Medical cannabis has been growing in demand and popularity over the past few years. In fact, the Global Medical Marijuana Market is forecast to reach $148.35 billion by 2026. This market growth is being driven by use cases of marijuana and its natural chemical extracts that are proving beneficial for many patients. Below, we take a look at five benefits of medical cannabis for different health conditions.
1. It can be used for pain control
The number one benefit of medical cannabis is pain control. It can help in medical cases of chronic pain that often prevent sufferers from achieving a higher quality of life. These conditions can include fibromyalgia and endometriosis.
The extract, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), works as a muscle relaxant without highly sedating the patient. This benefit of medical cannabis can help users to get on with their daily activities while pain in their joints (as an example) is minimised.
2. It soothes anxiety
Not only does cannabis work as a muscle relaxant, it also acts as a mood regulator. By using the Cannabidiol extract, otherwise known as CBD oil, patients can be treated for anxiety with little-to-no side effects.
A recent study concluded that medical cannabis in the form of CBD can help to alleviate anxiety. Anxiety scores decreased “within the first month in 57 patients (79.2%) who took CBD oil and remained decreased during the study’s duration”.
3. It can control severe periods of nausea
Medical cannabis has been used in some instances to help patients control their nausea. This is hugely beneficial for cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy. THC plays an important role in alleviating this sickness and is prescribed to patients through a medicine called Nabilone. This is taken as a capsule and works by decreasing the signals from the brain that lead to nausea and vomiting.
4. It can encourage weight gain
When it comes to the recreational use of marijuana, it is often associated with “munchies”. Research has proven that THC does trigger hunger. Jon Davis, Ph.D., a researcher in the Department of Integrative Physiology and Neurosciences at Washington State University explains increased cannabis exposure “caused more frequent, small meals”.
This medical application of cannabis can be used in conditions such as anorexia and even HIV to prevent weight loss. By stimulating appetite and hunger, patients can take another step to eating a balanced and healthy meal, which will help them while on the road to recovery.
5. It can reduce muscle spasms
Medical cannabis can also be used in severe cases of multiple sclerosis (MS). Prescribed in the form of a cannabis-based spray, medicines such as Nabiximols can help to reduce long-term pain. They work by relieving muscle stiffness and encouraging elasticity. This is achieved as medical cannabis can have a direct impact on the body’s central nervous system.
In the recent study “Exploring cannabis use by patients with multiple sclerosis in a state where cannabis is legal”, many participants (60%) believed that cannabis had at least some benefits on MS symptoms, especially pain, anxiety, and muscle spasms. This shows the practical uses of marijuana for different illnesses.
As more research is carried out into the benefits of medical cannabis, it won’t be surprising to see additional use cases in different countries. This could have a knock-on effect on healthcare and even regulation. So far, medical cannabis is only available to patients who aren’t responding to standard treatments but this approach could be relaxed in the future!
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