Marijuana as a medicine is in usage since ages owing to its benefits on our endocannabinoid system. Due to the restrictions levied on this green flower, only the black market customers could avail the benefits. However, after the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in an increasing number of U.S states including other countries, people are now witnessing growing practice for several treatments.
States with legalized medical cannabis have witnessed a 24.8% lower annual opioid overdose mortality rate in comparison to others without such laws. This validation of medical marijuana is simultaneously seeing the replacement of prescriptions drugs for its ability to treat a wide range of illnesses.
How many and why let us understand it from the following:
Cannabis Replacing Anti-Depressant Drugs
The age is so where millions of young adults are victims of depression. Studies have claimed that medical cannabis could substitute up to 12.7% of prescribed anti-depressant medicines. Prescribed ones usually come along with side effects like headache, anxiety, rashes, low blood sugar level, weight loss and so on. Cannabis works miraculously in improving mood disorders without leaving any form of side effects. Cannabis-containing high levels of beta-caryophyllene, which comprises of 12%-35% of cannabis sativa plant essential oil, can prove to boost brain receptors, treating depression. It has therapeutic benefits, helping activate CB2 receptors, without producing any psychoactive effect. This one is found in strains like OG Kush and Sour Diesel. Indica strain Death Star contains the highest level of B-caryophyllene.
Avoid Painkillers – Smoke Cannabis
We are all aware that prescribed painkillers are associated with a number of long term side effects. Painkiller abuse has even led to quite a number of deaths every year. This is the reason why people are opting for other improved solutions to pain relief. The efficacy of marijuana in treating chronic pain is time and again realized in research conducted.
Marijuana strains are highly used for dealing with chronic pain with specific preference to cannabis indica plants showing positive results in treating non-migraine headaches, neuropathy, joint pain, etc. THC and CBD components of marijuana work in reducing pain where the former, as a psychoactive component activates the brain giving a feeling of high reducing levels of pain and the later interacts with pain receptors to put forth pain-relieving effects. Consumption has to be strictly observed under proper guidance. Some over the counter painkillers can be easily replaced with medical cannabis like Sativex, a mouth spray used for treating neuropathic pain.
Sleeping Aid VS Medical Marijuana
About 40% of Canadians and 30% of Americans suffer from insomnia issues. Sleeping pills like Doxylamine, Melatonin, Ramelteon, and many more such prescription sleep drugs come with warnings on its reactions depending on the patient. People are now choosing an alternative to these by leaning towards medical cannabis which is helping to sleep sooner and longer. In particular, THC strains are most effective in relaxing body and relieving pain allowing Cannabinoid receptors in our body to normalize sleep. Medical cannabis having balanced proportion of THC and CBD is basically recommended. These are accessible online sold by authorized dispensaries directly to consumers. It is beneficial to have an idea about the best online dispensary Canada to easily get your hands on legalized quality products.
Anxiety Treatment with Medical Marijuana
As mentioned above, medical marijuana works on the endocannabinoid system enhancing the functioning of body receptors to deal with anxiety, pain, and stress. Marijuana tends to have potential effects on managing anxiety by providing relaxation and a sense of calmness. CBD helps in increasing the level of 2-AG (2-arachidonoylglycerol) and THC works on brain receptors altogether enabling the brain to release more of neurotransmitter GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid). This controls the anxiety response to external stressors. A study conducted in 2010 showed the benefits of cannabidiol in reducing social anxiety in SAD patients. Anxiety medications like Benzodiazepines, Xanax, Clonazepam, Valium, etc. also affect GABA levels similarly. But what follows is a series of side effects like memory impairment, confusion, and muscle cramps and so on. Due to these adverse effects patients are looking for replacing anti-anxiety medications with medical cannabis.
