Medical marijuana is often the subject of many controversial discussions. How did it change from getting people high to potentially offering medical benefits almost overnight?
It’s a topic that’s amassed different reactions as people struggle to wrap their heads around it. Some are far more willing to jump right in and experience its many possible medical benefits. Others, such as scientists and doctors, scramble back to their labs to make medical marijuana the subject of their research.
To help clear the air, medical marijuana has come a long way in these conversations as said researchers continue to discover its possible health potential. And with over two-thirds of the American states legalizing it, medical marijuana is now being used to possibly help certain conditions. But before we get into that, we must define medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana is derived from the Cannabis Sativa plant. And unlike the CBD oils or topicals that only contain the CBD compound, pure medical marijuana includes CBN, CBD, and THC.
It should be noted that THC is the compound responsible for making people high. CBD does not and only works to interact with the cannabinoid receptors found in the endocannabinoid system. This is what gives CBD the potential to reduce pain and alleviate anxiety, among other benefits.
CBN, as it stands, hasn’t been studied as extensively as THC and CBD. But it forms as a result of THC breaking down and aging. It does demonstrate properties that may enhance its potential benefits. For instance, it may impart neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties.
Uses for Medical Marijuana
Alleviating pain has been found as the number one reason Americans use medical marijuana. Not treating pain can impact someone’s life immensely. From affecting their sleep patterns to increasing their stress levels, constant pain is a complex condition to live with.
Research shows that medical marijuana could be highly successful in alleviating neuropathic pain. More specifically, it’s the type of pain that comes from nerve damage caused by spinal injuries, HIV, amputations, and so forth.
To think that a good night’s sleep could be one extract spray away can be too good to believe.
But according to the studies conducted by the National Cancer Institute, it could be true. The participants in the survey experienced reduced anxiety after inhaling medical marijuana. And those that used the extract spray experienced better sleep.
Still not buying it? Well, did you know that stress or anxiety and lack of sleep have a direct link? High cortisol levels keep the brain alert at night, making it very difficult to fall asleep. Medical marijuana works to help calm the body and potentially reduce cortisol levels significantly.
The lack of a healthy appetite can be severe, especially when it leads to extreme weight and muscle loss. It can be caused by medications and treatments such as chemotherapy and conditions such as digestive issues and HIV/AIDS. It can also be caused by psychological factors such as grief and depression.
Medical marijuana, as discovered by a study conducted by Washington State University, may make the brain think it’s hungry. Thanks to the delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the drug may manipulate ghrelin and leptin levels in the body. This may result in hunger.
Relieve Muscle Tension
This is specifically true with people struggling with Multiple Sclerosis. Individuals with MS tend to experience muscle tightness or even lose control over their muscles. This is known as spasticity, which can be uncomfortable and painful.
Studies found that patients that used medical marijuana may experience relief from the above symptoms.
Vomiting and Nausea
Vomiting and nausea are common side effects in patients undergoing chemotherapy. These side effects are often extreme and can lead to the depletion of nutrients and dehydration. While some medications can help treat the symptoms mentioned above, some only cause lethargy and induce a state of delusion.
Medical marijuana, due to its active compounds, could potentially interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). And as stated by a report from the University of Guelph, cannabinoids may be able to manipulate the ECS to help regulate vomiting and nausea.
Medical marijuana, as controversial as it may be, could have many potential health benefits. And it may show promise in helping individuals undergoing chemotherapy and severe bouts of pain from a host of other conditions.