How Does Marijuana Help Patients?
Before we can delve into the medical benefits of marijuana, we should first take a look at how cannabis actually helps the patients that use it. To do this, we must look closely at the marijuana plant itself.
The cannabis plant has chemical compounds within it called cannabinoids. There are over 85 different types of these special chemicals within the plant. These cannabinoids have different effects on the user. The most known one is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and is known for giving users the high feeling they experience; though THC also has many medicinal effects as well.
Another major cannabinoid found within the marijuana plant is cannabidiol, or CBD. Like THC, CBD is psychoactive, meaning it can affect a person's central nervous system, but it is not intoxicating. This is one reason that different strains of marijuana that contain higher levels of CBD have the ability to ease certain ailments and illnesses.
The human body produces its own version of cannabinoids called endocannabinoids. These naturally produced chemicals are manufactured by the body and have been shown to support memory, mood regulation and more. Receptors for these endocannabinoids are found throughout our bodies.
The cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant latch onto the endocannabinoid receptors. It is through this process that the medical benefits of marijuana begin to aid patients.
Medical Benefits of Marijuana for Pain Management
Many people live with chronic pain due to a major illness or disease. In medical and scientific studies around the world, the medical benefits of marijuana and its contained cannabinoids has been proven to help relieve these pains. Some of the chronic pain marijuana has been proven to alleviate comes from major diseases, such as:
- Some types of Cancer
- Multiple Sclerosis
While this is not an extensive list of illnesses that cause chronic pain alleviated by marijuana, they are just a few that have been proven effective in several studies and tests.
Therapeutic Medical Benefits of Marijuana
While relief of chronic pain is a major medical benefit of marijuana, there are also several possible therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana. Studies have been conducted that have shown the cannabinoids in marijuana can help patients find some relief from such serious illnesses as:
- Alzheimer's Disease
- Some types of Cancer
- Sleep Apnea
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease)
- Tourette's Syndrome
- Gastrointestinal Disorders
Again, this is not an exhaustive list of illnesses with symptoms that are alleviated by cannabis, but they are just some of the ones that have proven to either be effective in treating or have possible benefits associated with medical marijuana.
Medical Benefit of Marijuana vs Traditional Pharmaceuticals
Why would patients prefer to receive the medical benefits of marijuana when there are pharmaceuticals on the market that can help in many of the same ways? There are several reasons, and some depend on the specific ailment the patient is attempting to relieve. Overall, there are many strong reasons to choose medical cannabis over traditional drugs.
Marijuana is less addictive than many drugs, both over the counter and pharmaceutical grade. Especially when dealing with pain management, patients can become highly reliant on the drugs they are taking. Marijuana has been shown to have a much less addictive quality than say Oxycontin or even Tylenol.
The medical benefits of marijuana in helping patients with many illnesses and ailments are being proven in study after study all around the world.
Compared to the dangers of traditional pharmaceutical drugs, the medical benefits of marijuana far outweigh any possible negative effects.