United States administrations have been navigating the ever-changing political position of marijuana for decades. The question of who could use marijuana and why has sparked a hot debate between political parties and State governments.
Even though medical cannabis use dates back as early as 1830, it was prohibited in the U.S. 100 years later in 1937. Since then, marijuana has been slowly making a comeback for medicinal use.
California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, sparking a wave of scientific research on the benefits of medical marijuana. Since then, cannabis is changing the health industry one State at a time.
What is Cannabis?
Cannabis is a naturally-occurring plant with psychoactive properties that have been used in medicine for centuries. Some people refer to it as marijuana, weed, or pot.
It has gained popularity for recreational and medical use over the years and for good reason. You can find more than 120 cannabinoids in cannabis, including the most well-known cannabinoids THC and CBD.
CBD is a cannabinoid that won’t get you high. But it can relax the body, reduce inflammation, and treat pain. Since CBD isn’t psychoactive, it is legal in all 50 States.
THC is the part of cannabis that provides the high. The stoner stereotype has given THC a bad rap, but it has several medical uses as well. THC can effectively treat insomnia, nausea, decreased appetite, and glaucoma. These compounds have actively worked together to change the medical perception of cannabis. It has now become so popular in legal states that you can now order and buy cannabis online.
1.) Cannabis Provides Alternative Treatment Options for Mental Illness
Mental illness affects one in ten people globally with anxiety being the number one mental health condition. People have started to turn to cannabis instead of traditional pharmaceuticals to treat anxiety, depression, as well as PTSD.
One study showed 41 percent of cannabis users switched from pharmaceuticals to cannabis to treat mental illness, while 40 percent believed cannabis was more effective than their prescribed medication.
This is due to the medical benefits of CBD, which works with the endocannabinoid system. This system keeps the body balanced and CBD works with naturally occurring cannabinoids to maintain both mental and physical harmony in the body.
2.) Cannabis Can Be Used to Manage Pain
Along with relieving symptoms of mental illness, cannabis can help manage chronic pain. Opiates are commonly prescribed to patients who suffer from chronic pain, potentially adding to the opioid epidemic.
Cannabis offers a non-addictive alternative with positive results. A study conducted in Israel analyzed 1,200 cancer patients who used cannabis for six months. They found that marijuana considerably reduced chronic pain in half of the people surveyed.
Using cannabis as an opioid-alternative is an ideal method of reducing death caused by opioid overdose. Since medical marijuana is still being studied, there is likely more to understand about long-term use of medical cannabis.
A review of the literature concerning medical cannabis suggests that States who are implementing medical marijuana can reduce prescription opioid overdose while treating chronic pain.
3.) Cannabis Can Treat Symptoms of Diabetes
Those suffering from diabetes may benefit from cannabis use. One of the largest studies conducted by the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis (AAMC) found that cannabis can lower blood sugar, decrease inflammation of arteries, and reduce neuropathy pain.
While the jury is still out on whether or not cannabis can prevent diabetes, a study published by the American Journal of Medicine discovered that frequent marijuana users were less likely to be obese. Those who use cannabis also have a higher likelihood of good cholesterol.
Medical cannabis can treat symptoms of both Type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It all boils down to cannabis users having a higher metabolism with less resistance to natural insulin created in the body.
Many people suffering from diabetes reported they saw lower A1C levels and blood sugar with continued use. Marijuana has also been proven to effectively treat eye disorders, chronic pain, inflammation, and other diabetes-related symptoms.
4.) Cannabis Has Been Linked to Fighting Cancer
Research conducted on the benefits of cannabis for cancer patients has increased over the past number of years. A small study found that cannabis can reduce nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy.
Those who smoked cannabis also found a reduction in pain caused by damaged nerves resulting from cancer. While there is no clinical proof that cannabis can reduce the growth of cancer cells, preliminary studies show that some cannabinoids can slow the progression of cancer cells grown in a lab.
With the advancing research on cannabis and cancer, several cannabis-based drugs are actively prescribed to cancer patients. Two of those drugs (Marinol and Cesamet) are used to treat symptoms of nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.
5.) Cannabis Can Help Control Seizures
Researchers have conducted clinical trials to study the effects of cannabis on epilepsy. These trials have found evidence of CBD binding to the signaling system in the brain to stop seizures in their tracks.
Like most cannabis research, studies around the effects of cannabinoids on epilepsy are still in the early stages. We are closer to having concrete evidence of the effectiveness of cannabis on seizures than ever before.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) revealed a paper discussing clinical trials that showed cannabis was more effective in treating epilepsy than the placebo. This study suggests that cannabis can reduce the frequency of seizures in those suffering from epilepsy.
Cannabis is changing the health industry in many ways, but the most prominent is offering an alternative to commonly prescribed drugs.
Cannabis also acts as a non-habit forming alternative to psychiatric drugs to treat anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Cannabinoids also effectively treat symptoms of diabetes, cancer, and epilepsy. As a result of progressive research, cannabis has the potential to change the way drugs are prescribed on a large scale.