We hear a lot about marijuana in the media. Whether it's discussions about legalization or pot lovers romanticizing its euphoria, marijuana is a perennial part of our national consciousness.
Although all of us have heard of medical marijuana, few of us actually appreciate the remarkable range of conditions that cannabis treats.
More and more people say they benefit from medicinal cannabis because it would reduce all kinds of discomfort and pains.
Granted, the evidence supporting marijuana's efficacy as medical treatment is limited. Nevertheless, there are enough reasons on the subject to explore its uses.
Let's take a look at a number of medical conditions in which medical marijuana can play a role.
Marijuana may reduce the severity of symptoms during flare-ups caused by Crohn's disease, a type of inflammatory bowel disease. Marijuana may also contribute to remission of the disease.
Marijuana has been shown to decrease seizure frequency in people with epilepsy who are otherwise resistant to medication therapy.
Marijuana may help alleviate some symptoms associated with fibromyalgia, and, research suggests that nabilone may help alleviate pain and anxiety associated with the disease.
For anybody familiar with the munchies, it should come as no surprise that both marijuana and dronabinol (Marinol), a pharmaceutical synthetic preparation of the drug, increase appetite in people with AIDS-related weight loss and anorexia.
Although less effective at stimulating appetite than another drug called megestrol acetate (Megace), dronabinol does help combat anorexia and weight loss associated with cancer. Moreover, dronabinol and cannabis-derived spray may help alleviate pain in people with cancer. Finally, both dronabinol and the spray may help with nausea and vomiting, associated with chemotherapy.
Glaucoma refers to a constellation of disease that messes up the optic nerve and can lead to vision loss and blindness. Damage occurs on account of increased intraocular pressure. Research suggests that THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, may reduce intraocular pressure.
Synthetic cannabinoids might help with nausea caused by medications used to treat hepatitis C. Additionally, marijuana may help with adherence to drug regimens and even improve virologic response while people are taking hepatitis drugs. In other words, marijuana may make heavy-hitting hepatitis drugs easier to take and may even somehow improve their efficacy.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease which affects the brain and spinal cord and eventually leaves people unable to walk. Marijuana may all help with the pain and spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis.
Cannabis-derived spray may help alleviate pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis and even help reduce disease activity. Interestingly, gold was once used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, too.
You will likely notice that psychosis and depression aren't included on this list of conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana. Some people think that marijuana exacerbates or even precipitates mental illness and others feel that it can help. As is the case with much of the research on the therapeutic benefits of marijuana, there is limited research on the subject.