Marijuana/Cannabis has a long history or medicinal use. Scholars point to evidence dating back thousands of years ago. It is often a hotly contested subject in the scientific and medical fields, and the debates are sure to continue in the years to come. However, doctors in states where marijuana has been decriminalized or legalized for medicinal uses have begun describing the drug regularly. As you look at illnesses or medical issues where marijuana is prescribed, it would almost appear as if this is a wonder drug.
We all know when smoking marijuana, that we crave munchies. This leads to the stereotype that stoners just smoke, eat, and fall asleep. Now, imagine going through your 3rd round of chemotherapy, or having a rough few weeks given the fact you have HIV. Not only is this depressing, it often leaves patients extremely nauseas and unable to eat. Marijuana has been prescribed not only to stimulate appetite, but alleviate mild depression as well.
THC has also been found to prevent the acceleration of patients with Alzheimer’s disease by slowing the formation of certain enzymes that form plaques in the brain. It has been linked to stopping the spreading of breast cancer once discovered. Brain cancer studies are showing reduces tumor sizes when cannabinoids stimulate a process known as autophagy.
Marijuana is also widely prescribed as an analgesic, or painkiller. Muscle pains and spasms associated with multiple sclerosis have found benefits in using cannabis as a treatment for such issues. Sufferers of chronic back pain and spinal disorders have also found relief in marijuana as a medical treatment.
Cannabis has also been used to treat posttraumatic stress disorder, Tourette’s, anorexia, sleep apnea, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and those with depression. It’s uses in treating psychological or mental disorders have a long history and it is still unknown how effective cannabis is. Some researchers believe using marijuana can actually contribute to such disorders. Again, this has not been proved or disproved.
Yet, one fact cannot be debated: marijuana when used as a medicine is not nearly as risky as other prescribed drugs. The FDA did a study from 1997 to 2005 and reported zero deaths from the primary use of marijuana. 279 deaths were reported when combining marijuana with alcohol, prescription or illegal drugs, and other illicit substances. During this same span, FDA approved drugs were the primary cause of over 10,000 deaths.
And as bizarre as this may sound, marijuana has also been used to treat alcohol and other drug disorders. Studies show nearly 24 million people need treatment for abusing alcohol or drugs. Of this 24 million, roughly 40% abuse alcohol (or alcohol combined with another drug). 20% of this 24 million abuse heroin or opiates. Marijuana has been used to help users of these highly addictive drugs to cope with the comedowns or the process of quitting these substances altogether.
There are also a number of other ailments out there where medical marijuana or cannabis is being prescribed as a medical treatment. Here is a brief list:
Nausea, vomiting, premenstrual syndrome, insomnia, lack of appetite, spasticity, neurogenic pain, movement disorders, asthma, many types of cancer, glaucoma, alcohol abuse, bipolar disorder, depression, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, migraines, fibromyalgia, collagen-induced arthritis, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, chemotherapy, and spinal cord injuries.