Cannabis is first and foremost medicine. The many uses of medical marijuana have expanded as legalization allows for further research into its effects on everything from the most common ailments to the most complex and debilitating diseases. And, believe it or not, this research is simply the next step toward proving the efficacy of a practice that has been around for thousands of years!
A Brief History of Medical Cannabis
Have you ever wondered how the uses of medical marijuana came into practice? It turns out the ancient Chinese first harvested hemp and used cannabis tea to alleviate pain and treat certain conditions. The practice spread throughout Asia and into the Middle East and Africa. India in particular found spiritual and medicinal ties with the plant, often mixing it into special drinks to treat dysentery, sunstroke, and more.
Throughout the Middle Ages, cannabis was popular in the Middle East, eventually integrating into folk medicine around Europe. In the 1500s, the Spanish brought the plant to South America; however, only hemp was utilized during the North American colonization. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that Mexican immigrants first introduced cannabis to the U.S. By 1937, 23 states had outlawed it; by 1970, it was categorized as a Schedule 1 drug. The government restricted any further research into the medicinal purposes of the plant until rather recently.
The Uses of Medical Marijuana
The uses of medical marijuana will only continue to grow as the research does, but there are some conditions that cannabis has already shown to effectively combat. Below we’ve listed just 10 of the inspiring uses of medical marijuana.
The most common condition for which medical cannabis is prescribed in the U.S. is pain, particularly neuropathic pain, which involves nerve damage. This is the type of burning pain in hands and feet caused by diabetes, AIDS, spinal cord injuries, and other conditions. And unlike opiate painkillers, cannabis is not habit-forming.
Another extremely common reason to prescribe medical cannabis is to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy for cancer and AIDS patients. Studies have shown cannabis pills to be more effective at treating patients with these symptoms than common anti-nausea drugs, as well as better at promoting appetite.
Prescribing a strain of cannabis oil high in CBD has shown to dramatically reduce the number of seizures in children and adults with Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, two types of epilepsy that are difficult to control with current medications.
Cannabis is prescribed to help control the debilitating muscle spasms and stiffness of Multiple Sclerosis, which often interfere with walking and sleep. Treatment typically comes in the form of an oral spray that contains a derivative of THC and CBD, though so far it has been much more utilized in Europe than in the U.S.
Smoking cannabis high in THC has been shown to ease the need for medication and surgery for patients with Crohn’s Disease, a type of inflammatory bowel disease that often irritates the small intestine. While there is need for further research, the initial findings are very promising.
Certain types of cannabis strains are prescribed to help reduce anxiety and stress in social situations. Indica strains are known for their calming properties, inducing a stronger “body high” with less psychoactive effects. Indica also promotes sleep for those anxious minds that cause tossing and turning in bed.
Sativa strains of cannabis have been prescribed for depression due to their ability to promote energetic, uplifting feelings and increased focus. In fact, some types of these strains are as stimulating as a cup of coffee! Sativa offers a more cerebral high, rather than a heavy body buzz.
Ongoing research has shown promise of medical cannabis helping with the painful tightening of muscles that Parkinson’s patients experience due to the tremors caused by this nervous system disorder.
Animal studies have shown that cannabis helps stave off memory problems and Alzheimer’s-like brain changes, and a cellular model showed that THC may slow or halt the progression of the condition. While these results are not enough to apply to patient cases, research continues to be conducted in the name of this promising find.
We know medical cannabis can ease the effects of chemotherapy in cancer patients, but did you know that lab research shows THC and CBD have slowed or halted the growth of tumor cells? Early animal studies suggest that the compounds may prevent the spread of some types of cancer, so the potential in human cases is huge.
The many uses of medical marijuana allows for the relief of millions of patients worldwide. Legalization is helping to expand the research into new uses of cannabis and new forms of relief. Here at Medithrive, we believe that compassion between patients and cannabis providers is the best way to meet our patients’ diverse needs. Stop by Medithrive today or check us out online. We deliver every day of the week from 12-8 p.m., and delivery is always free on Tuesdays!