Last Updated on September 14, 2021

5 Popular uses for medical marijuana

Around the world each day millions of doctors write medical prescriptions making big pharma a huge business. In the US alone it is estimated that in 2021 around 4.7 billion prescriptions will be written for pharmaceutical medications. Let’s put that in perspective, that means that  each person on average gets 14 prescriptions per year which is mind boggling.

Many critics argue that the pharmaceutical industry has become so profit driven that there is more focus on keeping people sick than there is on curing them. And drugs that are truly life saving in some cases are made beyond reach of the average Joe because of ridiculous price hikes. One such example is Daraprim, the AIDS related treatment drug that had a 5500 percent price hike from $13.50 to $750 per pill despite only costing $1 to produce. 

To say that big pharma is a corrupt profit driven industry is an understatement. However, as more and more research is becoming available on the use of medical marijuana, many regular users of pharmaceutical drugs are switching to the natural drug as their chosen treatment. Not only is marijuana self medication massively cheaper, but there are also very little side effects and many users claim that it is a healthier and more natural way of treating their symptoms.

What are the most common uses for medical marijuana?

Insomnia and Sleep disorders

In the US alone approximately 70 million people have a sleep disorder and at least 30% of people have suffered with insomnia at one point during their lives. The majority of people suffering with sleep related disorders such as insomnia, say that they have tried pharmaceutical prescriptions as a treatment for their problem. 

Some sleep medications can have long lasting effects on the mind and body that are more serious than the sleep disorder itself. Opioids are commonly used to treat sleep disorders, however it is widely known that long term use can lead to dependence, addiction and even heart and liver conditions. 

Because of the stigma that surrounds cannabis many people avoid using medical marijuana as a treatment, but in recent years studies have shown that the drug can effectively be used to treat some sleep disorders with very little to no long lasting side effects. Marijuana is a relaxant and can be used to encourage sleep, which in turn helps to restore a person’s natural sleep cycle.

Studies have shown that the best strains for sleep are typically indica dominant strains that are high in THC and contain a small amount of CBD. 

Depression

Depression has always been a problem, but it has been exacerbated by the recent coronavirus pandemic. Lockdowns, social isolation and anxiety are the perfect storm for increased depression and the statistics show this too. In a recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 42% of adults in the US reported symptoms of depression, which is a 31% increase from the pre-pandemic numbers.

The majority of people naturally turn to their doctor for help and end up with prescriptions for drugs such as Zoloft. While antidepressant drugs can be very effective in the short term the effects can gradually taper off over time leading to dependence and a need for higher doses. Drugs such as Zoloft can also have some pretty nasty side effects too such as insomnia, anxiety, fatigue and nausea.

Many people are now turning to medical marijuana as an alternative, more natural treatment for Depression. The cannabinoid compounds found in marijuana have been shown to help stabilise moods and prevent anxiety. 

PTSD

PTSD is a more common problem than you may think. When someone refers to PTSD most people think of war veterans, and while PTSD is common among the military it is a much wider issue than this.

PTSD refers to any trauma that you may have experienced during your life that causes excessive shock and stress. This can be anything from being involved in an accident, a violent incident or even the death of a loved one. It is estimated that approximately 20% of the American population will have experienced a traumatic event in their life that leads to some form of PTSD.

PTSD can manifest itself in a number of different ways from nightmares, anxiety, flashbacks and disturbing thoughts relating to the traumatic event. This can often lead to other mental health problems such as insomnia, depression and anxiety if not treated.

With an increasing number of states legalising cannabis it is becoming more and more common for those suffering with PTSD to use medical marijuana as a treatment. Recent studies show that the cannabinoids found in marijuana can reduce activity in the part of the brain that deals with fight or flight response systems that cause many of these flashbacks. There is also evidence to suggest that the cannabinoids not only reduce the panic reaction to these traumatic memories, but they can also help to erase them to some extent, leading to less flashbacks and traumatic dreams.

Anxiety

At least 40 million adults in the US suffer with anxiety making it the most common mental health disorder. That equates to around 19% of the overall adult population. Those that suffer from anxiety disorders are around 5 times more likely to visit their doctor.

Anxiety is a very treatable condition and the medications available are effective, however the side effects can in some cases be as bad as the anxiety itself and can lead to dependency on prescription drugs.

People that suffer with anxiety are among some of the most regular medicinal marijuana users. The compound ‘THC’ that is found in marijuana takes effect on the endocannabinoid system that helps to regulate anxiety levels. 

It should be noted however that because THC can alter anxiety levels it can also increase them, therefore marijuana is not a suitable treatment for all people. For anyone that is new to using medicinal marijuana it is a good idea to begin using a strain that is low in THC to test the waters first.

Loss of appetite

Most people that have smoked cannabis regularly will have experienced a case of ‘the munchies’, however there are now some real science studies being done now that show the drug can really increase appetite.

A recent study done on rats found that by giving them cannabis vapor their hunger hormones were triggered and this in turn increased their appetites.

Loss of appetite is quite common and can be caused by a number of things such as depression, kidney problems or even chemotherapy.

In particular researchers found that the best appetite stimulants ere medical marijuana strains that contain a high dose of THC. THC is the main cannabinoid found in marijuana that gets you ‘high’ and causes the psychedelic effects on the brain. Strains that are high in THC have been found to have more of an effect on the endocannabinoid system and therefore can stimulate appetite.

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