Prevent Alzheimer’s
As reported by researchers of the Scripps Research Institute, the THC present in medical marijuana can be used to delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. It blocks the enzyme in the brain cells thus slowing down the formation of amyloid plaques. These amyloid plaques destroy the brain cells which generally result in Alzheimer’s.
8. Parkinson’s Disease
Researches from Israel conducted extensive studies and experiments to prove that smoking cannabis can remarkably help in reducing the tremors and pains associated with Parkinson’s disease. The best part about cannabis medicine is that it improves fine motor skills and promotes deep sleep among Parkinson patients.
9. Multiple sclerosis
Researches by the Canadian Medical Association indicate that medical cannabis can be helpful in relieving the pain associated with multiple sclerosis. It controls the muscle spasms and negative neurological effects caused by MS.
10. Crohn’s disease
Medical marijuana is known to have cured Crohn’s disease which is basically a bowel disorder resulting in nausea, vomiting, pain, diarrhea, weight loss etc. A study by Israeli scientists came to the conclusion that smoking a joint every day can lower the symptoms of this disease in
10 out of 11 patients!
11. Hepatitis C
The treatment for Hepatitis C comes with plenty of excruciating side effects like fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, depression and muscle aches. A study published in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology suggested that a whopping 86% of patients using medical marijuana successfully completed the treatment. This is definitely due to the fact that cannabis intake results in lessening the side effects of the treatment.
12. Anxiety and depression
The non-psychoactive nature of CBD allows it to treat a range of anxiety and stress-related problems such as post traumatic stress disorder, panic issues, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression and substance abuse disorder. It acts as a sedative in low doses but a high dose of THC heavy strains can make one feel anxious and paranoid. This is why people with anxiety disorders often go for CBD medication.
13. Lowers the side-effects of chemotherapy
Patients undergoing chemotherapy have immensely benefited from the intake of medical marijuana which considerably lessens the painful side-effects like nausea, loss of appetite, severe pains and vomiting. In fact, there are various FDA approved high THC drugs which are meant to combat the side effects of chemotherapy.
14. Effective on patients with Lupus
Lupus is an autoimmune disorder where the body tends to attack itself for reasons which still aren’t clear to scientists. Medical marijuana helps to calm the immune system and helps the body to deal better with the symptoms of Lupus.
Our advice for patients is to be totally honest with your physician and tell them about your interest in cannabis therapy and the fact that you want to be educated about this alternative form of medication. Once you have found the right doctor, there are numerous Canadian weed stores to help you with choosing the perfect strain or cannabis product.