The benefits of cannabis as medicine may still be hotly debated among politicians, but the millions of people who have seen their symptoms lessened — or alleviated completely — will argue that there is no question. As the number of states that have legalized pot for medical use indicates, acceptance of the plant continues to increase across the nation.
These are just a few of the ways in which marijuana, cannabis, pot, reefer — take your pick! — can help people suffering from serious diseases and conditions.
Just about everyone knows someone who has been diagnosed with cancer or done battle with the disease. There are more than 100 varieties of cancer, many of which are extremely familiar (skin, breast, lung, etc.) and others that are more obscure (adrenal cortical, endometrial).
Cancer treatment typically involves extremely invasive surgeries as well as chemotherapy, which requires the use of incredibly harsh drugs. These and other treatments can have devastating side effects that rob patients of their quality of life. There are several studies, however, that indicate cancer patients can experience a wide variety of marijuana medical benefits.
For example, medical marijuana can help offset not only some of the effects of the disease itself, such as nausea, vomiting and many others, but also the side effects of treatment, such as severe pain.
Recent research even indicates that marijuana may also have properties that will help fight cancer outright. Cannabinoids, one of the main components of the cannabis plant, have shown promise in helping to reduce the spread of tumors.
Peripheral neuropathy occurs when the central nervous system is damaged. Your nerves make up an extremely sophisticated network of communications, sending signals back and forth between the brain and other areas of the body.
People who have peripheral neuropathy can experience symptoms ranging from rather mild to very serious. These include:
In severe cases, a patient can find it difficult to easily digest food, breathe or even move. Some forms of the condition disappear rapidly, while others gradually worsen over time. The most common cause of peripheral neuropathy is physical trauma, but it can also be inherited genetically.
The type of treatment doctors typically recommend for this condition will depend on the severity of the patient’s symptoms. Conventional treatment usually involves first identifying the underlying cause, such as a herniated disc that’s putting pressure on a nerve. Steroid injections are usually prescribed, as well as other medications designed to reduce pain. These include opioids, anti-depressants, anti-seizure medications and others.
Peripheral neuropathy is just one of many conditions that show the benefits of marijuana as medicine. Weed is a safe, effective alternative to dangerous medications and surgeries, providing relief from pain without the negative — and often times permanent — side effects.
Often called Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS is a progressive illness that damages nerve cells found in the spinal cord and the brain. Over time, patients encounter a gradual loss of muscle control. They eventually find it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to speak, swallow or even breathe. Paralysis is common in the later stages of the disease, which is always ultimately fatal.
Medical cannabis has shown to be effective in alleviating pain and many other ALS symptoms. Research also suggests that the psychoactive compound in marijuana, THC, could possibly slow the progress of the disease and potentially even help extend the lives of patients.
These are just some of the many medical marijuana benefits that have been well-documented. Hopefully, marijuana will one day be removed from the list of Schedule I drugs and further research can be conducted. Perhaps millions more patients will be able to enjoy the benefits of cannabis as medicine in a few years’ time.