Medical marijuana is now legal in 15 states. Overall, marijuana is federally illegal, so there must be a good reason for these states to have legalized it for medicinal use. In fact there are multiple diseases and symptoms for which medicinal marijuana helps substantially.
1. Crohns Disease – Various studies have shown promising results for medicinal marijuana alleviating the symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders such as Crohn’s. Marijuana contains cannabinoids which activate a receptor known as CB2 – this is thought to decrease inflammation in the GI tract along with reducing pain and swelling.
2. Chronic Pain – Chronic pain overall constitutes the single largest usage of medical marijuana. Marijuana blocks pain pathways in the central nervous system, but through a different neurochemical signaling system than opiates. Therefore opiates and marijuana may act together as complementary analgesic medications since they are acting in two different ways.
3. Severe Nausea – The longest standing use for medical marijuana has been for nausea and vomiting prevention. Such as for cancer chemo or radiation therapy. Using marijuana for this wasting and nausea, can have dramatic results. The medical marijuana can allow patients to gain 40 to 50 pounds.
4. Severe Muscle Spasms – There are conventional medications available by prescription for these symptoms, but at times those meds cause weakness or drowsiness. Muscle spasms are when patients tense reflexively and resist stretching. Patients utilizing medical marijuana for reducing muscle spasticity and pain have found substantial relief.
5. Cancer – Medical marijuana helps patients with cancer for five reasons. It suppresses nausea, suppresses vomiting, increases appetite, provides pain relief, and calms anxiety.
6. Glaucoma – Research has not shown us exactly how cannabinoids reduce Intraocular pressure. They work at reducing Intra-ocular pressure for about 4 hours.
7. Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome – Over fifty percent of cancer patients show a dramatic weight loss of lean body mass which can appear as wasting, or cachexia as it is called. AIDS patients may experience wasting as well. THC may allow patients to gain forty to fifty pounds and make patients over three times more likely to stick with their anti-retroviral medication regimen.
8. ALS – The cannabinoids in medical marijuana may protect against glutamate toxicity. This may be very helpfult because ALS involves excessive glutamate in the brain tissue, spinal fluid, and serum of those suffering. By lowering the chance of glutamate toxicity, there is a chance that marijuana may have a neuroprotective effect. In addition, patients describe alleviation of pain and spasms, improvement of appetite, and less drooling issues which is a common problem with ALS.
9. HIV and AIDS – It is known to stimulate the appetite which is critical to cancer patients who are having chemo as well as for AIDS patients.
10. Multiple Sclerosis – MS patients may find that marijuana relieves symptoms of spasticity, tremors, imbalance, depression, and fatigue.
Despite lingering social stigma regarding marijuana, the legitimate medical uses for it simply cannot be denied. Thankfully, there is a growing tend towards states’ legitimizing its usage for debilitated and qualified patients in need.