Cannabis may still be prohibited by the U.S. federal government, but that doesn’t mean the prized plant isn’t a medicine. While federal prohibition may make scientific research on cannabis harder to complete, many studies have shown that the plant has wide-reaching medicinal benefits. Research continues to show that for dozens of conditions, cannabis could be a natural solution.
As of 2018, 29 U.S. states have legalized cannabis for medical use. In the U.S., legalized medical cannabis is gaining more support than ever, with an 84-percent approval rating according to recent survey data.
Even the National Institutes of Health recognizes the medical benefits of cannabis – and it’s a federal organization. All this has left many people wondering why cannabis prohibition is still running strong in the U.S. But despite prohibition’s dampening effect on research, the science on medicinal cannabis continues to pour in. Here are 10 health conditions scientifically shown to have success with cannabis treatment:
1. Cannabis can relieve many types of pain
For chronic pain sufferers of any kind, cannabis can bring relief with fewer side effects and less risk than many mainstream treatments. Studies of patients with peripheral neuropathy have shown that pain reduction can be observed within a week of regular use. CBD, or cannabidiol, is thought to be the key pain alleviator here; reports say that it “reduces the inflammatory response and binds to TRPV1 receptors, which are capable of mediating antihyperalgesic effects.”
Chronic pain can come from many different sources, but for fibromyalgia patients, cannabis could be very effective. Studies also show that it can relieve other types of pain, like arthritis. While not every person with chronic pain finds relief from cannabis, many do. In fact, pain is the most common reason people ask their doctors for medical marijuana.
2. Relief from anxiety
In the right amount, cannabis has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress in users. However, the dose makes the poison: For many people, too much cannabis can cause anxiety to spike instead. CBD oil can also help reduce feelings of anxiousness.
3. Eases depression
Studies have shown that the infamous plant has anti-depressive benefits as well. Specifically, the plant compound CBD has been shown to exhibit similar effects on depression as pharmaceutical antidepressants.
4. Cannabis protects brain cells
Despite popular belief, cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant can actually help protect your brain – especially CBD. Sources say that CBD is “proven to reduce short-term brain damage and was associated with extracerebral benefits.”
5. Fights Alzheimer’s disease
In addition to protecting the brain against damage, studies have shown that THC, a compound in cannabis, can slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, the plant may help reverse the degenerative condition entirely.
6. Relieves the symptoms of MS
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a serious disease with no currently known cure. But studies have shown that cannabis can provide much needed relief to people who have MS – especially those struggling with painful muscle spasms. Muscle spasticity effects an estimated 90 percent of MS patients. Studies show that cannabis can help relieve this symptom; survey data indicates that as many as 97 percent of MS patients could benefit from it.
7. Eliminates nausea, increases hunger
Cannabis can help reduce feelings of nausea in patients suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS and other debilitating conditions. Furthermore, in patients with poor appetite, the plant medicine may help increase overall tolerance of food.
8. Treats IBD
For patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), cannabis could be a novel treatment that provides symptom relief. Studies suggest that both THC and CBD (two well-known cannabinoids) play an important role in gut function – and the benefits can’t be ignored.
9. Cannabis reduces seizure activity
There is much to support the fact that cannabis reduces seizure activity in people with seizure disorders. There is a mountain of evidence which shows children with intractable seizures have experienced a drastic reduction in seizure frequency thanks to cannabis.
10. It prevents tumor growth
Studies have repeatedly shown that cannabis has anti-cancer benefits. One woman reportedly cured her breast cancer with nothing but cannabis oil in a matter of months.