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Media 丨 2021.07.09

Medical Conditions Treated by Cannabis in the U.S.

Despite cannabis becoming more culturally and socially acceptable in the U.S., which is highlighted by its legalization in several American states, it can still sometimes be viewed in a misconstrued negative light, especially in regard to its recreational use. This is greatly due in part to the various positive benefits of using or producing cannabis that are often overlooked or unrealized. In particular, a rather significant benefit of utilizing marijuana is its ability to serve as a form of medicine for certain ailments, disorders, and diseases. If more people in the U.S. were aware of marijuana’s medicinal capabilities and the various medical conditions that it is able to alleviate, the negative perspective associated with this drug that certain Americans still hold could be further mitigated. This is why at Cilicon, it is a part of our goal to educate people on cannabis and its medicinal properties, and the medical conditions that it is able to treat.


What is Medical Marijuana

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Before exploring the various medical conditions and ailments that medicalized cannabis is able to treat, it is imperative to first explore and explain what medical marijuana is. Unlike the recreationally used cannabis that is typically consumed for the associated “high,” medical marijuana does not induce intoxication due to its lack of the chemical THC. THC, which actually means tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical in cannabis that “causes the ‘high’ that goes along with marijuana consumption” (Grinspoon, 2020). Medicinal marijuana lacks THC in it due to it mostly consisting of the cannabis component known as CBD. Referred to as cannabidiol, CBD is one of the main chemicals found in cannabis, and even ore so is one of the main chemicals used in such medicine. 

The significant reason that medicinal marijuana is able to alleviate certain ailments is due to the cannabinoids within this medicinal drug. Cannabinoids, which are the “active chemicals in medical marijuana” are rather integral in treating certain medical conditions since they are “similar to chemicals the body makes that are involved in appetite, memory, movement, and pain” (WebMD, 2020). Since medical marijuana contains cannabinoids that mirror chemicals that are already naturally present within the human body, it is able to further assist these bodily chemicals. Essentially, when a person is inflicted with a harrowing condition or disorder that hinders the natural components within the body from efficiently performing protective measures against certain ailments, medical marijuana is utilized to facilitate and strengthen the body’s ability to fight off or ease the effects of particular medical conditions. In light of this, it is now integral to review the various medical conditions that medicalized cannabis plays a significant role in treating. 


Medical Conditions That Can Be Alleviated by Cannabis

There are several medical ailments, disorders, and conditions that medicinal marijuana is able to treat. 

Chronic pain

As mentioned previously, the cannabinoids in medical marijuana mimic chemicals within the body that are involved with aspects such as pain. In light of this, the medical condition of chronic pain is a rather pivotal and common ailment that is treated with medical marijuana. In fact, it has been found that more than “600,000 Americans turn to cannabis for relief from chronic pain,” which has been found in studies to have “reduced pain by 40 percent” (Harrar, 2019). This is a rather significant finding in regard to the medicinal benefits of cannabis use since the condition of chronic pain can derive from a wide number of other diseases or disorders that inflict physical pain and discomfort. In particular, some of the various ailments that induce chronic pain are “peripheral neuropathy (nerve pain from diabetes), spinal cord injury, HIV or complex regional pain syndrome, cancer, chemotherapy, muscle and joint problems, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis” (Harrar, 2019). In seeing that there are a significant number of medical ailments and diseases that contribute to the collective condition of chronic pain, it is no wonder that there are so many Americans inflicted with chronic pain who turn to medicalized cannabis to alleviate their bodily pain. This further signifies why cannabis is a great form of treatment for medical conditions such as this one.

Insomnia

This condition is one that people are often surprised can be mitigated by cannabis use. Admittedly so, while the scientific proof for marijuana being helpful in aiding in a person’s sleep has been rated as “moderate” by the National Academies, a Colorado study found that more than 1 in 3 individuals utilized cannabis for sleeping, with 86% citing that it actually helped (Harrar, 2019). However, as noted in a Palo Alto University review, medical use of marijuana for treating insomnia can be tricky if the right amounts of THC and CBD are not present. In regard to THC, lower levels have been found to help while higher levels have been found to actually keep people awake. Contrasting this, low levels of CBD can actually interfere with a person getting good sleep, while higher levels can help a person sleep longer and even reduce waking up in the middle of the night. In light of this, it is quite imperative for an insomnia inflicted individual to be aware of the chemical levels in their medicinally used marijuana. 

Anxiety

As a medical condition that greatly impacts a person’s mood, medicinal use of cannabis has been found to be quite instrumental in lifting up those inflicted by anxiety. In a 2018 volunteer-based study, it was found that medicinal use of cannabis was actually more affective for treating a person’s anxiety, reducing their use of the “commonly prescribed anxiety-reducing benzodiazepine,” which went down by 47% (Harrar, 2019). However, when it comes to treating anxiety with cannabis, the significance of it having low THC levels is rather important. A 2017 study found that smaller doses of THC in marijuana helped to reduce anxiety, whereas high levels of THC actually increased one’s anxiety. In review of this finding, this is why even though cannabis can help in uplifting a person’s mood, it is safer to acquire legit and legal medical marijuana so that they do not worsen their already anxious condition. This is why it is imperative to know how you can go about properly acquiring medicinal marijuana. 


Conclusion: How to Safely Obtain Medical Marijuana

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For anyone looking to efficiently treat a prevailing medical condition with medical marijuana, it is important for them to know how to go about safely and legally acquiring it. In conjunction with needing to an ailment that would actually qualify for medicinal marijuana use, a person will also need a “written recommendation from a licensed doctor in states where that is legal” (WebMD, 2020). As long as you try to acquire medical marijuana in the 33 states within America that have legalized medicinal use of cannabis, and an approved doctor recommendation, medical marijuana can successfully be used to mitigate one’s medical condition.