Benefits of Cannabis
Cannabis has been used to treat a variety of diseases for more than 2,000 years. Research has shown that the herb has a multitude of health benefits. In fact, cannabidiol, a compound found in cannabis, has been approved to be used for treating some types of epilepsy. Let’s take a look at some of the health benefits of this wonderful herb.
Alleviates Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is the main cause of disability and about 25 million Americans are affected by this condition. A comprehensive review analyzed over 10,000 scientific studies on the negative effects and health benefits of cannabis.
The review found that marijuana or products that contain cannabinoids are effective at alleviating chronic pain. Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds found in marijuana and bind to the same brain receptors as marijuana.
Fights Alcohol Addiction
A review published in the journal Clinical Psychology Review discovered that cannabis use may assist individuals with opioid or alcohol dependence in fighting their addictions.
Conversely, another review suggests that cannabis use, in fact, increases the risk for abusing substances or becoming dependent on them.
Eases Symptoms of Depression
The review published in Clinical Psychology Review evaluated all scientific studies that examined the use of cannabis to treat symptoms associated with mental illness.
Investigators found that cannabis use may help ease symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. However, they caution that cannabis is not a suitable treatment for mental conditions such as psychosis and bipolar disorder.
The review suggests that cannabis might help reduce symptoms linked to social anxiety. However, according to a review conducted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, people who use cannabis habitually may be at higher risk of social anxiety.
Back in 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of a CBD-based drug called Epidiolex to treat Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, rare types of epilepsy that are hard to control with other types of medicines.
A study found that CBD use led to fewer seizures among kids with Dravet syndrome, compared with a placebo. Dravet syndrome seizures are lethal, repetitive, and prolonged.
In the study, 120 teenagers and kids with Dravet syndrome were given a placebo or an oral CBD solution for a continuous 14 weeks, together with their regular medication.
Scientists found that the children who were treated with the CBD solution experienced a reduction in seizures – the number decreased from 12 seizures per month to six seizures per month. Three kids who were treated with the cannabidiol did not experience any seizures.
Kids who were treated with the placebo reported a reduction in seizures, but this was imperceptible — their number of seizures reduced from 15 seizures per month before the study to 14 seizures each month during the study.
The research concluded that cannabis can significantly benefit people suffering from Dravet syndrome. However, scientists also observed side effects associated with CBD. Few children who were treated with CBD experienced fever, fatigue, and vomiting.
Relieves Cancer Symptoms
Evidence suggests that oral cannabinoids are effective in treating nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. Also, according to small studies, smoking cannabis may also help mitigate these symptoms.
Some studies indicate that cannabinoids may either retard the growth of or destroy some types of cancer. However, early studies showed that cannabinoids are not effective at curing or controlling cancer.
Reduces ADHD Symptoms
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a brain disorder affecting around 6%–9% of young adults and children, and about 5% of adults all over the world. People suffering from this condition experience difficulty in concentrating on tasks, display signs of restless behavior and frequently fidget. Medical professionals normally prescribe stimulant medications, such as Adderall or Ritalin, to treat ADHD.
These medications help correct the levels of a neurotransmitter in the brain called dopamine. However, they are not without side effects. Experts believe that ADHD may arise from a deficiency of dopamine in the brain.
Some individuals use cannabis as a treatment option to circumvent the negative effects of ADHD medications. A 2017 study found that participants treated with cannabis showed small improvements in ADHD symptoms and no cognitive impairments.