What is medical marijuana?
Medical marijuana uses the marijuana plant or chemicals in it to treat diseases or conditions. It’s basically the same product as recreational marijuana, but it’s taken for medical purposes.
The marijuana plant contains more than 100 different chemicals called cannabinoids. Each one has a different effect on the body. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the main chemicals used in medicine. THC also produces the “high” people feel when they smoke marijuana or eat foods containing it.
What is medical marijuana used for?
Medical Marijuana: What Does It Treat?
More and more Countries and states are legalizing marijuana to treat pain and illness.
Medical marijuana is used to treat a number of different conditions, including:
Eating disorders such as anorexia
Mental health conditions like schizophrenia and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Wasting syndrome (cachexia)
But it’s not yet proven to help many of these conditions, with a few exceptions, Bonn-Miller says.
“The greatest amount of evidence for the therapeutic effects of cannabis relate to its ability to reduce chronic pain, nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, and spasticity [tight or stiff muscles] from MS,” Bonn-Miller says.
How does it help?
Cannabinoids / CBDs — the active chemicals in medical marijuana — are similar to chemicals the body makes that are involved in appetite, memory, movement, and pain.
Research suggests cannabinoids might:
- Reduce anxiety
Reduce inflammation and relieve pain
Control nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy
Kill cancer cells and slow tumor growth
Relax tight muscles in people with MS
Stimulate appetite and improve weight gain in people with cancer and AIDS
- Can medical marijuana help with seizure disorders?
Medical marijuana received a lot of attention a few years ago when parents said that a special form of the drug helped control seizures in their children. The FDA recently approved Epidiolex, which is made from CBD, as a therapy for people with very severe or hard-to-treat seizures. In studies, some people had a dramatic drop in seizures after taking this drug.