The use of medical marijuana has expanded rapidly in recent years. With the increased supply and use of medical marijuana comes more questions about it's health effects. More research is being published each year showing that marijuana is more many more uses other than recreational.
Clinical evidence has revealed that compounds naturally found within marijuana such as cannabidiol (CBD), and the psychoactive-inducing cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), provide remarkable health benefits for a range of diseases and disorders.
According to Harvard, the primary use of medical marijuana in the United States is for pain. While medical marijuana isn't strong enough for very severe pain (such as after surgery), research has shown that both cannabinoids - CBD and THC - alleviate pain.
THC is cited as being best for neuropathic pain, while CBD is cited as being best for inflammatory pain. Medical marijuana helps to alleviate pain by its action on neurotransmitters, and its effects on cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2.
A condition that medical marijuana has been shown to help manage is the pain associated with multiple sclerosis (MS). Research has also shown that medical marijuana can be beneficial for neuropathic pain caused by HIV.
Marijuana flowers contain the cannabinoids THC and CBD. THC is the cannabinoid which causes the psychoactive effects marijuana is most well known for. CBD is a cannabinoid which doesn’t induce psychoactive effects, but still produces a number of effects in the body beneficial for health.
Some researchers have argued that the combination of CBD and THC together in its natural state is more effective medicinally. This beneficial synergy is known as the entourage effect. Whether CBD and THC isolated or combined will work better is going to be highly dependant on the individual.
CBD has been shown to reduce inflammation, improve sleep quality, decrease anxiety, relieve pain and reduce muscle spasms. CBD is particularly appealing for patients as not everyone wishes to experience the high accompanied with THC consumption.
THC has also been shown to be beneficial for easing nausea and vomiting, protecting brain cells and triggering neurogenesis (the growth of new brain cells), as well as improving symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). THC is also particularly effective at increasing one's appetite, which is helpful for those who suffer from anorexia or use medication that suppresses their appetite.
Overall, the adverse effects of medical marijuana are minimal. Some common side effects may include a dry mouth and fatigue, while in certain people a large dose of marijuana can induce anxiety or dizziness.