Despite proven versatility and resourcefulness as a treatment for scores of medical conditions, marijuana remains on the Federal Drug Administration’s short list of Schedule 1 compounds.
While it’s on that list, treating like an addictive drug, millions are denied the medical benefits confirmed by anecdote and science.
Remaining on that list limits the focused, large, and long-term research needed to clarify the role of cannabis in treating scores of mind and body conditions. So, you are left wanting proof that cannabis cures while it clearly relieves symptoms.
So, you’re left wondering if cannabis is a natural medical treatment.
Cannabis has over 100 compounds, but it is known for its CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Research has shown that each of these ingredients has different medicinal applications. THC excites the brain and neurological systems. And, CBD can affect Endocannabinoid System (ECS) relieving medical symptoms without the psychoactivity associated with THC.
Patients everywhere and an increasing number of medical professionals use cannabis to treat the following:
1. Treating Glaucoma: Glaucoma creates fluid pressure in the eye. As the pressure increases or remains untreated, the pressure will damage the optic nerve and lead to blindness. Smoking marijuana relieves the pressure for approximately four hours, so a search continues for a cannabis-derived pharmaceutical.
2. Reducing Nausea: Cannabis has anti-emetic properties reducing or eliminating nausea, especially in those treating for AIDS/HIV or undergoing chemotherapy. Even the FDA has approved the use of two cannabinoid derivatives — dronabinol and nabilone — for treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting not effectively treated by other means
3. Alleviating Nerve Pain: Cannabis has relieved the burning sensation from nerves damaged, inflamed, or affected by diabetes and AIDS. Patients with chronic neuropathic and peripheral nerve pain find help in cannabis therapy when they cannot find it in traditional regimens. The pain-relieving benefits extend to fibromyalgia, lupus, and similar autoimmune problems.
4. Treating Multiple Sclerosis: Cannabis has proven anti-spasmatic properties, and CBD has become a major go-to treatment option for those suffering from intractable epilepsy in adults and children. It relieves the spasms, muscle stiffness, and sleep disruption associated with MS and other involuntary muscle contractions. The need has produced a cannabis-derived medication in Sativex at G.W. Pharmaceuticals (U.K.).
5. Improving Lung Health: Inhaling any combustible comes with some risk. But, smoking cannabis has proven to be an effective way for smokers to wean off cigarette addiction. In fact, where tobacco smoke reduces lung capacity, cannabis appears to augment it because of the exertion involved in inhaling marijuana smoke.
6. Managing Cancer: Calling cannabis a cure for cancer is very premature. But, research on animals and in vitro indicate that cannabis may reduce the rate of growth in cancer cells and tumors and prevent metastasis. One study on human cancer patients in Israel, published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, concluded, “Cannabis use is perceived as highly effective by some patients with advanced cancer and its administration can be regulated, even by local authorities.”
7. Soothing Bowel Problems: Cannabis affects smooth muscle tissue like that present in the digestive processes. It has positive effects on Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Chron’s disease, diverticulitis, and ulcerative colitis. Chron’s Corner reports, “Fourteen states explicitly permit the use of medical marijuana to treat Crohn’s disease (but not ulcerative colitis).”
8. Coping with Strokes: Strokes, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease have terrible effects on muscle, nerves, and cognition. Cannabis has proven to produce neuroprotective effects on brain cells and the systems that connect with them. The effects may shrink damaged areas, reduce negative enzymes, and fight plaque accumulation in crucial brain functions.
9. Comforting PTSD: Surveys of cannabis users who suffer from PTSD report relief of the physical and psychological impact of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Cannabis specifically manages mood, improves focus and clarity, and fights stress and anxiety with relaxing bliss.
10. Relieves Chronic Pain: Cannabis is loaded with painkilling and anti-inflammatory qualities. These properties relieve the pain associated with arthritis, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, and other painful conditions. Sativex is increasingly prescribed for patients not responding to usual therapeutic regimens.
Cannabis is a flowering plant that has been cultivated for thousands of years for its commercial uses, medicinal therapies, and psychoactive experiences.
The FDA’s position on marijuana effectively minimizes the research necessary to confirm and convince patients and medical professionals. But, in one form or another, cannabis proves beneficial for those suffering from scores of medical ailments.
Without the necessary research and development, these patients wait for Big Pharma to develop the pharmaceuticals doctors and patients are waiting for. In the meantime, patients, medical marijuana experts, and medical marijuana dispensaries do their best to offer solutions that history proves effective for the listed conditions and more.
What further research can do is identify the specific mechanism that explains the interaction of cannabinoids and brain/body issues. It must fix the most beneficial THC: CBD ratios, appropriate strains, and recommended dosage. Until then, you rely on your own research and experience, often a sound indicator of the best care.