Cannabis, also known as Marijuana, is a topic that elicits different emotions. While some swear by its efficacy regarding its medicinal benefits, others don’t. While the plant has been used for thousands of years, it’s only recently gained acceptance as a viable medicine for specific conditions.
Read on as we explore the benefits of cannabis as a medicine, the different methods of consumption, and its legality and regulation.
What is Cannabis?
Cannabis, pot, weed, or hash is a plant that contains various compounds, including terpenes, cannabinoids, and flavonoids. However, the two most known cannabinoids are tetrahydro cannabinoid (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
History of cannabis as a medicine
For thousands of years, the healing properties of cannabis were seen by ancient civilizations. Society’s most revered figures recognized its potential, too – Hindu legend tells us Lord Shiva was a fan. And so began our species’ long history with this potent medicinal plant.
Cannabis was introduced to Western medicine in the early 19th century. In 1839, a British doctor named William Brooke O’Shaughnessy published a study on the use of cannabis in India. He found that cannabis could effectively treat various conditions, including pain, muscle spasms, and seizures.
In the late 1800s and early 20th century, cannabis was widely used for medicinal purposes in Western medicine. From 1850 until 1942, it appeared on the United States Pharmacopeia, acting as an effective treatment option for pain relief, nausea control, and sleep problems like insomnia.
By the mid-20th century, attitudes toward cannabis had taken a drastic turn. In response to false claims linking it to crime and violence in America during the 1930s, Congress passed what would become known as The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 – thus making all forms of ownership or sale prohibited from that point onwards.
The current state of cannabis legalization
The legality and regulation of medical cannabis vary widely depending on the country or state. In the United States, Cannabis is illegal at the federal level. However, medical weed DC clients have something to celebrate as Washington and 37 other states have legalized its use.
Some for recreational and medical purposes and some for medical purposes only. As of 2022, 37 states have legalized cannabis for medical use. It’s essential to check the laws of your state, as there may be restrictions on who can access it despite it being legal.
It may help alleviate pain.
More than 1 in 5 Americans experience chronic pain. While this number is shocking, chronic pain can lead to lower quality of life and high economic costs.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found possible evidence indicating that patients treated with cannabis or cannabidiols were more likely to experience a significant reduction in pain.
While it’s unclear how enduring the therapeutic effect is, cannabis has proven helpful in managing pain. Additionally, a few studies have found that inhaled Marijuana (vaporized or smoked) can help treat neuropathic pain.
It may have anxiety-reducing benefits.
Certain cannabis strains may offer anxiety-reducing benefits. These can be helpful for people who have adverse reactions to pharmaceuticals.
Relief of insomnia
Cannabis has been shown to have the potential as a treatment for insomnia, a common sleep disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. Insomnia can be caused by multiple factors, including anxiety, pain, and neurological disorders, and can significantly impact a person’s quality of life.
Research has suggested that cannabis may be effective in treating insomnia by helping to reduce anxiety and pain, two common causes of sleep disturbance. The cannabinoids in cannabis may help relax the body and mind making it easier to fall and stay asleep.
Another benefit of cannabis is appetite stimulation. Cannabis has been shown to stimulate appetite in people with conditions such as cancer and HIV/AIDS. The cannabinoids in cannabis may interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, helping increase appetite.
Treatment of epilepsy
In June 2018, the FDA approved a CBD-based drug called Epidiolex to treat a rare form of childhood Epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and Dravet syndrome. It has also effectively reduced the number and severity of seizures in patients with epilepsy.
Treatment of cancer symptoms
Another study also found that cannabis may benefit patients undergoing chemotherapy and experiencing side effects such as nausea and vomiting. Oral cannabidiols were found to possibly be effective antiemetics when smoked.
Treatment of multiple sclerosis-related spasticities
People who have Multiple Sclerosis often suffer from muscle spasms and spasticity. Short-term use of oral cannabidiols may offer some relief, although modest.
Treatment in Depression
Cannabis has promising results in the treatment of depression. While the research is still in the initial stages, it’s promising.
In a retrospective study conducted by researchers in 2022 in Canada, researchers found that among the 7000 participants, there was a significant improvement in the scores between when the study began and ended. Additionally, there have been self-reported reports that cannabis helped with postpartum depression.
Different methods of intaking Marijuana for medical benefits
When it comes to cannabis, there are various ways you can use it to get medical benefits. These include:
This is undoubtedly the most common method of consumption. It’s also the fastest way to reap the benefits.
Cannabis can be baked into brownies, cookies, or cakes. It’s best to wait for them to take effect before increasing the dosage.
Vaporizing is another option, which involves heating the cannabis to a temperature that releases the active ingredients without burning the plant material. Some users have reported experiencing the benefits much quicker than smoking the flower.
Another method of application is using Topicals like creams or lotions. These can be helpful for the treatment of localized pain relief.
Cannabis pills, capsules, and tablets
This method offers precise dosing minus the calories from cooking or ingesting edibles. These methods provide an alternative way for users who hesitate to smoke or bake cannabis.
Tinctures are another popular method of consumption. A tincture is a concentrated extract soaking flowers and leaves in an alcohol solution. They offer a discreet way to dose.
Cannabis offers an impressive range of potential health benefits, from aiding the treatment and management of epilepsy to helping ease anxiety and nausea. However, more research is vital for us to gain a deeper understanding of these therapeutic effects—which could lead us closer to finding the most effective dosage amount or method of delivery possible.