Cannabis was said to have been used extensively by our ancestors to treat pain and other medical ailments. But due to its reported psychoactive and highly-addictive properties, its use was banned for decades in most countries.
In the U.S, cannabis use was formally outlawed in 1937, following the Marihuana Tax Act. Since then, marijuana buds, more known in the scientific community as Cannabis sativa, have been rolled and passed around in private parties and discrete get-togethers.
Decades later, countries have allowed regulated use of cannabis, mainly to treat chronic pain and hopefully ease the accompanying symptoms of cancer.
As the world slowly opens its doors to the medical use of cannabis, so is the market for cannabis products. Aside from cannabidiol (CBD) oil, cannabis may also be in these forms: flower, concentrates, edibles, and topicals. Indeed, the humble plant has come a long way since it was used by our ancestors.
With its perceived benefits, patients are willing to be prescribed and use medical cannabis products for the following reasons:
1. Epilepsy or Seizures
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of an anti-epileptic medicine that’s purely derived from cannabis. Sold in the market as an oral spray, it has found a niche market, which led to an increasing number of users.
CBD use in conjunction with traditional anti-epileptic medications may reduce epileptic attack occurrence by almost 44% in patients. It was, however, responsible for impairing liver functions in patients who are taking common medicine for epilepsy and bipolar disorder.
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2. Chronic Pain
This is, by far, the most common reason why patients are prescribed with medical cannabis. Anecdotal pieces of evidence point at cannabis as an effective relief for persistent pain. In Canada, for instance, patients suffering from extreme pain, the one which opioid-based pain relievers cannot treat, are allowed to take medical cannabis.
Some cannabis products contain both CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the latter being responsible for altering a person’s mental state. They’re formulated in such a way that sufferers can still continue with their daily activities without getting ‘stoned.’
If you think you’re qualified to access medical cannabis for persistent pain, check out this beginner’s guide to cannabis use.
3. ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease
Remember the ice bucket challenge in 2014? The campaign aimed to raise more funds for ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis).
As a degenerative condition that affects the nervous system, ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease counts excessive salivation, muscle spasms, and seizures as its common symptoms.
Patients suffering from the disease are said to feel better after being given medical cannabis since researchers suggest that cannabis is loaded with antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties.
4. Anxiety and Depression
Cannabis may be effective in stabilizing one’s mood, giving experts an idea of using it medically for patients suffering from anxiety and depression.
A 2015 study indicated that CBD shows potential in alleviating symptoms of anxiety in persons with post-traumatic stress and obsessive-compulsive disorders.
According to the said study, CBD may have been instrumental in controlling the feelings of arousal and avoidance of post-traumatic stress disorder patients. Medical marijuana is said to be effective in managing learned fear. This is a condition that sets off the fight or flight response at erratic times.
Moreover, in mice, CBD has been proven to be effective in reducing anxiety levels. For humans, more tests are needed to establish efficacy.
5. Skin Inflammation
Some cannabis products come in the form of ointments and creams, which aren’t just for pain. Apparently, cannabis may be able to reduce acne breakouts by controlling inflammation and regulating the sebaceous glands.
CBD is said to prevent human sebocytes from generating too much sebum (or oil) and stopping cytokines, or the body’s inflammatory agents, from acting up.
According to research, CBD may not only be effective in controlling acne, but it’s also said to help minimize inflammatory skin diseases, including psoriasis.
Cannabinoids, or the active chemicals present in medical cannabis, mimic the chemicals naturally produced by the human body. These chemical reactions are responsible for processes such as appetite, memory, movement, and pain. That being said, there are more than 500 compounds found in cannabis. They all generate different effects on our body and mind.
From easing pain, promoting your heart and brain health, as well as regulating your mood, there are numerous ways in which cannabis may be able to help your overall well-being. However, in the absence of definitive medical findings of its efficacy in these medical applications, it’s not recommended to consume cannabis to replace doctor-prescribed treatments.
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