Most people would look back to recent history when answering the question “When was marijuana first used for medicinal purposes”, and say that it was in 1978, when New Mexico began enacting legislation that recognized the medicinal potential of marijuana. The truth is that the use of medical marijuana is nothing new, and can be dated back to at least 10,000 years ago, and it has been used to treat various conditions for centuries.
Most people probably have some idea of the effectiveness of marijuana as medicinal product, but because of the stigma and criminality that has been associated with it for the past few decades, research has been slow. However, since the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana, there is now conclusive evidence on exactly what marijuana can treat. Here are a few reasons why marijuana is effective as a medicinal product.
What does it treat?
Medical marijuana is currently being used to treat a wide variety of conditions, from physical to mental. Physical conditions that are being treated include Chrohn’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and glaucoma.
Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a disease which attacks the nerves, brain and spinal cord. This happens because the protective coating on nerve fibers is damaged, which results in pain, numbness or tingling in parts of the body.
Marijuana helps to ease muscle spams and ease stiffness that sufferers experience, as well as helping cope with the depressive symptoms brought on by the disease. Marijuana is also being used to treat certain mental conditions such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and others, since it affects different regions of the brain such as the hippocampus, amygdaloid complex, prefrontal cortex and bed nucleus of stria terminalis.
How does it help with pain?
Marijuana has been proven to help reduce the pain experienced by many conditions, or pain in general. There are three general categories of pain, such as neuropathic pain, central pain and nociceptive pain. Nociceptive pain is basically the pain experienced through tissue damage. Many inflammatory and immune cells are recruited to repair the damage from an injury.
Proteins and chemicals are released through those cells, which make their way to the brain via the spinal cord. Marijuana weakens the pain signals by blocking the actual signals or the inflammatory process. Central pain is essentially the pain that is experienced through the dysfunction to the nervous system, which occurs in conditions such as Fibromyalgia.
Because of the way that marijuana targets the pain signals that are being sent to the brain, the pain experienced from conditions such as Fibromyalgia is reduced.
CBD or cannabidiol, a chemical compound found in the marijuana plant, has through research been proven to help with not only pain, but mental conditions. The research is relatively new and non-exhaustive due to it only coming to market recently. There are tons of ways to ingest CBD, just check out Smoke Cartel’s collection of CBD products to see some of them, whether you want to use it topically, bathe in it or eat it there’s a way for you to ingest CBD.
The third type of pain mentioned above, neuropathic pain, is usually a result of pinching, forceful injury or stabbing which damages the nerves. This kind of pain is associated with conditions such as multiple sclerosis, HIV, diabetes, shingles and Parkinson’s disease to name a few. It is very difficult to treat since it is not experienced by inflammatory causes. CBD, like THC, also weakens the pain signals in the spinal cord and also affects how the brain processes it. This is why it is commonly used to treat the side-effects experienced from chemotherapy.
In addition to all of this, CBD is effective at treating anxiety and the anxiety experienced through PTSD. It does this by reducing the hyperactivity of the amygdala, the region of the brain that is responsible for handling the body’s responses to fear and stress.
Methods of consumption
For those who don’t want to smoke medical marijuana, there are a few other methods of consumption available. One of the most popular is edibles, which is basically food infused with marijuana, and comes in different forms, such as gummy bears, brownies, chocolate bars and even ice cream.
Another popular method is tinctures; a tincture is extracted cannabinoids which come in a small bottle, which can either be sprayed or dropped under the tongue. For those wanting it for pain, there is also topicals or cream, which is applied to the affected area and can treat things like joint pain, muscle soreness, minor burns, tendonitis and many other conditions.
Story by Ellie Issacs