Glaucoma Treatment with Medical Cannabis
Besides pain management with marijuana, the next most sought treatment is for Glaucoma. According to a research report, marijuana and THC has shown signs of lowered intraocular pressure (IOP) which is a key contributor to glaucoma. The drug when smoked or ingested creates an ocular hypotensive effect which lasts for about 3-4 hours. Although the benefits tend to last only for a few hours, yet as an alternative smoking cannabis or ingesting THC in any form can help treat the issue. Do not rely entirely on this and seek some professional advice before indulgence.
Anti Inflammatory and Marijuana
Anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen are usually accessible in any drugstore easily to treat muscle ache, headache, arthritis, joint pain, etc. People taking this medicine have witnessed allergic reactions including itching, swelling of hands and breathing troubles. In such cases, cannabis, having anti-inflammatory properties is likely beginning to replace such over the counter medications rapidly. Beta-caryophyllene, mentioned earlier, activates CB2 (cannabinoid) receptors in our body to restrain inflammation. The results are positive without leading to any psychotropic effects.
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Alzheimer Medications and Cannabis
The THC compound found in marijuana can help in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. How? Cannabis prevents the accumulation of amyloid beta protein in the brain, which is responsible for initiating the disease. While other Alzheimer’s disease drugs like Donepezil, Rivastigmine may prove to be helpful but the effects wear out after a few months leading to worsening conditions. These also include side effects like loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. Alzheimer’s disease may affect three times more population in the next 50 years or so. Cannabis can surely assist medical industry in combating the development of this disease.
Epilepsy Treatment with Marijuana
Reports indicate usage of cannabis were in practice from ancient and medieval times to treat epilepsy. Medical cannabis is legally available today and is a reliable and accessible alternative to other prescribed medications for the disease. Recently in June 2018, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration, US) has approved Epidiolex, a CBD oral solution for treating Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS). It is a highly purified form (approx. 98% oil-based) CBD extract of cannabis, proving to be a substitute in preventing seizures. Other seizure medications (Phenobarbital, Briviact, Carbatrol, etc.) may cause unavoidable side effects like fever, infections, liver and pancreas problems, bleeding, etc.
Nausea and Medical Marijuana
Nabilone, an FDA approved synthetic cannabinoid drug, works as a natural treatment for dealing with nausea and vomiting caused during cancer treatments. You can also use it to treat anorexia and weight loss issues found among AIDS patients. Warnings of drug abuse and over dependency come along with man-made capsule. Acquainting patients with its right dosage and side effects can help in making informed decisions. Another approved capsule, called the Dronabinol, having similar properties works the same. Patients failing to respond to other medications can try their hands on these drugs under proper observations.
ADHD Medications vs Medical Cannabis
ADHD medicines are stimulant medications that can enhance mental functioning by awakening brain cells. The strains of cannabis sativa plant also lead to an intellectual high, raising dopamine levels, making the brain more attentive. It can deal with impulsivity in children as well as adults. ADHD medications like Ritalin, Adderal, do have some common side effects like loss of appetite, headache, insomnia, dizziness and other psychological reactions. People are opting for replacement of such medications with medical cannabis in order to avoid these adverse reactions. ADHD medications also are very expensive and account for $42.5 billion dollars in the USA.
There is a bundle of other medicines containing cannabis compounds, waiting to get approval from the FDA and other countries. To name a few- Dexanabinol (neuroprotective, probable anti-cancer drug), CT-3 (spasticity and neuropathic pain), Cannabinor (anti-inflammatory), HU 308 (hypertension), Acomplia and Taranabant (anti-obesity) and many more still undergoing research in labs to obtain acceptance for medicinal use. Marijuana is definitely an alternative to opioids, but nevertheless, its consumption should always be under the scrutiny of a medical professional. There may be patients who may not benefit or whose condition may worsen by cannabis. Lack of knowledge about different medical cannabis, dosage, methods of ingestion can turn out to be fatal.
To sum it up medical cannabis has and will continue replacing other traditional prescribed drugs. It may not entirely be able to throw them off the market but can complement as a viable option for treating diseases.