the science behind the therapeutic effects of medical marijuana
Medical marijuana, also known as medical cannabis, is marijuana that is used to treat various medical conditions, including chronic pain, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis. While there is still much to be learned about the therapeutic effects of medical marijuana, research has shown that it has a range of potential benefits. In this article, we will discuss the science behind the therapeutic effects of medical marijuana.
The therapeutic effects of medical marijuana are primarily due to the presence of cannabinoids, chemical compounds found in the marijuana plant. The two most well-known cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the psychoactive compound that produces the “high” associated with marijuana use, while CBD is non-psychoactive and has a range of therapeutic effects.
The body has its own endocannabinoid system, which is made up of receptors that are activated by cannabinoids. These receptors are found throughout the body, including in the brain, immune system, and organs. When THC and CBD bind to these receptors, they can produce a range of therapeutic effects.
One of the most well-known therapeutic effects of medical marijuana is pain relief. Cannabis has been used for pain relief for thousands of years, and research has shown that it is effective in reducing chronic pain. In a study published in the Journal of Pain, researchers found that medical marijuana was effective in reducing chronic neuropathic pain and improving sleep.
Medical marijuana may also be effective in reducing inflammation, which is a key factor in many medical conditions, such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis. It is known that cannabis strains, containing CBD levels equal or higher than THC, have positive effects on muscle spasticity (4) and pain in PwMS (5). These positive effects of cannabis on spasticity and pain and its safety have also been emphasized by the American Academy of Neurology (6).
In addition to pain relief and anti-inflammatory effects, medical marijuana has a range of other potential therapeutic effects. These include:
- Reducing anxiety and depression: Medical marijuana has been shown to improve mood and reduce anxiety in individuals with anxiety and depression.
- Improving sleep: Medical marijuana has been shown to improve sleep quality in individuals with insomnia and other sleep disorders.
- Reducing nausea and vomiting: Medical marijuana has been shown to be effective in reducing nausea and vomiting in individuals undergoing chemotherapy and other treatments.
- Reducing seizures: Medical marijuana has been shown to be effective in reducing seizures in individuals with epilepsy.
Overall, the therapeutic effects of medical marijuana are due to the presence of cannabinoids, which bind to receptors in the body to produce a range of therapeutic effects. While more research is needed to fully understand the therapeutic effects of medical marijuana, it has shown promise in treating a variety of medical conditions.
Disclaimer: Views expressed here are those of the author and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare practitioner.