Marijuana has many positive health benefits and as its legalization in the medical industry begins to spread across the United States, its potential in modern medicine is beginning to shine. While recreational marijuana use remains controversial, it’s hard to deny the evidence that marijuana provides relief for patients suffering from a variety of medical conditions.
Keep in mind, only about 6% of marijuana studies have focused on its medicinal properties. This leaves significant room for research and much more to be discovered.
Two chemicals found in marijuana and believed to be the source of its medicinal properties are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD can impact the brain without causing a high for the user and THC provides pain relieving properties. These two chemicals is what has led many states to consider legalizing its use in the medical industry.
#1 – Medical marijuana can be used to treat glaucoma
Glaucoma is a serious medical condition that causes increased pressure on the eyeball, which can damage the optic nerve and result in vision loss. Marijuana can actually relieve this increased pressure and reduce it. People with normal eye pressure and those with glaucoma have both showed signs of reduced eye pressure when smoking marijuana.
#2 – Medical marijuana can improve lung health
Studies have shown that marijuana does not significantly impair lung function and it can actually increase lung capacity. In a study where researchers checked the risk factors of marijuana and tobacco, over 5,000 young adults were analyzed over the course of 20 years. Tobacco users showed an expected loss of lung functioning, but marijuana users showed increase lung capacity. This increased lung capacity could be due to the deep breaths taken while inhaling marijuana, but it also shows that the marijuana smoke did not reduce lung capacity over time.
#3 – Medical marijuana can control epileptic seizures
The number of reports showing that marijuana can control epileptic seizures continues to climb. In a 2003 study, Robert J. DeLorenzo of Virginia used epileptic rats to demonstrate this. He used marijuana extract and synthetic marijuana to treat the rats and it completely eliminated their seizures for about 10 hours. THC binds to brain cells, which are responsible for regulating relaxation. In epileptic individuals, THC has proven to control seizures through this process.
#4 – Decreases Dravet’s syndrome
Dravet’s syndrome is a very serious disorder, causing seizures and delays in the development process. Some patients with Dravet’s syndrome have shown that medical marijuana can reduce seizures from several hundred per week to just one or two in a week’s time.
#5 – May stop cancer from spreading
Medical marijuana may even stop cancer from spreading through the body. Cannabidiol, one of the many chemicals in marijuana can turn off the Id-1 gene in the body. It has been found that cancer cells will make copies of this gene, rather than the cancerous genes in the body. This helps fight spreading by reducing how quickly the cancerous cells can multiply. Researchers treated Id-1 genes with cannabidiol and found that they had significantly decreased the rate in which the gene spread.
#6 – Medical marijuana can reduce anxiety
The majority of marijuana users report a decrease in stress, anxiety and depression. Medical marijuana can be used for relief and comfort during times of peaked stress. It’s sometimes used in chemotherapy to help relieve pain, suppress nausea and provide anxiety relief. In low doses, medical marijuana can act as a sedative but caution is advised because in high doses it may actually increase anxiety.
#7 – Medical marijuana may slow Alzheimer’s
Although research is still minimal, medical marijuana may slow the Alzheimer’s disease. It has shown to slow amyloid plaques by blocking enzymes in the brain that produce them. These plaques are known to kill brain cells and lead to the progression of Alzheimer’s.
#8 – Medical marijuana can ease pain in multiple sclerosis patients
Multiple sclerosis can be very painful and the pain reducing properties of medical marijuana help eliminate this pain. Many multiple sclerosis patients have tried prescription medications with no luck whatsoever in pain reduction, but medical marijuana seems to help. Medical marijuana contains THC, which binds to receptors in nerves and muscles throughout the body.
#9 – Medical marijuana can treat muscle spasms
There have been many patients that suffer from uncontrollable muscle spasms that find no relief from traditional medications and prescriptions. Abdominal muscle spasms can be particularly painful due to complications with speaking and breathing. Medical marijuana has been shown to calm the muscle spasms and significantly reduce the symptoms.
#10 – Medical marijuana is effective for hepatitis C patients
Side effects of Hepatitis C can be difficult to deal with and they include appetite loss, depression, fatigue, nausea, etc. These symptoms can last for many months and be unbearable to deal with. Studies show that more than 80% of Hep C patients complete their therapy when using medical marijuana, but less than 30% of non-smokers are able to complete treatment. Marijuana is believed to reduce many of the side effects associated with Hep C treatment, while also increasing the effectiveness of the treatment.
#11 – Medical marijuana increases appetite
You’ve heard the munchie jokes before. Marijuana is known to increase appetite and reduce nausea. Patients that are suffering from a reduction in appetite can use medical marijuana to increase their appetite and feel hungry again.
#12 – Medical marijuana can treat inflammatory bowel disease
Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and other inflammatory bowel diseases can be treated with medical marijuana. Although it can’t cure the disease, it provides relief by interacting with cells in the body that are responsible for stomach and immune responses.
#13 – Medical marijuana provides arthritis relief
Pain from arthritis in the joints can be relieved with marijuana. Marijuana is shown to reduce inflammation and help the patient sleep, which are two highly productive traits for someone suffering from arthritis.
#14- Medical marijuana relieves symptoms from Lupus
Marijuana has been shown to relieve symptoms of Lupus, which is a condition where the body begins to attack itself for no apparent reason. The chemicals in marijuana seem to calm the immune system, which delays the attack on the body. It also shows to reduce the pain and nausea associated with the condition.
#15 – Medical marijuana can increase creativity
Medical marijuana does have positive mental health effects, with one of the most notable being creativity. Short-term memory does take a dive while smoking marijuana, but creativity and your ability to think “outside the box” is enhanced. You may actually get smarter in a sense and be able to think up new ideas and concepts while high.
#16 – Relief from tremors
Parkinson’s disease can cause tremors that are very uncomfortable for the individual. Medical marijuana is shown to soothe tremors and improve sleep for Parkinson’s patients. Motor skills in patients are improved significantly.
With so many different conditions that cannabis is effective for, medical marijuana doctors in Washington are in high demand. The industry is growing rapidly and the list of health benefits contributed to marijuana is growing as well.