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Medical marijuana can be used to treat a myriad of medical conditions. It is utilized effectively around the world to help alleviate the symptoms of those who are suffering. This article should go some way to help explain exactly what can be treated, and how medical marijuana does so.
Most ailments that are treatable with medical cannabis can be loosely divided into one of two categories, physical and psychological. There is no real way to cleanly divide ailments, as they are a result of very complicated changes throughout the body, often resulting in both physical and psychological symptoms - but for the sake of ease we have tried to do so.
Depending on the strain of weed that is chosen, you marijuana is likely to be better suited to the treatment of one of these categories. Saying this, It should be noted that it is possible to get mixed, hybrid strains that can be effective at relieving both categories of ailment.
Medical cannabis works through its chemical compounds, they interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors within out brain and nervous system to produce a “high”, effectively altering the perceptions of the brain and nervous system.
“Physically” based ailments that can be treated with medical marijuana tend to be focused around muscle and central nervous system problems. You will find that an indica strain is commonly chosen to treat these for their physically relaxing and numbing effect.
The following conditions are examples of those which respond well to the use of medical cannabis.
A major ailment that the use of medical marijuana is associated with is the treatment of chronic pain, often a symptom of much wider, more serious conditions. The way it works is rather interesting. Smoking medical cannabis does not actually reduce the amount of pain, it reduces the activity of the parts of the brain that register it. What this means is that your nerves are still feeling the same intensity of pain, but the cannabinoids make your brain ignore it, giving the feeling of relief. It is the patient's perception that changes, not the actual level of pain. This is partly why it is more effective for some people than others.
Multiple sclerosis is a condition of the central nervous system. The coating around nerve fibers gets damaged which results in a range of symptoms - one of which being spasms and tremors. A lot of recent studies and testimonials of MS suffers have advocated the use of medical marijuana for its treatment. The muscle relaxation and neurological effects marijuana has can help reduce the amount and severity of uncontrolled spasms.
Nausea and vomiting, especially in chemo patients, can be helped with the use of medical marijuana. As the cannabinoids react with the brain and spinal cord it can help dull our senses, this goes a long way to stopping the brain from initiating a nauseous response to various stimulus - such as chemo.
CB1 receptors are associated with many things within the body, one of the being appetite control. As the chemical compounds resulting from the use of medical cannabis interact with them, they produce a number of effects to make you hungry. It causes the stimulation of the hypothalamus – the section of the brain which regulates how hungry we feel; it stimulates the limbic forebrain, making food seem more appealing and palatable; the reward center of the brain is also affected, making us feel better after we have eaten. This effect is often called the “munchies” by recreational users, but it has very useful and serious applications for those suffering with eating disorders.
“Psychological” ailments treated with medical cannabis also revolve around the effects cannabinoids have on the brain and nervous system. Generally speaking, sativa strains excel at the treatment of psychological woes. This is because their highs tend focus on a cerebral effect more than a body “stone”. This is simply down to the THC and CBD content and ratios of the cannabis. Both sativa and indica contain the same medically useful compounds, but in different ratios and quantities – inducing different effects. The following conditions respond well to treatment with sativa based medical marijuana.
Stress is the body’s response to a challenging situation. It can have a negative effect on both the body and mind if endured for a long time. Medical marijuana can help relieve stress, it does this in the same way that other prescribed drugs such as benzodiazepine do, it reduces the activity within the central nervous system – making you a bit more relaxed and carefree. When combined with the stereotypical uplifting effect of a sativa high, it can offer a great deal of relief.
Anxiety is the uneasy feeling of dread you get when you know there is some kind of impending stressful or negative situation. It is not the same as fear. Medical marijuana works to reduce anxiety in the same way it does stress – the reduced activity of the central nervous system and parts of the brain, allowing the user to become a bit more carefree for a while.
There are many types of depression, but most of them result in the patient having a low mood, very little motivation, poor concentration and a lack of self-worth. There has been much research into how marijuana effects depression, some say it is a cause, others say it is a treatment. What we can say for sure is that unfortunately, there is not definite answer.
Marijuana's use for medical purposes has been associated with elevated mood, improved sense of well-being and a reduction in anxiety within patients – all of which are symptoms of depression. Many depressed users report that it helps, but it can vary person to person.
Insomnia is a psychological disorder with physical symptoms. Usually this ailment is best treated with an indica for its sedative effects. This drowsiness can be the extra little push an insomniac needs to drift off to sleep.
As you can see, there are many medical conditions and symptoms that can benefit from the use of medical marijuana. The main problem is that because it is such a complex drug, there is a lot of conflicting information and studies available. There has also not been much government scientific research into its medical properties as most countries consider it illegal. This means that it is only in recent years, as medical cannabis becomes more accepted, that we are beginning to develop a true understanding of how to fully utilize it. The above information is meant to be a rough guide, even the variations between cannabis strains will have a varying effect on different people - whilst we have recommended indicas for more physically based ailments, you may find it is a sativa that really helps you out.
Disclaimer: Please note, we are not doctors nor are we qualified to give medical advice. We cannot accept any responsibility should your experience of medical marijuana differ in any way from what is described in this article. The above information is based on the experience of others, we have not conducted our own medical research. If you want to be sure, please ask your doctor.