How Medical Marijuana Can Help...
Mental Health Conditions
Many patients with mental health challenges find relief from medical cannabis. Patients report improvement in depression, anxiety, bipolar, PTSD, ADD/ADHD, Tourette’s syndrome, Alzheimer’s dementia, and other psychiatric conditions.
Post-traumatic stress can show up in various ways in a person’s life. Some people re-experience the traumatic event, through flashbacks, nightmares, recurrence of physical pain, or persistent thinking about the event or its consequences. Other may have hyper-arousal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, startling easily, difficulty concentrating, and trouble opening up emotionally.
Cannabis is excellent at reducing the many symptoms of PTSD. It works in a part of the brain that controls emotional memory, and literally helps patients experience life in the present moment. They are able to release their anxiety, smile, and pay attention to something beautiful that’s happening right now around them. Cannabis decreases the physical pain, prevents flashbacks and nightmares, and is an excellent treatment for insomnia.
Many patients with Hepatitis C experience nausea, pain, and other symptoms that are relieved by medical cannabis. Research shows us that cannabis could both help and harm the liver in people with hepatitis C, depending how it’s used.
High doses of THC have been associated with increased scarring in the liver (fibrosis) in patients with Hepatitis C who have active inflammation and scarring already present. This effect has not been shown in Hep C patients without active inflammation and scarring. The current status of the liver can be determined by a non-invasive blood test.
In contrast to THC, C*B* has been shown to prevent liver scarring and inflammation in hepatitis C.
The take-home message for patients with hepatitis C is to seek strains of cannabis that are C*B*-dominant and always use the minimal effective dosage of cannabis by keeping their cannabinoid system sensitized.
Relief From Cancer Symptoms and Treatment Side Effects
Medical cannabis offers many benefits for patients facing cancer.
When used properly, medical marijuana can be a safe and effective treatment for nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, chronic pain, and insomnia.
Patients can often achieve significant improvements in quality of life with minimal side effects using very low doses of cannabinoids. For patients with terminal cancer, cannabis offers numerous benefits in palliative care at the end of life.
Recent research even suggest cannabis may also have properties that will help fight cancer outright. Cannabinoids, one of the main components of the cannabis plant, have shown promise in helping to reduce the spread of tumors.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Often called Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS is a progressive illness that damages nerve cells found in the spinal cord and the brain. Over time, patients encounter a gradual loss of muscle control. They eventually find it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to speak, swallow or even breathe. Paralysis is common in the later stages of the disease, which is always ultimately fatal.
Medical cannabis has shown to be effective in alleviating pain and many other ALS symptoms. Research also suggests that the psychoactive compound in marijuana, THC, could possibly slow the progress of the disease and potentially even help extend the lives of patients.
Crohn’s disease is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory bowel disease that affects digestion, causes severe pain, and in rare cases, is life-threatening. An estimated 500,000 Americans suffer from Crohn’s disease, though the number is probably much higher due to undiagnosed or misdiagnosed cases.
Since there is no cure for Crohn’s disease, the goals of treatment are to ease the symptoms, control inflammation and improve the patient’s nutrition. Treatment options for Crohn’s disease may include a combination of nutritional supplements, surgery and drugs such as anti-inflammation, steroids, cortisone, immune system suppressors, Remicade, antibiotics, anti-diarrheal and fluid replacements. However, many of these medications cause additional side effects for patients to deal with, and many patients prefer medical marijuana as an alternative medicine.
There are numerous studies that indicate cannabis is an effective way to alleviate the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. For example, O'Shaughnessy's, a scientific journal, published a study "Cannabis Alleviates Symptoms of Crohn's Disease," that reported that patients saw significant improvements with the use of cannabis. And the Journal of Clinical Investigation published a study titled "The Endogenous Cannabinoid System Protects Against Colonic Inflammation," which reports that medical marijuana is a powerful anti-inflammatory that “represents a promising therapeutic target for the treatment of intestinal disease conditions characterized by excessive inflammatory responses."
Medical Marijuana for Pain vs. Opioids
Chronic pain can be so debilitating that sufferers often turn to powerful opioid narcotics in order to find relief. But these drugs are not only addictive, they’re also notoriously toxic.
Medical cannabis for chronic pain has been shown to be an extremely effective treatment, and much safer than opioids. Patients suffering from pain related to the nervous system have found particularly strong improvement in symptoms, whether they smoke cannabis, eat it or use it in an oral spray. With an alarmingly high number of people dying due to an epidemic of opioid overdoses, cannabis is becoming a much more popular alternative for many who suffer from pain on a daily basis.
In many instances, cannabis has been shown to not only decrease the side effects that result from taking opioids and other medications, but also improve the quality of life for many patients. It’s very important to note, however, that you should never change your treatment regimen unless you are closely supervised by a physician.
Parkinson’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disease of the brain. Because Parkinson’s is a progressive disease, Parkinson’s tends to slowly worsen over time. In a healthy brain, brain cells produce a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine is responsible for relaying messages within the brain that control movement in the human body. When these cells are damaged, the signs of Parkinson’s Disease begin to show.
