Medical marijuana (also referred to as medical cannabis, medical weed, medicinal marijuana and medical pot) is an affordable, safe and effective alternative for many expensive, ineffective and highly addictive prescription medicines. Medical marijuana use is legal in many states, and there are hundreds of medicinal uses for marijuana.
Below is a general list of ailments with symptoms and/or side effects that have been treated with medical marijuana. Please click on the ailments below for more detailed information. For additional information on treating a specific ailment, check out our ailment resources.
Different states have different qualifying conditions for medical cannabis. For example, patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) qualify for medical marijuana treatment in Florida but not in New York as of this writing.
However, there are certain health issues that just about all states include on their lists of qualifying conditions: AIDS, cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis. Here’s some information on how medical marijuana is used to treat each of them.
AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is the last stage a person with HIV goes through. It results in a severe breakdown of the immune system and is almost always fatal. Common symptoms include:
AIDS makes it extremely difficult for the body to combat several types of diseases, and makes patients very susceptible to a wide variety of infections, including pneumonia and tuberculosis.
But just as there are several symptoms caused by AIDS, there are several ways medical marijuana can help people suffering from the disease. One of the most serious symptoms is known as “wasting syndrome,” which results in dramatic and sudden weight loss. Medical pot is one of the best treatment options for this problem, because it helps to increase a user’s appetite. In addition, marijuana also reduces nausea and vomiting, making it easier for food to provide much-needed nutrients to the body.
Medical marijuana is also very effective in decreasing the amount of pain that’s associated with AIDS. Some patients use it in conjunction with certain opiates, and they find they no longer have to take as high a dose of opiates as a result. The lower the dosage of opiates, the lower the chances of experiencing any of the negative side effects of the drugs.
Cancer is a general term that applies to more than 100 conditions that typically involve malignant cells invading surrounding tissue throughout the body. While each form of cancer has its own particular characteristics, symptoms typically include fever, cough, severe weight loss, fatigue and substantial pain.
Treatment options for cancer, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery, often lead to excruciating pain and other severe side effects. Many studies show that medical cannabis can be extremely effective in helping to mitigate many of these side effects, as well as many of the symptoms that cancer patients typically experience.
The main component of marijuana, THC, has been proven to help relieve pain as well as reduce vomiting and nausea. Several major studies have even shown that medical pot can be effective in fighting cancer cells and preventing the spread of tumors.
Cannabinoids, the molecular components found in marijuana, have also shown promise in helping to relieve symptoms and reduce the severity of side effects. These components are typically used in edibles as well as liquids and oils. Cannabinoids can also help speed “apoptosis,” or the death of cancerous cells.
This is a central nervous system disorder that usually results in the patient experiencing convulsions and a loss of consciousness. Epilepsy causes seizures, which are a result of intense electrical activity in the brain. While the main cause of epilepsy is unknown in most cases, tumors, infections and brain damage can play a role.
Traditional medications used to treat epilepsy are often helpful in controlling convulsions, but can have severe side effects, such as:
Many patients suffering from epilepsy use medical marijuana, either on its own or in association with other medications. Some patients find that pot helps control their convulsions so effectively they don’t need to take any other medicines.
Glaucoma is a disease that affects the eye, leading to vision problems, ocular pressure and eventually blindness. Severe pain, vomiting, nausea and tunnel vision are just a few of the symptoms. It’s estimated that more than 3 million people suffer from the disease in the U.S.
Traditional treatments include surgical procedures and medications designed to help prevent further damage of the optic nerve. In order to do this, intraocular pressure must be lowered. Medical cannabis may be able to help reduce this pressure, and as a result slow the progression of the disease.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology stated in 2003 that marijuana derivatives can lower pressure when administered intravenously or orally.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a debilitating central nervous system disorder that is often fatal. Medications typically prescribed for the disease can result in many different types of side effects, including headaches, pain in the joints, flu-like symptoms and others. These drugs can also lead to heart damage and make patients much more susceptible to infections.
Medical cannabis, however, has been shown to reduce problems such as muscle spasms, pain, tremors, bowel dysfunctions and more in many MS patients.
*This text is for informative purposes only regarding medical marijuana qualifications, and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice from a doctor. Always consult your physician before making any decision on the treatment of a medical condition.
*Please note that not all ailments listed are approved by each state as a medically sound reason to receive a medical marijuana recommendation. Click here for detailed information about each state’s medical marijuana laws.