Top Ten Cannabis Use Reasons
As the Cannabis space begins to grow, it brings light to the pre-existing stereotypes that existed not only about the plant as a medicine, but those who use it. With new research that continues to develop, we can begin to alter society’s perception of Cannabis use, starting with these top 10 medical uses for Cannabis, and why they can make such a difference.
1. Chronic Pain Management
According to a survey published in 2012 by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, over 10% of Americans suffered from recurring pain every day for three months prior to the survey, and more than half the American population reported experiencing some sort of pain in the same period.
Along with such striking numbers, come high costs. Not only can the cost of pain killers be expensive but can also be the cause of lost wages. The total annual cost directly and indirectly for chronic pain in the United States is estimated to be as high as $294 billion.  The opportunity to use Cannabis as an affordable, yet effective alternative is tremendous.
Typically, opioids or analgesics are prescribed for the treatment of chronic pain. These drugs are known to be both addictive and toxic with harmful side effects. Medical cannabis on the other hand, has shown to be an extremely effective and safe treatment for chronic pain. Patients with chronic pain relating to the nervous system often notice improved symptoms after the use of medical cannabis, with very little side -effects.
2. Opioid Addiction
Opioid addiction and overdose has become increasingly prevalent in today's society; however emerging research shows Cannabis, specifically CBD, may help treat opioid addiction. Traditional opioids are associated with high risk of addiction, and more recently fatality when dosed improperly, whereas Cannabis offers similar benefits with less risk and health consequences.
CBD can inhibit addictive behaviour while improving one's ability to cope with stress. The benefits of Cannabis for patients with addiction make it easier to overcome addiction with lower chances of relapse. If used in combination with therapy, the calming effects of cannabis can also increase the efficacy of therapy.
Legalization of medical marijuana in twenty-eight U.S. states was associated with dramatic reductions in hospitalizations related to opioid dependence or abuse, and opioid overdoses with no associations with marijuana-related hospitalizations.
Muscle spasms, twitches and injuries are very common, and can range from minor occurrences such as strained muscles to those caused by illnesses such as Multiple Sclerosis, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Chron's disease. Typical treatments include prescription drugs and other alternative methods.
Through multiple studies, Cannabis has been proven to have effective anti-inflammatory properties. The use of cannabis can reduce the inflammation at the root cause of muscle spasms or twitches, and relieve associated pain. THC works against proteins causing inflammation, and eliminates the body's pain response to muscle injuries
4. Slowing Neurological Diseases
Cannabis is known to contain neuroprotective properties, and studies are revealing Cannabis' ability to slow the progression of many neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's, or reduce tremors and improve motor functions in Parkinson's patients. Other studies suggest THC blocks the enzyme in the brain that forms amyloid plaques. These plaques are responsible for killing brain cells and potentially causing Alzheimer's.
Basic scientific evidence suggests that cannabinoids may suppress neuronal excitotoxicity and neuroinflammation and be potentially beneficial in targeting plaque formation in
5. Depression, PTSD, Anxiety and other mental health conditions
Currently available medications used to treat many mental health problems work to varying degrees, often resulting in side effects that may make them ineffective for the patient. Cannabis by comparison offers an effective alternative that is generally well tolerated with fewer negative side effects.
Studies in both humans and animals have shown anxiety reducing properties, and positive results when treating PTSD. Particularly, the sedative properties of Cannabis can improve sleep quality and suppress nightmares. A recent study revealed a 75% reduction in PTSD symptoms when treated with Cannabis.
Several studies have shown Cannabis to be an effective treatment for symptoms and side-effects of Cannabis. Cannabis can relieve nausea and vomiting, stimulate lost appetite, and reduce pain from cancers.
In addition, research suggests that cannabinoids may have anti-tumour properties, and the ability to inhibit various progression of cancer cells. As an example, it has been found that CBD may have the ability to stop or slow cancer by decreasing expression of a gene called Id-1 in aggressive breast cancer cells. Moreover, the American Association for Cancer Research found that Cannabis also works to slow tumor growth in brain, breast and lungs.
Cannabis compounds have not only shown to reduce general epileptic seizures, but also those associated with treatment resistant epilepsy such as Dravet syndrome. Cannabinoids can help regulate the central nervous system and other bodily functions, playing an important role in management of epileptic seizures.
While evidence showing the effectiveness of Cannabis in treating epilepsy is still developing, there is a long way to go to determine how and why it works.
8. Nausea Suppressant / Appetite Stimulant
There is considerable evidence to suggest that Cannabis can regulate nausea and vomiting in the human body. CBD in particular seems to suppress nausea and vomiting within a limited dosage range. When impacted by conditions such as anorexia, depression, Chron’s Disease or more, Cannabis can help increase appetite and get nutrition to the body. Oddly enough, despite jokes that Cannabis causes “the munchies”, Cannabis has been shown to increase patients’ appetites and improve nutrition.
Dating back to the 1970s, Cannabis has showed that Cannabis lowers intraocular pressure in patients that experience normal pressure, as well as those with glaucoma. The reduced eye pressure reduces risk of developing glaucoma in patients.
There is more and more evidence becoming available that suggests Cannabis are effective for improving short-term sleep outcomes. Specifically, Delta-9 THC may decrease sleep latency, and CBD may be therapeutic for the treatment of insomnia.
Research pertaining to cannabis and sleep are still ongoing, but present numerous opportunities to solve everyday problems for individuals suffering from sleep problems.
Overall, despite the constant developing research relating to Cannabis, there are numerous known medical benefits regarding the use of Cannabis and derivatives. While only the main uses are listed above, as research grows and expands, the opportunities will as well.
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