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What are the Health Benefits of Medical Marijuana?

People have used marijuana to treat specific illnesses and conditions for thousands of years. The first documented use of marijuana for medicinal purposes was in 2737 BC by the Emperor of China. Throughout time, marijuana has become more commonly accepted to be used for medical purposes after many studies have come out proving the medical benefits of the plant.

Journals such as the American Journal of Clinical Oncology, the British Journal of Clinical Pharmocology, and the Journal of Pain have shown the significant benefits associated with medical marijuana use across a wide range of demographics and health conditions. Today, 30 states and DC in the United States have legalized the plant along with 30 other countries in some capacity.

How Does Medical Marijuana Help Different Needs?

There are two main cannabinoids, chemical compounds that stimulate neurotransmitter release in the brain, that aid in the medicinal benefits of marijuana. These two compounds are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is responsible for the “high” or “euphoric” feeling that one gets after consuming traditional forms of marijuana while CBD is more responsible for feelings of calmness and pain relief. But how do these two benefit the body when marijuana is consumed?

Medical Marijuana for Stomach Issues

Many who consume of marijuana flower joke of getting “the munchies,” a sensation that increases the user’s appetite significantly while under the influence of the plant. Although this may sound like a drawback, it can actually be very beneficial for those who have a loss of appetite due to treatments such as chemotherapy.

MMJ is also great for helping with nausea. The endocannabinoid system in the brain is able to affect certain areas of the brain that control nausea and vomiting, helping the consumer keep major side effects at bay. Some of the approved conditions that the plant helps with in terms of nausea are Crohn’s Disease and HIV/AIDS.

Medical Marijuana for Pain

Medical marijuana is most commonly used to treat pain. In fact, pain is the main reason why patients seek out medical assistance, affecting more than 25 million adults in the United States. Chronic pain cannot often be treated or controlled properly with traditional forms of medicine due to how hard it may be to pinpoint the source of the pain. In Pennsylvania, medical marijuana has been approved to treat many different conditions that involve pain, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cancer (chemotherapy treatment), Crohn’s Disease, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, neurodegenerative disorders, Parkinson’s Disease, and terminal illness.

Both THC and CBD have been found to effectively relieve pain, although it is not fully clear how they can treat pain. Endocannabinoids produced in the body affect various processes such as inflammation and pain. Some studies suggest that the cannabinoids are able to directly suppress peripheral nerve pain, resulting in less discomfort by the consumer.

Medical Marijuana and PTSD, Anxiety, and Mood Disorders

Emotional pain is very similar to physical pain when it comes to treatment. It can be very hard to pinpoint the specific source of the pain, making treatment difficult, because pain cannot necessarily be seen. While physical, chronic pain can leave an individual out of work, bed-ridden, and damage their ability to live a fulfilling life, emotional pain is no different.

The most common treatments for emotional pain are medications such as anti-depressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), beta-blockers, benzodiazepines, and more. Many of these medications have side effects such as increased suicidal thoughts, thoughts of self-harm, the potential for addiction, and worsening depression, although not extremely common. Medical marijuana is an effective alternative to standard mood medications because has not been found to increase any of those risks.

It has been determined that chronic stress (a main factor in PTSD and a contributor to anxiety and depression) suppresses the brain’s production of endocannabinoids. This can lead to depression-like behavior. By introducing cannabis into the system, normal levels and function of the brain can be restored, thus improving the mood of the consumer. Marijuana’s “high” feeling, stemming from the THC, also gives the consumer a sense of euphoria, distracting them from negative thoughts and offering them a different perspective of the world around them.

Other Health Benefits of Medical Marijuana

As previously stated, some pain medications, such as opiates and other pain-killers, are highly addictive. Marijuana is not addictive and proves to be the safer choice for all pain-related ailments. Additionally, marijuana is the overall safer choice in terms of health risks. From 2000 to 2015, over 500,000 people died from a drug overdose. It is simply not possible to overdose on marijuana.

The marijuana plant is full of health benefits and, although heavily studied, not all of its benefits have fully been determined yet. Although not yet proven, research has been conducted to suggest that marijuana can also help to sustain metabolic health, regulate blood sugar, help with sleep issues, and improve immune system functions.

Talk to Your Doctor

In Pennsylvania, medical marijuana can be treated for 21 approved conditions. If your condition qualifies for a medical marijuana prescription, be sure to talk to your doctor about your options and apply for a medical marijuana card. Although it may feel embarrassing bringing up the topic of medical marijuana with a doctor, you will be surprised about how many doctors are becoming more and more knowledgeable and accepting of the subject. Your doctor will be able to help you determine the correct dose for your particular ailment along with which forms of consumption are best for you. If you’re not sure where to go to get your medical marijuana card, please contact us and we’ll help you find a doctor that can get you your certificate.

How Restore Integrative Wellness Center Can Help

Interested in learning more about the benefits of medical marijuana? We act not only as a marijuana dispensary but as a place of healing to enhance the quality of life of our patients. Our dispensary is a clean and relaxing environment, designed so you can be comfortable while receiving the care and education that you need. Please feel free to call us to book a phone consultation with our pharmacist and find the best treatment plan for you.

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