The more we learn about cannabis, the clearer it becomes that we have been neglecting a vital source of medical treatment. Cannabinoids, which are various compounds unique to the cannabis plant, affect the human body in unique and various ways, often providing much-needed relief and aid to systems that desperately need the help.
While most people have heard that cannabis can be effective in helping cancer patients and those with severe forms of epilepsy, few know the extent of the health care community’s applications of medical weed. Here are a few serious and widespread medical conditions you likely didn’t know can be managed with cannabis treatment:
Calling Crohn’s an inflammatory bowel disease doesn’t exactly do justice to the extreme pain and suffering that Crohn’s patients experience, sometimes on a daily basis. While the symptoms of other diseases can sometimes be avoided with changes to behavior, Crohn’s patients can’t simply stop eating food; thus, many continue to experience distressing symptoms that greatly interfere with regular life.
Cannabis can help Crohn’s patients in various ways. First, cannabis helps to alleviate pain, both by distracting users from the sensation and by actually interrupting the communication of pain signals from the brain. Secondly, cannabis can be an incredible aid to digestion, not only by encouraging hunger in patients who often lose their appetite but also potentially by eliminating inflammation which can interfere with nutrient absorption.
Glaucoma is the result of fluid building up within the eye, which puts strain on the optic nerve. A leading cause of blindness, glaucoma also results in pain and discomfort for patients suffering from it. Unfortunately, once damage due to glaucoma occurs, it is irreversible, so it is incredibly important that those suffering from glaucoma receive regular treatment.
Many can grasp that cannabis can have positive effects on mental disorders like PTSD or conditions affecting digestion, but glaucoma, a class of disorders affecting the eye, might seem like a stretch. Yet, some of the earliest applications of medical marijuana was to reduce intraocular pressure. Studies have found that cannabis can reduce the pressure from extra fluid by up to 25 percent, thereby alleviating many of the symptoms and reducing the danger of the disease. Though glaucoma sufferers shouldn’t rely solely on cannabis for treatment, it is an interesting and important medical use of the drug.
Though ALS is known largely as the disease that spurred the great ice bucket challenge of 2014, there is so much more to learn about this degenerative neurological disorder. Short for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS is the slow degeneration of motor neurons in the brain and spinal column, which causes muscles to atrophy and die. The disease is heartbreaking, frustrating and ultimately fatal, and researchers are working tirelessly to understand why ALS develops and how to stop it.
By no means is cannabis a miracle cure for this devastating neurodegenerative disease — but there are indications that compounds within cannabis could hold secrets for slowing or stopping the disease’s progression. At the very least, cannabis helps to alleviate many of the symptoms of ALS, to include pain, spasticity and depression. Thus, in addition to picking up an ice bucket for the next challenge, ALS sufferers can also pay a visit to an Oklahoma dispensary.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is a type of bacterial infection often called a superbug because of its effective resistance to traditional antibiotic treatment. More than 80,000 patients are infected by MRSA every year, and almost one in five of them will die because their infections are so difficult to treat.
Generally, it isn’t a good idea to smoke weed while sick with an infection, but researchers have identified at least five compounds within cannabis capable of killing MRSA bacteria. Admittedly, this doesn’t mean MRSA patients have the green flag to get high; rather, it means that these compounds will likely be developed into antimicrobial agents in the coming years. Still, this is an astonishing breakthrough, and one that could save humanity as more superbugs emerge going forward.
Many are familiar with the involuntary movements and sounds that characterize Tourette syndrome, but that doesn’t mean that many understand Tourette syndrome properly. Unfortunately, too many people believe Tourette syndrome to be a mental disorder, even a mental weakness that should be overcome with strength of will or counseling. In truth, Tourette syndrome is a neurological condition, and sufferers have no control over when, where or how their tics emerge.
While there is no cure for Tourette syndrome, cannabis seems to be a viable treatment option for some sufferers. The cognitive effects of the drug seem to give Tourette patients more control over their body, which reduces the severity of their tics and allows them to live life more fully.
We don’t yet know every medical application of cannabis — but we do know that cannabis is proving to be an incredibly important medical resource. As more people accept cannabis as a critical medical tool, more people can find relief for their diseases and conditions.