Cannabis sativa is one of the most widely used drugs in the world. Though it is still considered illegal in many countries, a few countries, including the United States, now acknowledge the potential benefits of legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational purposes.
Many people consider marijuana an effective treatment for many illnesses despite the lack of scientific knowledge about its effects. This article explores the medical benefits and risks of marijuana consumption.
What are the known medical benefits of cannabis?
Medical cannabis is widely used to relieve chronic pain in the United States. Chronic pain affects millions of adults worldwide and is one of the primary causes of disability among adults.
The reason behind medical cannabis as a pain control measure is that it is much safer than opiates, another drug that offers pain relief. MrHempFlower.com also stocks a wide range of THC-based edibles like gummies that patients can use to ease body pain.
Patients are less likely to overdose or acquire an addiction when using medical marijuana than opiate alternatives. Medical cannabis is particularly effective in easing nerve pain and discomfort arising from multiple sclerosis.
Other available options for treating multiple sclerosis pain include Neurontin and Lyrica; however, they are highly sedating. Medical marijuana offers pain relief while allowing patients to go about their normal activities.
Overcoming Alcoholism and Drug Addiction
A medical journal published by clinical psychology review revealed the potential use of marijuana in fighting alcoholism and drug dependency. Individuals with severe addictions to hard drugs like cocaine can turn to less harmful drugs like cannabis, a phenomenon known as harm reduction therapy when full abstinence is impossible.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is currently conducting more studies to assess the effectiveness of synthetic THC in overcoming methamphetamine addiction and relapse.
Cannabis Use in Overcoming Depression, Trauma, and Anxiety
For a long time, cannabis has been used in herbal medicine to help patients cope with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. Medical marijuana is quite popular among veterans returning from war zone areas who suffer from PTSD.
Some PTSD patients show significant improvement when using cannabis in PTSD therapy. However, the repeated use of medical cannabis can pose other problems to patients. There is always the risk of addiction and dependency after long-term use.
Use of Cannabis in Cancer Therapy
Recent medical studies point to the effectiveness of oral cannabinoids in overcoming nausea and vomiting that is common after chemotherapy sessions. Some patients who smoke cannabis tend to cope better during the post-chemotherapy recovery period.
Recent scientific studies show that THC and other cannabinoids can slow down malignant cell growth and even kill certain cancerous cells. Though medical cannabis is a safe treatment for cancer symptoms, so far, no evidence supports the use of marijuana as a cure for any type of cancer.
Cannabis Use in Epilepsy Treatment
In 2018, the food and drug administration (FDA) issued its approval to use cannabidiol medications in treating two severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and Dravet syndrome. These two types of epilepsy are treatable using Epidiolex, a CBD-based medication.
Patients who undergo the CBD-based treatment experience fewer seizures than those on alternative medications.
Risks of Marijuana Use
While marijuana has some health benefits, many studies report the negative impact of marijuana, especially after long-term use.
Daily cannabis consumption can worsen patients' mental health conditions with bipolar disorder. Regular cannabis users are more likely to harbor suicidal thoughts than non-marijuana users.
Frequent marijuana use also exposes users to a host of respiratory diseases. Long-term marijuana smoking can contribute to the development of lung cancer. Recreational use poses more risk than medicinal use because it involves higher dosage and frequent intake of the drug.
Though marijuana is effective for pain control and relieving anxiety, patients still need to consult their doctor to assess the appropriateness of marijuana in their treatment program. There is a need to conduct more scientific studies to determine the implications of growing marijuana use in public health.