Medical marijuana uses the marijuana plant or chemicals in it to treat diseases or conditions. It's basically the same product as recreational marijuana, but it's. It could be from headaches, a disease like cancer, or a long-term condition, like Doctors also may prescribe medical marijuana to treat. The term medical marijuana refers to using the whole, unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extracts to treat symptoms of illness and other conditions.
Marijuana Which Conditions Medical How Treats Works, and It
It won't get you high, because it doesn't contain THC tetrahydrocannabinol , the chemical in cannabis that makes you high. In the meantime, the unlicensed medication can be prescribed for patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome both rare forms of epilepsy. Nabilone can be prescribed by a specialist to help relieve these symptoms, but only when other treatments haven't helped or aren't suitable.
Nabilone is a medicine, taken as a capsule, that has been developed to act in a similar way to THC the chemical in cannabis that makes you high. You may have heard it described as a "manmade form of cannabis". The medicine has been licensed in the UK. This means it has passed strict quality and safety tests, and is proven to have medical benefit. It is licensed in the UK for people with MS-related muscle spasticity that hasn't got better with other treatments.
But its availability on the NHS is limited. There is some evidence medical cannabis can help certain types of pain, though this evidence is not yet strong enough to recommend it for pain relief. It's likely most of these products — even those called "CBD oils" — will be illegal to possess or supply. There's a good chance they will contain THC, and may not be safe to use. Health stores sell certain types of "pure CBD".
However, there's no guarantee these products will be of good quality. And they tend to only contain very small amounts of CBD, so it's not clear what effect they would have. The risks of using cannabis products containing THC the chemical that gets you high are not currently clear. That's why clinical trials are needed before they can be used. Cannabis bought illegally off the street, where the quality, ingredients and strength are not known, is the most dangerous form to use.
Read about the risks of regularly smoking cannabis. It contains an array of potentially medically useful chemical substances, several of which have been clinically investigated for the treatment of different medical conditions. As David Gorski has pointed out in previous posts , there are a number of biologically active chemicals in marijuana. Cannabinoids are produced in the stalk, leaves, flowers, seeds and resin of marijuana plants.
Marijuana can be smoked, vaporized, or eaten, among other forms of ingestion. THC is rapidly absorbed, and when inhaled, reaches the brain within minutes. Oral absorption is lower owing to a significant reduction in available drug after passing though the liver. These chemicals bond to cannabinoid receptors on cells throughout the body, triggering or modulating different effects.
Marijuana immediately affects and impairs attention, concentration, memory, learning and motor coordination, proportional to the dose. You might wonder why our cells have receptors for THC and other cannabinoids. It is absolutely plausible that drugs that target endocannbinoid receptors, like THC or derivatives , have the potential to produce beneficial medicinal effects, given the presence of receptors on nearly every organ system.
That could mean products that produce beneficial effects and minimize any adverse effects e. Cannabinoids are highly fat soluble and so are difficult for the body to eliminate — the complete elimination of a single dose may take up to one month. With repeated doses, levels can rapidly accumulate. While the liver eliminated cannabinoids, even the metabolites of THC can persist in the body, and there is little relationship between the levels of THC found in the blood and the degree of THC-induced effects.
Owing to metabolism in the liver, THC has the potential to interact with other drugs. The overall impact has not been well studied. As a drug, there is lot we do not know about marijuana.
However, we can be confident in observing that there is little acute toxicity of marijuana, unlike many other drugs and substances. While not addictive, there are also cases of cannabis use disorder, which while infrequent, can occur. It should be acknowledged that cannabis use disorder is a minor public health issue compared to the widespread harms and mortality caused by substances like alcohol and opioids.
All the documents are available online, and are fully referenced , but I will summarize each document here:. Evidence for inhaled marijuana for pain is too sparse and poor to provide good evidence-based guidance. Synthetic MC-derived products may modestly improve neuropathic pain for one in users but perhaps not for other pain types.
Additionally, longer and larger studies better evidence show no effect. Adverse events are plentiful. The full document is available here. Compared to placebo, medical cannabinoids cause multiple different adverse events in patients, from visual disturbance or hypotension 1 in to hallucination or paranoia 1 in Stopping due to adverse effects occurs in 1 in every patients. Regardless of the type of medical cannabinoid used, adverse events are common and likely underestimated.
Given the extensive harms, potential benefits must be impressive to warrant a trial of therapy. For most conditions example anxiety , cannabinoid evidence is sparse at best , low quality and non-convincing.
Studying marijuana under rigorous circumstances has been difficult until fairly recently. The other issue is the challenge of a proper placebo control, particularly for non-oral forms of use. Given the psychoactive effects and the widely heralded effects on conditions that can only be assessed subjectively, like nausea, fatigue or appetite, a proper placebo is essential to separate out actual from placebo effects.
While some commercial products have been developed and marketed with standardized ingredients and quality control e. However, these purified and standardized products have allowed for proper placebo controls and more rigorous assessments of effectiveness.
Marijuana and Cancer
So how, exactly, does medical marijuana work to treat these conditions? Why, if this medicine is so effective for some people, does it remain controversial and. Conditions include insomnia, arthritis, cancer, MS, etc. Research suggests cannabis can help patients treat the pain and muscle general health perception, ability to work and depression all saw notable improvement. While medical cannabis can be used to treat a variety of health conditions and While the exact mechanisms of how this works are not yet fully.