Medical cannabis, also known as medical marijuana, is a plant-based medication derived from the cannabis plant. It has been used for thousands of years to treat various medical conditions, but it is only in recent years that scientific research has confirmed its potential health benefits. Medical cannabis contains two active compounds, THC and CBD, which interact with the body's endocannabinoid system to produce therapeutic effects. This article outlines eleven health benefits of medical cannabis supported by peer-reviewed medical references.
Health Benefit #1: Pain Relief
Medical cannabis is widely used for its pain-relieving properties. Studies have shown that it can be effective in reducing chronic pain associated with conditions such as multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and neuropathy. A 2017 review of 28 randomized controlled trials found that medical cannabis significantly reduced chronic pain compared to a placebo.
Health Benefit #2: Anti-inflammatory Properties
Medical cannabis has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation throughout the body. This can be particularly beneficial for conditions such as Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune disorders.
Health Benefit #3: Anti-Anxiety and Anti-Depressant Properties
Medical cannabis has been found to have anti-anxiety and anti-depressant properties. THC, one of the active compounds in cannabis, has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in animal studies. CBD, another active compound, has also been found to have anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects.
Health Benefit #4: Reduces Nausea and Vomiting
Medical cannabis can be an effective treatment for nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, HIV/AIDS, and other medical conditions. Studies have shown that THC can reduce nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients, while CBD can help reduce nausea and vomiting in HIV/AIDS patients.
Health Benefit #5: Improves Sleep
Medical cannabis has been found to improve sleep quality in people with insomnia. THC has been shown to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and increase total sleep time, while CBD has been found to improve the quality of sleep.
Health Benefit #6: Helps with Appetite Stimulation
Medical cannabis can be an effective appetite stimulant for people with conditions that cause loss of appetite, such as HIV/AIDS and cancer. THC has been shown to increase appetite in people with HIV/AIDS, while CBD has been found to have a moderate appetite-stimulating effect.
Health Benefit #7: Neuroprotective Properties
Medical cannabis has neuroprotective properties that can help protect the brain from damage caused by injury or disease. Studies have shown that CBD can reduce brain damage caused by stroke and traumatic brain injury, while THC has been found to have neuroprotective effects in animal studies.
Health Benefit #8: Reduces Muscle Spasms
Medical cannabis can be effective in reducing muscle spasms associated with conditions such as multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries. THC has been shown to reduce muscle spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis, while CBD has been found to have muscle-relaxant properties.
Health Benefit #9: Anti-Epileptic Properties
Medical cannabis has been found to have anti-epileptic properties, particularly in the treatment of seizures caused by conditions such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. CBD has been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of seizures in people with these conditions.
Health Benefit #10: Cancer Treatment and Prevention
Medical cannabis has been found to have potential in the treatment and prevention of cancer. Studies have shown that THC and CBD can kill cancer cells in vitro and in animal studies. Additionally, medical cannabis can help reduce the side effects of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Health Benefit #11: PTSD management:
Medical cannabis has been shown to reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in some patients experiencing PTSD. A study in 2014 found that patients with PTSD who used medical cannabis reported a significant reduction in symptoms such as re-experiencing traumatic events, avoidance of traumatic memories, negative alterations in cognition and mood, and hyperarousal.
Medical cannabis has a wide range of potential health benefits that are supported by scientific research. It can be an effective treatment for chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety and quite a number of other symptoms.
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This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and is provided for educational purposes only. It should not be relied on as health or personal advice. The author is NOT a Doctor. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.