“The question of whether marijuana—produced from the flowering top of the hemp plant, cannabis sativa—should be used for symptom management in MS is a complex one,” cautions the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in an article on its website. “It is generally agreed that better therapies are needed for distressing symptoms of MS—including pain, tremor and spasticity (stiffness and muscle spasms)—that may not be sufficiently relieved by available treatments. Still, there are uncertainties about the benefits of marijuana relative to its side effects.”
Depression: Are marijuana users less likely to be depressed?
For many, cannabis is a go-to option: mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders, mood disorders (like depression) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are the tops reasons U.S. patients use cannabis, per a 2019 report by CB2 Insights.
Way back, too, cannabis was used and advertised as an anti-depressant. English clergyman Robert Burton once recommended “using ‘hemp-seed’ for curing depression in his book, The Anatomy of Melancholy, first published in 1621,” The GrowthOp reports. Moreover, data from a 2006 study evaluating 4,400 adult Internet users, also found there was decreased depression in marijuana users.
Anxiety: How can pot make people anxious and, conversely, aid in treating anxiety?
The trick is in figuring which cannabis strain to pick.
From a panic attack to generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), anxiety can manifest in numerous ways and is characterized by an inner state of unease. “As anxiety disorders go, GAD is one of the most common—studies indicate it may affect about three of the Canadian population any given year,” TheGrowthOp reports.
A 2018 Canadian study by Whistler Therapeutics was able to identify strains that helped reduce symptoms, and others that had the opposite effect. THC “and trans-nerolidol (an essential oil found in the cannabis plant) have significant correlations with increased anxiolytic (preventing anxiety) activity. Other cannabis compounds such as Guiaol, eucalyptol, γ-terpinene, α-phellandrene, 3-carene and sabinene hydrate all have significant correlations with decreased anxiolytic activity. Further studies are needed to better understand the cannabis varieties,” the study adds.
Insomnia: With weed, sleep might not remain an elusive dream
Caffeine can’t always be blamed if a good night’s rest is far, far away. Nearly 50 percent of the adult population in the United States experience sleeping problems. That number is no joke; neither is the data that suggests cannabis can help reduce that number.
The 2018 study highlights how sleep aids, including antidepressants, benzodiazepines and anti-psychotics, have enormous negative side effects.
Once again, CBD takes the spotlight when it comes to treatments for epilepsy; the most commonly used strain, in this case, is Charlotte’s Web.
The strain, which has high-CBD and low-THC, is named after Charlotte Figi, a Colorado resident who suffered from a rare form of epilepsy called the Dravet’s Syndrome and experienced repeated seizures. But it is extremely important to note that “cannabis has only been shown in children with rare genetic seizure disorders. These children have either Dravet’s Syndrome or Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome,” The GrowthOp reports.
Nausea: Cannabis helps with nausea, but why can’t pregnant mothers use it?
For a lot of cancer patients, traditional medicine just doesn’t help when it comes to treating nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy (CINV). Cannabis, in this case, has offered a welcome Plan B for some.
C.T.E., short for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, is a neurodegenerative disease that results in brain and part of the nervous system to worsen over time.
Accounting for cannabis’ pain management properties, cannabis can potentially be an option for players. While the research, in this case, is nascent, an Israeli study on rats and mice found how endocannabinoids reduced brain damage. Another study on rats, published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, found that “cannabis had neuroprotective (protecting and preventing nerve injuries and degeneration) qualities as an antioxidant.”
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