3 Crucial Facts About Medical Marijuana

Since it first became legal for medicinal use in certain state, medical marijuana has caused controversy over whether the drug should be prescribed and whether it has legitimate medicinal uses. There is, however, serious scientific evidence to support medical uses for marijuana, and with it being legalized for medical use in an increasing number of states, it’s important to know some of the major medicinal uses of the drug. Listed here are three of the most important potential benefits of medical marijuana, along with brief explanations of the science behind each use.

1. Medical Marijuana Can Help Control Epileptic Seizures
Various studies have now shown that medical marijuana can help reduce the frequency and severity of epileptic seizures. In one study, conducted at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2003, researchers gave marijuana extract and synthetic marijuana to epileptic rats, and the rats were rid of epileptic seizures for roughly ten hours after. (Health Benefits of Medical Marijuana) The reason it can help control epileptic seizures is that Cannabinoids like THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, help control seizures by binding to the brain cells that regulate excitability and relaxation. Most doctors now recognize the uses of medical marijuana as a treatment for patients with epilepsy or other seizure disorders.

2. It May Reverse Carcinogenic Effects of Tobacco and Improve Lung Health
While findings about marijuana and lung health are not completely conclusive, there is now a lot of evidence to support that, when used in moderation, it can actually increase lung capacity. One study, published in 2012 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that smoking marijuana did not impair lung function, and even in some cases increased lung capacity, although many experts have suggested this may be due to the deep breaths taken when smoking marijuana, and not because of a medical benefit of THC. But whatever the reason, the fact that it can increase lung capacity and improve lung health makes it a possible treatment for heavy tobacco smokers suffering from lung disease. In addition, for people suffering from lung cancer due to tobacco usage, CBD, a molecule found in marijuana, has been shown to stop or slow the spread of cancer in some cases.

3. It Can Be Used to Treat Certain Mental Health Disorders
While the illegality of the drug has made research on medical marijuana as a treatment for mental health disorders remain inconclusive, but it is clear that for some patients, medical marijuana can have significant benefits. THC has been proven to be an anxiolytic, a substance that reduces anxiety, and even opponents of medical marijuana have had to admit that the drug has a significant calming effect. Patients with anxiety disorders have already been prescribed medical cannabis in many states where it is legal, often with excellent results. Depression is another mental health disorder that appears to be treatable with marijuana in many cases. One study, published in 2006 in the Addictive Behaviors journal, surveyed over four thousand depressed patients that used marijuana, and found that those who smoked daily, or sometimes even less often, reported improved overall mood and less depressive periods than non-users. (Medical Marijuana and Psychiatric Disorders) Finally, in some cases, medical marijuana has been shown to be a successful alternative to anxiety or depression medications, some of which can be addictive. In many cases, patients who were previously dependent on other medications have found that regularly marijuana usage can help to eliminate their dependency.

Overall, the jury remains out on medical marijuana for many purposes because of the drug’s continued Class 1 designation. However, it has been proven to be effective in some cases as a treatment for various conditions, from epilepsy to psychiatric disorders to even some forms of cancer. As marijuana legalization both medical and recreational continues to spread, researchers will be less restricted in their access to cannabis for experimentation, and data about its medical purposes should soon become more conclusive.

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