Typically, the signs of Parkinson’s appear slowly, as a subtle tremor in just one hand, for example. Although most people associate Parkinson’s Disease with jerking or shaking movements, the disease can also produce a freezing of parts of the body. For instance, a person suffering from Parkinson’s may appear to have no facial expression or may appear to have an abnormally stiff gait when he walks.
Marijuana may be an excellent alternative to, or addition to, the medication regime of someone suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. Unfortunately, many of the conventional medications prescribed for a Parkinson’s patient also come with significant, negative side effects that are not present in medical marijuana. Medical marijuana offers a combination of anti-anxiety, anti-oxidant and pain relief all in one medication.
A disease of the eye characterized by increased intraocular pressure, excavation, and atrophy of the optic nerve; produces defects in the field of vision and eventual blindness. Symptoms include gradual loss of peripheral vision, tunnel vision in the advanced stages, severe eye pain, nausea and vomiting, sudden onset of visual disturbance, blurred vision, halos around lights and reddening of the eye.
It is estimated that more than 3 million Americans suffer from glaucoma, a disease of the major nerve of vision called the optic nerve. Without diagnosis and treatment, glaucoma can progress to loss of central vision and blindness. Worldwide, glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness.
Effective treatment for glaucoma involves the use of drugs or surgical procedures that prevent progressive optic nerve damage. The only method of accomplishing this is by lowering intraocular pressure (IOP).
Though research findings on the effectiveness of marijuana for glaucoma have been mixed, medical cannabis (often referred to as medical weed or medical pot) may help alleviate IOP and in turn lessen effects of the disease. Studies supported by the National Eye Institute in the 1970s showed that medical marijuana (or its components), when taken orally or via inhalation, can lower intraocular pressure. And in 2003, the American Academy of Ophthalmology released a position statement which said that "some derivatives of marijuana did result in lowering of IOP when administered orally, intravenously, or by smoking, but not when topically applied to the eye."
Because the possibility exists that marijuana may be useful in treating glaucoma, the American Academy of Ophthalmology Committee on Drugs maintains that a long-term clinical study is needed to test safety and effectiveness of marijuana. However, countless patients have found relief from glaucoma symptoms with cannabis, and many marijuana states have approved marijuana use for the treatment of glaucoma.
AIDS is a chronic, life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
According to the World Health Organization, over 500,000 Americans have died from HIV/AIDS and over one million US citizens are living with the disease. It is a chronic, life-threatening condition that is one of the most commonly cited reasons cannabis patients get medical marijuana. In fact, each medical marijuana state includes HIV/AIDS as a qualifying medical condition.
Patients living with HIV typically take antiretroviral drugs to prolong the onset of AIDS. But side effects of antiretroviral therapy—which include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and severe pain in the nerve endings (polyneuropathies)—are often unbearable. Other side effects of HIV/AIDS include wasting syndrome or cachexia and intractable pain. Many patients use medical marijuana to help manage their symptoms. According to 2005 study published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, more than 60% of HIV patients use cannabis as a medicine.
Medical Marijuana is widely recognized as an effective treatment for symptoms of HIV/AIDS as well as the side effects related to the antiretroviral therapies that constitute the first line of treatment for HIV/AIDS. Its value as an anti-emetic (stops vomiting) and analgesic (relieves pain) has been proven in numerous studies and has been recognized by several government-sponsored reviews.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
MS is an autoimmune disease, whereby the body's own immune system, which normally targets and destroys substances foreign to the body such as bacteria, mistakenly attacks normal tissues such as the brain and spinal cord (the central nervous system). Symptoms include: tingling, numbness, loss of balance, weakness in one or more limbs, blurred or double vision, slurred speech, sudden onset of paralysis, lack of coordination, and problems with thinking and processing information.
Multiple sclerosis (MS), a debilitating and sometimes fatal disorder of the central nervous system, is the most common debilitating neurologic disease of young people. More than two million people worldwide suffer from the disease, with two hundred new cases diagnosed in the United States every week.
There is no cure for multiple sclerosis (MS), so researchers and scientists aim to slow the disease's progression and create better treatments. Current medications for MS may have negative side effects such as flu-like symptoms (such as fever, chills, fatigue, and muscle aches), allergic reactions, headaches, tiredness and joint pain. Others can even damage your heart or cause a serious and life-threatening disease called PML. Some, like corticosteroids, will debilitate the immune response, leaving MS patients vulnerable to infection.
Medical cannabis is an effective drug that can help MS patients lessen the effects of the disease. Countless case studies, anecdotal reports, scientific studies, surveys and double-blind studies have reported improvement in MS patients treated with medical marijuana and/or cannabinoids for symptoms such as spasticity, muscle spasms, chronic pain, tremor, sexual dysfunction, bowel and bladder dysfunctions, vision problems, balance and memory loss.
Florida has approved marijuana use for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.