What are the benefits of medical marijuana?
Medical marijuana is becoming more and more of a medical alternative to traditional painkillers. Many patients are reporting that using medical marijuana has given them pain-relief in ways that they could not get from other sources, such as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen) or opioids (stronger painkillers such as morphine). These traditional medicines often work well, but come with their own side-effects or are not as effective as you would want them to be. Medical marijuana solves some of these problems and is perfect for relieving chronic pain. Do however note that is not the be-all and end-all and that usage should always be discussed with your doctor. He or she will know your situation and can advise you on how to use medical marijuana.
THC and CBD
When thinking of medical marijuana most will associate the usage of marijuana with the well-known ‘high’ that you would traditionally get from smoking dried cannabis. The chemical that causes this high is THC, short for tetrahydrocannabinol. Smoking, vaping or ingesting THC otherwise will cause you to feel the ‘high’ that most people associate with marijuana and that might detest you from trying medical marijuana. Luckily many patients report that they feel most, if not all, of the benefits of medical marijuana by ingesting an extract from the cannabis plant called CBD, short for cannabidiol. This extract has little to no THC in it and so none of the traditional effects of marijuana come with ingesting some version of CBD. This makes CBD much more attractive if you are not interested in the altering of consciousness that some might want from marijuana and are purely interested in treating pain.
Treatment of different conditions
There are many reports from patients that indicate that medical marijuana can be used to treat many different conditions. Besides usage as a pain-killer reportes uses include relieving insomnia, anxiety and spasticity. There are also patients who are currently using medical marijuana successfully to treat potentially life-threatening conditions such as epilepsy. One particular example is a childhood epilepsy form called Dravet syndrome, which is almost impossible to control with conventional medicine. Some patients have however seen drastic improvement by using a strain of medical marijuana called Charlotte’s Web. This particular strain, basically a variety of the regular cannabis plant, consists dominantly of CBD, which is yet another indication that CBD has very powerful medicinal effects.
Besides these specific use cases, the major area of interest is pain control. Conventional painkillers are mainly one of two classes: opioids or NSAIDs. Opioids can however be very addictive and need to be dosed very carefully, in order to prevent overdosing. NSAIDs are not particularly powerful and are not a suitable medicine for those with problems with their kidneys, ulcers or GERD. Medical marijuana has none of these drawbacks: it is very hard to get addicted to, impossible to overdose on and safe for patients who cannot take NSAIDs. Other particular areas where medical marijuana can be effective are in the treatment of chronic pain stemming from multiple sclerosis and nerve pain in general. This pain can be very hard to treat, with limited options available, one of which are opioids, which basically sedate the patient and thus severely limits the patient in their daily life. Here medical marijuana can be a great alternative, with patients reporting feeling much less sedated and being able to go about their daily lives, yet still acting as an effective pain killer.
Many other applications
There are many other great applications for medical marijuana, such as reducing tremors in Parkinson’s disease and pain treatment in patients with conditions that result in chronic pain. It has also been reported to be effective in the treatment of PTSD and has been used to manage nausea and weight loss. This list is by no means exhaustive and many other applications exist. The main area where medical marijuana shines is managing and decreasing chronic pain and it has been shown time and time again to be very effective there. If you are suffering from chronic pain we suggest you go talk to your doctor. They know your medical situation and can advise you on the right way to use medical marijuana.