Marijuana has been increasingly growing as a topic of conversation.
As marijuana use has become more mainstream, the narrative surrounding marijuana and those who use it has shifted. Researchers and psychologists are starting to uncover a number of benefits provided by the compounds found in marijuana, and many of the myths surrounding the drug are now being busted.
One myth commonly uttered by marijuana detractors is that it is a gateway drug. Research, instead, has found that this is not true, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Marijuana use is on the rise, and more than 50 million Americans currently use marijuana on a monthly or yearly basis. Support for recreational marijuana use is also growing, but the debate is still split amongst Americans with only 62% of polled Americans supporting the legalization of marijuana. Still, despite this controversy, the rates at which medical and recreational marijuana are being legalized is booming across the globe and throughout America. Currently, 11 U.S. states have legalized recreational marijuana, and numerous countries have either decriminalized or legalized marijuana use including Portugal, Spain, and Canada.
Additionally, more than 20 U.S. states have broadly legalized medical marijuana. With marijuana statistics like these, it’s no surprise why doing research on marijuana is so popular among scientists today.
8 Surprising Medical Uses for Marijuana
Thanks, in part, to the rise in the demand for marijuana legalization, researchers and scientists have turned their attention to the medical benefits of marijuana. Surprisingly, the list of benefits marijuana and its compounds provide is seemingly ever-growing. The following is a list of the top 10 medical benefits of marijuana use.
Marijuana Offers Pain Relief
It’s no secret the America is in the midst of an opioid crisis. According to the CDC, more than 100 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, and nearly 48,000 Americans died from an opioid overdose in 2017. Research and anecdotal evidence has shown that marijuana can be used for pain relief, and doctors and scientists are finding ways to use medical marijuana to alleviate various forms of chronic pain by adjusting doses and strains of marijuana. As medical marijuana become a more normalized and utilized form of pain management, rates of opioid use and abuse could potentially go down, decreasing the number of opioid deaths in America each year.
A Fatal Overdose of Marijuana isn’t likely
Unlike opioids and other hard drugs that kill hundreds of Americans every day, marijuana can’t be fatally overdosed on. Actually, it’s best to say that it’s highly implausible that anyone will fatally overdose on unlaced marijuana. This fact makes it a safer choice than most other drugs and alcohol.
Marijuana has been shown to relieve the effects of Multiple Sclerosis
A research study conducted at the University of California, San Diego, and published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found that participants who were treated with marijuana suffered muscles spasms due to MS at a 33% decrease in score as measured by the Ashworth scale which measures spasticity. This decrease in score was in comparison to participants who received the placebo.
Additionally, 50% of the participants who received the marijuana treatment reported a decrease in perceived pain. In other words, half of the treated participants reported feeling less pain.
Military vets report that marijuana helps alleviates their symptoms from PTSD
A growing number of military veterans are asserting that marijuana use is helping them to cope with and lessen the symptoms of PTSD. Thousands of vets have reported that using marijuana has helped them cope with PTSD-related depression, anxiety, and nightmares. Their claims are not unfounded as marijuana research is moving closer towards showing a correlation between marijuana use and a decrease in PTSD symptoms.
A compound present in Marijuana can slow and stop cancer cells from growing
Studies and scientific researchers are showing a link between various forms of marijuana use and cancer treatment. Cannabidiol, a chemical compound that is prominent in marijuana, has been found to successfully be able to stop and slow down the spread of cancer cells. This study was published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, and the study was performed on cells rather than people. Scientists are hopeful that the results will be successfully replicated upon further research on humans.
Because they recommend that more research be done first, the American Cancer Society do not support marijuana as form a cancer treatment, but the option to use medical marijuana is available for cancer patients following an informed discussion with their doctor or healthcare provider.
Studies show that marijuana can decrease the effects of severe forms of Epilepsy
Numerous studies have shown the beneficial effects the chemical compounds active in marijuana have on the severe symptoms of epilepsy. In fact, the results of those studies were so conclusive that in 2018 the FDA approved a drug that is comprised of an ingredient active in marijuana. The purpose of the drug is to treat rare and severe forms of epilepsy such as Dravet Syndrome. The compound present in marijuana that combats epilepsy improves the lives of its users by minimizing the number of seizures they have to endure on a daily basis as well as lessening or removing their other symptoms altogether.
Marijuana may stop or lessen nightmares caused by PTSD or Nightmare Disorder
Though the research on marijuana’s effect on nightmares and sleep in general is in its infancy, the prospects so far are in favor of marijuana being able to stop or decrease the frequency of nightmares for military vets and citizens with PTSD as well as for sufferers of Nightmare Disorder (ND).
Marijuana can heal the brain from trauma
Early research on mice show that marijuana helps the brain protect itself from trauma and damage. Harvard professor Lester Grinspoon wrote an open letter to Roger S. Goodell, Commissioner of the National Football League (NFL), urging him to explore marijuana’s effects on the brain and its possible ability to combat the NFL’s staggering rate of brain damage and abuse suffered by its professional athletes.
As evidenced by this list of marijuana statistics, marijuana use comes with a host of potential benefits. As doctors, scientists, and researcher explore more about this complex drug, more of its secrets and positive benefits will be uncovered. Marijuana use is on the rise, and as more and more people continue to try it, it’s important to remember that at the end of the day, it is still a drug and its use should be done with care.
Marijuana can react with people’s bodies differently, and some people have even reported having an allergic reaction to the drug. It is a plant, after all. While most allergic reactions to marijuana are minor, some people may suffer more adverse effects from the drug. Caution is recommended when using.