Medicinal Use of MarijuanaFor more than 4000 years, marijuana plants have been used for medical reasons. Even our deep ancestors were using this plant for religious purposes and it has really predated the medical use of marijuana. Medical marijuana (also known as medical cannabis) – is a widespread form of herbal medicine and helps a lot of patients with specific diseases or syndromes. A large number of studies claim use of medical marijuana to be helpful in the treatment of all kinds of different diseases, even relieving pain for patients with HIV/AIDS.
Marijuana is illegal for general (or recreational) use and is world’s most illegal drug, but it also is one of the most popular forms of herbal therapy. After countless research papers released and case studies done, use of medicinal marijuana has been decriminalized in 16 of 50 US states. In these 16 states medical marijuana is sold in dispensaries and recommendation from physician is required in order to purchase anything over there. There are also synthetic cannabinoid drugs, like dronabinol (Marinol) and nabilone. These pharmaceutical cannabinoid drugs are taken orally and are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in US. In order to buy these drugs at pharmacies, you need to have a proper prescription from a doctor. Most recent research has shown, that smoking marijuana is more beneficial and efficient, rather than taking it orally in forms of synthetic cannabinoids.
Cannabis' Medicinal UsesSince California’s first assertion that such thing as “medical” marijuana exists, usage of medical marijuana started to become a popular treatment for many diseases. This is mostly due to safety of marijuana, comparing to other medicinal substances, like opioids. Medical marijuana is known to be helpful in treating more than 50 different ailments and diseases. In most cases, physicians recommend and prescribe medical marijuana to patients, who suffer from:
- Post Dramatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Nausea and vomiting (especially those who undergone chemotherapy)
- Migraines (marijuana has helped to treat more than 300,000 cases of patients suffering from migraines)
- Chronic pain
- Other drug dependencies (like opioid or cocaine dependence)
- Breast cancer
- Brain tumor (slows tumor growth)
- HIV/aids neuropathic pain
- Glaucoma (reduces intra-ocular pressure)
- Alzheimer’s disease (acts as mood disorder treatment)
- Neurological and movement disorders
- ADD and ADHD (2009 usc study showed that medical marijuana is perfect alternative medicine for Ritalin or Adderall, and has no negative side effects)
- Anxiety or depression
Above is just a small portion of ailments that have been successfully treated by medical marijuana usage. Studies made in 1970’s have shown that marijuana also acts as a great appetite stimulator and has helped patients with HIV to gain weight. Marijuana is also known as good seizures preventer, because of its “antispasmodic” properties. It is also worth mentioning, that marijuana has helped patients suffering from Tourette ’s syndrome, by slowing down their tics. More than 3 million people in the U.S have OCD (Obsessive-compulsive disorder) anxiety disorder and are treated by medical marijuana, because effects of THC slow down obsessive neurological symptoms. Medical marijuana also has virological benefit for those suffering from Hepatitis C and especially patients who are going through HCV treatment.
Despite the mixed results, medical and chemical studies have shown that marijuana has mild analgesic properties and relieves pain symptoms of many diseases. Analgesic properties in marijuana are caused by its main compound – Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Analgesic (also referred as a painkiller) is any substance of the group of drugs used to relieve pain. Even if we consider marijuana harmful and dangerous, it’s hard to believe that medical marijuana is more dangerous than painkillers or strong opioid drugs such as morphine and opium. All stronger analgesic medicines can cause toxic, potentially even lethal effect. On the other hand, there is no record in medical literature that would describe a proven fatality caused by any form of cannabis usage.
There are more than 200 chemical compounds in marijuana and they still haven’t bell fully studied and researched. Out of those, approximately 60 of them are cannabinoids, which have proven to have medicinal benefits. The main cannabinoid that is responsible for all psychoactive activity is called Tetrahydrocannabinol. There are five most important cannabinoids found in marijuana, and those are: tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol, cannabigerol, cannabinol, and β-caryophyllene.
Medical Marijuana vs. Traditional Medicine for Pain Relief
Most of the known herbal remedies are only good for natural pain relief. Such as ginseng (relives pain in the joints, muscles and tendons), valerian root (perfect for patients suffering from muscle spasms and cramps), St. Jon’s Wort (helps to relieve neuropathic pain), and Kava Kava (used to treat tension headaches). Recent studies have shown that medical marijuana acts as a stronger pain relief, than any traditional medicine remedies.