Over the past several years, the medical benefits of marijuana have become the subject of hotly-contested debates in the medical community and among the general public. Although there are a number of recognized beneficial effects of using marijuana, there are also purported ‘benefits’ that seemingly fall under the category of anecdotal evidence or unfounded claims.
While most marijuana proponents would be eager to espouse the benefits of using marijuana, such unfounded claims often serve to muddle the issue and weaken the argument for medical marijuana. In order to clear the air and clarify the issues, we present here some of the proven benefits of medicinal marijuana as recognized by the medical science establishment.
Medicinal marijuana has been proven to be especially useful for pain relief. Much of marijuana’s pain-relieving properties are due to the plant’s THC content, although CBD or cannabidiol is also thought to impart some relieving properties of its own. Studies have shown that THC serves to activate central nervous system pathways that then block pain signals that would normally be sent to the brain.
Studies suggest that marijuana may be effective for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is thought to be related to the effect that THC has with regard to temporary memory impairment, which in such cases may be seen as a positive benefit. While memory impairment is generally seen as a negative effect of marijuana use, people with PTSD may actually benefit from this temporary effect, as it would help them overcome a number of PTSD-related symptoms such as anxiety, flashbacks, and nightmares.
Marijuana can be an effective remedy for controlling nausea. In fact, THC is the primary active ingredient in medications intended for controlling nausea and vomiting since the 1980s, when it was first made available to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Marinol was the first medication produced for this particular purpose, although its primary active ingredient was a synthetic form of THC. Since then, a number of other THC-based medications have been introduced for the controlling of nausea.
THC is also known as an effective appetite stimulant. Along with its nausea controlling qualities, this makes marijuana ideally suited for chemotherapy patients for whom treatment often results in nausea and loss of appetite. Some studies have even suggested that marijuana may be effective at helping anorexia patients regain their appetite and to help in their weight gain.
Interestingly enough, marijuana has also been shown to be effective in the treatment of asthma. In fact, data on the effectiveness of marijuana as asthma treatment medication has existed since the 1970s. Although subsequent experiments to develop an effective THC delivery method have failed in this regard, it would seem as if modern vaporizers may yet provide a feasible alternative for asthma treatment.
One of the earliest recognized benefits of marijuana was its effectiveness for glaucoma treatment. Studies have shown that THC actually helps relieve pressure in the eyes, which is one of the most debilitating effects of glaucoma. Although the effects of THC in this regard have been deemed as much too short-lived to justify medicinal marijuana for glaucoma patients, the pressure relieving effect of THC does indicate future potential for THC-based glaucoma treatment.