Many patients are interested in medical marijuana but are afraid to bring it up with their doctors. Several conditions can be treated with cannabis, such as fibromyalgia, chronic pain, migraines, and glaucoma.
Medical marijuana, derived from the cannabis sativa plant, treats medical conditions such as nausea, pain, and loss of appetite.
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Many people who use medical marijuana do so to relieve symptoms of diseases and conditions. The most common symptom is pain, and cannabis is effective in relieving chronic pain for some people. It may also reduce the need for other medications, such as opioids.
Cannabis can help control nausea and vomiting associated with cancer treatments. It can also be used to help with weight loss and glaucoma. Those who have PTSD, which can be triggered by memories of war or other traumatic events, report that cannabis helps them relax and eases the symptoms of anxiety.
Medical marijuana received much attention a few years ago when parents of children with seizures reported that a particular form of the drug helped control their kids’ seizures.
Evaluating the effectiveness of Louisiana medical marijuana is difficult, hampered by the federal ban on government-supported research. Observational studies (where users report their experiences) and animal and test-tube studies can look promising, but there’s still a lot that we don’t know. In addition, long-term safety is unknown.
Pain is the primary reason for most patients seeking medical marijuana. While it may not be effective for acute, sharp pain (such as from surgery or a broken bone), studies show that cannabis is effective in managing chronic, persistent pain. Some patients find that it reduces or eliminates the need for opioid medications, which can have serious side effects, including addiction.
The pain-relieving effects of THC, the main active component in marijuana, have been documented in randomized controlled trials. These clinical trials are considered the gold standard of medical research. Unlike some other pain medications, which can have unpleasant and even dangerous side effects, marijuana has few, if any.
Medical marijuana also helps relieve chemotherapy-related nausea and stimulates appetite in patients suffering from wasting syndrome due to AIDS. It is also used to treat glaucoma; some doctors recommend it for PTSD in veterans returning from war zones.
Although some doctors shy away from discussing medical marijuana with their patients, others are catching up and educating themselves on this topic. Regardless of the physician’s opinion, the patient must be candid and open about their drug use so the doctor can evaluate any possible adverse effects or interactions. This is especially important if the patient has a history of psychosis, unstable heart disease, or lung problems.
Anxiety is often a debilitating symptom, especially when it becomes chronic. A person with anxiety might have difficulty sleeping, eating, or functioning during the day because of excessive worrying or anticipating a future threat.
Medicinal marijuana may relieve anxiety by calming the body and relieving the physical symptoms of stress. The herb has been shown to have anti-anxiety properties, but more research is needed. It can also help treat depression and reduce the effects of PTSD.
Medical marijuana has been shown to reduce the severity of pain in people with a variety of conditions, including peripheral neuropathy (nerve pain from diabetes), spinal cord injury, HIV-related muscle and joint problems, cancer-related nausea and vomiting, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. The drug also appears to help reduce the wasting syndrome associated with HIV/AIDS and the pain of Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel diseases.
Cannabis contains compounds called cannabinoids, which act on the body in ways similar to chemicals the body naturally produces.
Medical marijuana has been used as a sleep aid for conditions like fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and obstructive sleep apnea. People with insomnia due to chronic pain, anxiety, or depression have also found relief using this drug. Lack of sleep can lead to depression, substance abuse, mood swings, and memory issues.
In a study, the THC in cannabis seemed to soften fearful memories that cause PTSD nightmares and helped 47 people with PTSD get better sleep. Other studies show that a combination of THC and CBD, which do not produce the high associated with THC, may help improve sleep for those with obstructive sleep apnea, pain, anxiety, and fibromyalgia.
Finding a sleep aid that works for everyone can be challenging, as each person’s body responds differently. Your doctor can help you find the right drug for your condition and symptoms.
There are more than 100 active chemicals in the marijuana plant called cannabinoids. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the psychoactive component of cannabis and produces feelings of euphoria or “high.” CBD has no intoxicating effects and can reduce nausea, vomiting, pain, and muscle spasms. The FDA has approved a medicine made from the CBD in the cannabis plant to treat seizures caused by epilepsy. This drug, derived from the cannabis plant, has received FDA approval, marking a significant milestone.
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