Marijuana is now legal in 29 US states, Washington DC and Uruguay with several other jurisdictions nationally and internationally actively developing legislation for the legalization of the drug. Medical marijuana legalization has strong public support. In the United States, about 84% of the public believe that marijuana should be legal for medical uses.
While some medical benefits of using pot may be overstated by legalization advocates, there’s a growing body of research demonstrating that there are legitimate medical uses for marijuana. More and more physicians are even reversing their stand on the issue and are swearing by the drug’s effectiveness and health benefits.
Here are some medical uses of marijuana:
1. Muscle Tension and Spasm
There is definitive evidence that medical cannabis can help with muscle stiffness and spasms. A recent report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine said that there was strong evidence that marijuana can be an effective treatment for spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis.
Medical marijuana can also help to relieve other types of muscle tension and spasms. People use the drug to calm stomach and diaphragm spasms that are untreatable by prescription medications.
2. Pain Relief
The most common use of medical marijuana is to relieve pain. While cannabis isn’t strong enough to treat severe pain, it is quite effective in treating chronic pain. Part of its allure is that it is safer than opiates and can greatly reduce dependence on dangerous prescription painkillers like those fueling the opioid epidemic. Additionally, it can be used in place of NSAIDs such as Aleve and Advil, if patients can’t take them due to kidney problems, ulcers or GERD.
Some research suggests that medical cannabis may help control seizures in people with epilepsy. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) stated that cannabidiol (CBD), a major marijuana compound, reduced seizures by 39% in children with Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy.
However, there haven’t been many double-blind studies on the efficacy of cannabis in treating people with epilepsy. It is therefore important to consult a doctor before using medical marijuana to treat epilepsy. A top medical marijuana doctor in Jacksonville, FL can prescribe the right amount of dosage to help patients suffering from this debilitating condition.
4. Autoimmune Conditions
Medical marijuana is also used to manage conditions arising from an abnormal immune response to a normal body part. The drug can alleviate pain and discomfort, reduce inflammation and promote sleep in people with autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and diabetes mellitus type 1.
Another reason why people use marijuana is to treat and prevent glaucoma, an eye disease that increases intraocular pressure, damaging the eye nerve and causing loss of vision and even blindness. Studies show that marijuana, when smoked, lowers eye pressure by 25% to 30% and relieve symptoms of glaucoma.
However, the current medical consensus is that cannabis only lowers eye pressure for a few hours (about three to four hours), meaning there’s no substantive evidence for it as a long-term treatment.
These are just some of the health benefits of medical cannabis. It’s important to note that this is not intended to be an inclusive list, but rather to provide a brief overview of the conditions that medical marijuana can provide relief. As with all remedies, its efficacy should be critically evaluated and treated with caution.