People have been self-medicating with cannabis for centuries. They smoked it, ate it, and rubbed it on. And, throughout this time, there has not been adequate serious research on the efficacy of the plants secrets on various medical conditions.
However, you do have a growing volume of anecdotal evidence, an increasing amount of in vitro research, and now a growing body of work on humans. Allbud recently offered a list of medical conditions treated with cannabis. While it dealt with better known health problems, it was not exhaustive.
Here are ten more medical conditions (in alphabetical order) towards completing a list of cannabis health benefits:
- Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS/HIV) has caused 36 million deaths in its spread since the 1980s. Typical symptoms of the illness and its treatment include appetite loss, depression, nausea, and peripheral neuropathy. Cannabis-derived options —from smoking to edibles—has a track record of analgesic and antiemetic effects allowing patients to improve their quality of life.
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a progressively incapacitating and eventually fatal neurodegenerative condition. Research reported by ALS News Today says, “According to a single observational study of patients with ALS, only the 10 percent who admitted consuming cannabis revealed moderate relief of several symptoms, including appetite loss, depression, pain and drooling… In addition, spasticity is also a major problem for ALS patients, which reported that cannabis can subjectively improve spasticity.”
- Arnold-Chiari malformation (CM) describes the descent of the cerebellar tonsils through the largest opening at the base of the skull into the upper neck region. This causes pressure on the brainstem and cerebellum and blocks the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Experience shows marijuana relieving CM symptoms like chronic pain, depression, insomnia, migraines, and spasticity.
- Cachexia/Wasting Syndrome describes the weight loss and deterioration attached to cancer, Chron’s disease, congestive heart disease, COPD, cystic fibrosis, HIV/AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, tuberculosis, and more. Cannabinoids reputedly stimulate appetite, both historically and in recent studies of human volunteers and AIDS patients. American Society of Clinical Oncology (2006) reports on studies that determined patients with cancer-related anorexia-cachexia benefited from fixed doses of THC daily.
- Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP) identifies the inflammation of nerve roots and peripheral nerves leading to destruction of the fatty protective covering (myelin sheath) over the nerves. Academic research published in the Journal of Pain concluded, “as cannabis has analgesic efficacy with the low dose being, for all intents and purposes, as effective a pain reliever as the medium dose. Psychoactive effects were minimal and well-tolerated, and neuropsychological effects were of limited duration and readily reversible within 1–2 hours. Vaporized cannabis, even at low doses, may present an effective option for patients with treatment-resistant neuropathic pain.”
- Causalgia is the severe burning pain in the hand or foot following peripheral nerve injury. Any external stimuli or even the emotions can trigger the sensation. Even morphine may not reduce the pain, but high levels of THC daily may offer hope for eliminating the pain and related psychological effects.
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome I and II (CRPS) or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) are difficult to diagnose and treat. They produce a severe and continuing pain that gets worse in time. Symptoms include sensitivity, swelling, and changes to the skin. Over one third of patients report pain throughout their bodies. Several researched studies have found, “cannabis might be more effective at relieving the pain associated with CRPS-I than opioid medications, including morphine. When the nerves are damaged, the receptors that respond to morphine tend to disappear, making the medication ineffective.”
- Fibromyalgia afflicts more women than men with widespread musculoskeletal pain. Other symptoms include fatigue, sleep, memory, mood issues, tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, and depression. Tests on humans using Nabilone (a cannabis-derived pharmaceutical) study showing that one such compound, nabilone (Cesamet), helped fibromyalgia patients with pan and insomnia. Canadian researchers concluded, “It was more effective than amitriptyline, a tricyclic antidepressant often prescribed to fibromyalgia patients to ease pain and improve sleep.”
- Fibrous dysplasia is a genetic bone disorder marked by scar-like (fibrous) tissue developing in place of normal bone. This irregular tissue can weaken the affected bone and cause it to deform or fracture. The condition weakens one or more bones and makes them vulnerable to easy and frequent fracture, especially among children. Cannabis-derived medical marijuana and pharmaceuticals have successfully treated the radiating pain, weakness and stiffness, and the nausea, diarrhea, and loss of appetite linked with the condition.
- Hepatitis C (HCV), an auto-immune viral infection, remains unknown and silent for a long time before its damage to the liver starts to manifest itself. Marijuana does not treat or cure damaged liver or cirrhosis of the liver, but it will reduce associated pain, depression, and vomiting.
And, there are more!
FDA and DEA restrictions directly and indirectly limit the deep and lengthy research required to find, test, and prove the any the efficacy of any cannabis form in treatment of human medical problems. Research is permitted at only a few institutions. Cannabis resources for testing are restricted to a small number of locations. And, the restrictions discourage capital investment in the lengthy approval process.
So, we have an awkward situation where the best research is going on in Israel and Great Britain. Yet, the states approving legalization of at least medical marijuana have been convinced of its value in treating so may conditions and more. We are still trying to complete that list of cannabis health benefits, but the list keeps getting longer. If the self-medicating works, there might just be something to it!