Over the past twenty years, many in the medical community have seen marijuana as an alternative treatment for many illnesses and injuries. In 1996, California became the first state to legalize medicinal marijuana.
Many other states have followed suit since then; however, gaining access to medicinal marijuana is still difficult for patients who live in states where medicinal marijuana is illegal.
Medicinal marijuana has many benefits, ranging from pain management to mood stabilizer. Hopefully, marijuana laws become laxer, creating an environment where medical marijuana is more accessible.
Marijuana has been shown to help patients manage pain. Kathleen Doheny explores the use of medical marijuana for pain management in her WebMD article, “Marijuana Relieves Chronic Pain, Research Shows”. In this article, she explains how Mark Ware, an MD from Montreal, conducted a study with 21 people (1).
In his study, Ware found that patients who used marijuana stated that their pain decreased from a 10 to a 5.4 on the pain scale (2). While marijuana may not be as effective as opiates in pain management, marijuana is much safer and less addictive. Ware states, “We’ve shown again that cannabis is analgesic. Clearly, it has medical value” (2).
Marijuana also has antidepressant properties in low doses. In 2007, McGill University conducted a study that focused on the effects of synthetic cannabinoids on rats’ brains. Dr. Gabriella Gobbi states, “Low doses had a potent antidepressant effect, but when we increased the dose, the serotonin in the rats’ brains actually dropped below the level of those in the control group.
So we actually demonstrated a double effect: At low doses it increases serotonin, but at higher doses the effect is devastating, completely reversed” (McGill 1). Surprisingly, responsible marijuana use helps fight depression.
Marijuana has been shown to help people cope with anxiety. The strain of marijuana used has a profound effect on the marijuana’s anxiety-soothing properties. Indica, high in cannabinoids, has a relaxing effect; meanwhile, Sativa, high in THC, can make one more anxious. Indica is widely regarded as relaxing.
More people should look to marijuana as a solution to their pains. Often, the FDA allows drugs far more dangerous than marijuana to be prescribed to patients. Marijuana has been shown to be physically non-addictive. Because of its properties, marijuana may become a more prevalent medicine in the future.
Doheny, Kathleen. Marijuana Relieves Chronic Pain, Research Show. WebMD. 30 Aug. 2010. Web. 10 Mar. 2016. http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/news/20100830/marijuana-relieves-chronic-pain-research-show.
McGill University. “Cannabis: Potent Anti-depressant In Low Doses, Worsens Depression At High Doses.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 October 2007. Web. 10 Mar. 2016.<www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071023183937.htm>.