Medical marijuana has become widely accepted in recent years, with many states making the decision to legalize the use of cannabis. Although the federal government has not yet changed the drug laws across the nation, even the Department of Justice has largely accepted the changes that states have made.
There are medical marijuana dispensaries popping up all across the states where it’s legal, and there are even companies like BioTrackTHC offering specialized software for dispensaries selling marijuana!
Acceptance of medical marijuana use is driven by changing attitudes towards marijuana among the public as well as by medical evidence that shows marijuana has plenty of health benefits.
Past evidence has shown that medical marijuana can have a positive impact on many health problems and medical conditions. Seven of the health benefits that have been linked to medical marijuana and that make cannabis worth legalizing include the following:
These are a few of the many important reasons why medical marijuana should be legalized. For many patients, the proven health benefits of cannabis products significantly outweigh any possible health risks of taking marijuana.
- Medical marijuana can relieve pain: A 2010 study from the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that cannabis was an effective pain reliever. The cannabis provided an analgesic quality and the chronic pain sufferers who were involved in the study and who used a high-THC strain of cannabis three times daily experienced a reduction in pain level from 6.1 to 5.4.
- Medical marijuana can help fight insomnia: The National Cancer Institute revealed that test subjects who used medical marijuana experienced less anxiety and improved moods. Those who had use a cannabis product in a spray extracted from the plant reported that they got more sleep and were better rested.
- Medical marijuana may be able to help relieve epileptic seizures: There have been multiple stories of families moving to Colorado, where medical marijuana (and recreational marijuana) are legal to find assistance with medical problems. There is a specific strain of marijuana called Charlotte’s Web and that has reportedly helped to reduce seizures in children who have intractable seizures. Existing drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration have not helped these children to stop having seizures, and some of the kids who are affected were having as many as 400 seizures each day. Charlotte’s Web is a low-THC strain which has proven effective at reducing seizures significantly. This particular strain of the drug is not psychoactive and kids who take the drug do not get high.
- Medical marijuana reacts with endocannabinoids. When the body comes into contact with cannabis because it is consumed through smoking, eating or in pill form, the body produces molecules that are called endocannabinoids. The endocannabinoids interact with CB1 receptors, which are found mostly in the spinal cord and the brain. The endocannabinoids also interact with CB2 receptors that are found largely within the immune system. The interaction between the endocannabinoids and the CB1 and CB2 receptors helps to produce a euphoric state that dulls the senses to various unpleasant and undesirable symptoms the body experiences.
- Medical marijuana can help to ease the symptoms of nausea and vomiting. Clinical trials conducted by the National Cancer Institute revealed that two cannabinoid drugs, nabilone and dronabinol, had a positive impact on reducing both vomiting and nausea in cancer patients. These drugs are oral medications derived from cannabis and approved by the FDA. The studies showed that the cannabis-based drugs work better than many weaker FDA drugs designed to help cancer patients battle these symptoms.
- Medical marijuana is an appetite stimulant. Patients with many medical conditions struggle to keep their weight up. This can include cancer as well as HIV/AIDS. Clinical trials conducted by the National Cancer Institute found that patients who had either HIV or AIDS and who were losing weight had an increased appetite after taking dronabinol. They stopped losing weight and did better after taking the drug derived from cannabis than patients in the study who were given a placebo.
- Medical marijuana can help with muscle spasms. A 2004 study from the American Cancer Society showed that patients who use a liquid cannabis extract with both THC and cannabidiol experienced a reduction in symptoms. These patients had less muscle shaking and fewer spasms. Another study on patients with severe MS also found a decrease in muscle stiffness and tremors.
Michael Friedman is an advocate for the legalization of medical marijuana. His passionate point of view has garnered him a following around the web.