Cannabis is emerging as a promising treatment option for a wide variety of diseases and conditions. Medical patients get an authorization from a licensed doctor, which is essentially a prescription of grams/day. The buds are the same, but the intent is often different. Recreational consumption is usually taken with the purpose of getting high, whereas medical cannabis is used to treat persistent and debilitating conditions.
The cannabis plants contain hundreds of cannabinoids, which are similar to chemicals the human body makes. THC and CBD are the two most commonly known cannabinoids. They, and the others, interact with our bodily processes involved in appetite, memory, movement, and pain.
According to WebMD, medical cannabis is used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, appetite loss, cancer, Crohn’s disease, eating disorders, epilepsy, glaucoma, mental illnesses, multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms, nausea, and pain. Patients who use medical cannabis claim that the plant allows them to enjoy the activities they loved before their illness. They also report experiencing less negative side effects from other treatments.
Medical cannabis has been legal in Canada for over a decade and is approved for multiple conditions. Cannabinoid treatment is different for everyone, depending on their physical properties and symptoms. Clinical studies and research are still in the preliminary stages. As evidence around cannabinoid treatments grows, the therapeutic effects on major diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Cancer.
There is evidence that cannabis can lead to improvements in patients’ mood, sleep, and behavior for those living with Alzheimer’s disease. There isn’t enough evidence at this point in time to know if cannabis treatment reduces the progression of the disease. However, cannabis treatment has been found to improve patient’s quality of life, easing symptoms of the disease.
High THC treatment might even be helpful in preventing Alzheimer’s disease based on a 2014 study. No one’s entirely sure what causes the disease, but it is likely a result lesions on the brain. This study shows that there was a decrease in the buildup of one of the lesions forming proteins, amyloid beta protein, with THC treatment. However, more research and clinical trials are needed to provide further insight into the potential benefits
There is increasing evidence that cannabis is an effective treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Medical cannabis can lessen tremors in the disease and is a known muscle relaxant. CBD based treatment seems particularly promising for patients living with Parkinson’s. Patients taking CBD show an improvement in pain, tremors, psychosis, sleep and quality of life.
Cannabinoid therapy is also used to treat the debilitating side effects of Levodopa, the most common treatment for Parkinson’s. Prolonged use of the drug may cause agitation, anxiety, confusion, tremors, and nausea. Medical cannabis can be effective in reducing these side effects for Parkinson’s patients.
Medical cannabis helps lessen cancer symptoms as well as treats the adverse effects of common cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy. Cannabis can improve cancer related symptoms like pain, nausea, and inflammation. There is even some research showing that cannabis compounds may slow cancer growth and shrink tumors.
People with cancer who use cannabis say that it helps increase appetite and suppress vomiting. The appetite stimulating effects of THC help mitigate cancer treatment related weight loss. A CBD based treatment may enhance absorption and increase the potency of certain cancer drugs. Cancer patients also experience persistent chronic pain that is often resistant to opioid painkillers. Medical cannabis has been shown to provide relief to pain from inflammation, nerve damage, damage from tumor growth, and chronic pain.