Marijuana is a very popular herb that is smoked or ingested by many people for euphoric sensation. It has been abused by a lot of people and hence termed illegal in many places. However, marijuana can be used to benefit your overall and well being. Such marijuana is called medical marijuana. What is medical marijuana? What are the health benefits and medical uses of medical marijuana? And are they any side effects of using medical marijuana? It is important that you know the answers to these questions because it is a widely debated topic.
Medical marijuana, also called medical cannabis are dried buds of cannabis, which are used medically. They are cannabinoids, prescribed by doctors for medical therapy. The cannabis plant contains over 400 chemicals out of which 70 are cannabinoids. The number of chemicals in cannabis has made it difficult to study.
There are two main
cannabinoids in marijuana that
researchers and government officials believe have medicinal properties.
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These are cannabidiol (CBD) which has effects the brain and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which has pain relieving and other useful medical applications.
Cannabis has been widely used for recreational purposes and it’s medical usage is controversial, because it’s production has been restricted by governments. Because of these restrictions the use of cannabis as a medicine has not been meticulously studied or tested. However some countries and states have legalized cannabis production and have reported it has a lot of medical uses. So what are scientifically proven health benefits of medical marijuana? You’ll find out shortly.
Medical uses of medical marijuana
Do you know that only 6% of studies with medical marijuana are aimed at determining it’s medical uses.
Although there is limited scientific evidence, there are few proven medical uses of medical marijuana.
1. Treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
Chemotherapy treatment is associated with adverse effects such as nausea and vomiting, called chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV).
A systematic review of the published literature as of
2001 evaluated 30 trials and over 1300 patients. The review concluded that cannabinoids such as nabilone, dronabinol etc. were more effective than
conventional anti-emetics such as prochlorperazine, promethazine, and metaclompramide in treating acute CINV. However CINV treatment with cannabis is seldom used because it has side effects like dizziness and dysphoria.
2. Treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder
Medical marijuana has been shown to benefit people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In fact, in New Mexico, PTSD treatment is a major reason why medical marijuana is used. Cannabinoids, like THC, help regulate the nervous system in ths brain. It suppresses feelings of fear and anxiety in the body and brain.
3. Treatment of glaucoma
Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve, caused by increased intraocular pressure. The National Eye Institute reported that smoking of marijuana can reduce intraocular pressure in the eye. Hence, marijuana has been widely discussed as an alternative treatment for treating glaucoma. But there are some pitfalls to using medical marijuana as a form of treatment. First, its action is short and lasts for 3 to 4 hours only. Second, it’s effects on your mood prevents you from driving or working. Finally, it also reduces blood pressure, which in turn reduces blood supply to the optic nerve. It is not recommended for long term clinical use.
4. Treatment of chronic pain
A study in 2011, showed that cannabis is effective in the treatment of chronic pain caused by multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, neuropathy and rheumatoid arthritis. Recent reviews have proved that cannabinoids
were effective for treating chronic pain. Another study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal
suggested that medical marijuana is a reliable method of treating the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
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5. Prevention of epileptic seizures
In 2003, a study by Robert J. DeLorenzo, of Virginia
Commonwealth University, showed that medical cannabis was able to rid epileptic rats of the seizures for up to 10 hours.
THC, a cannabinoid, does this by binding to
the areas in the brain responsible for
controlling excitability and stimulating relaxation.
Another amazing evidence came to light in 2013 when Charlotte Figi, then an eight year old, who suffered from a rare form of epilepsy was documented. Medical marijuana treatment was able to drastically reduce her seizures from 300 a week to just once a week.
Side effects of using medical marijuana
Common side effects that result from use or long term use marijuana includes:
• Decreased concentration levels and dizziness
• Short-term memory loss
• Decreased sex drive in some people.
• Irritation to the lungs, risk of developing
chronic bronchitis and lung cancer.
• Dependence and addiction to cannabis.
Pregnant women and people with heart diseases are to avoid marijuana.
You can get healthy hemp oil as an alternative.
Thanks for reading.