Tag Archives: medical cannabis

Marijuana helps with Stress

Stress Kills You

Here are some alarming stress statistics, 44% adults feel more stressed than they did 5 years ago, 1 in 5 adults experience ‘extreme stress’ causing shaking, heart palpitations, depression. Work stress causes 10% of strokes. Stress is the basic cause of 60% of all human illness and disease. 3 out of 4 doctor’s visits are for stress-related ailments. Stress increases your risk of heart disease by 40%, heart attack by 25%, and stroke by 50%. 40% of stressed people overeat or eat unhealthy foods. 44% lose sleep every night. Stress related ailments cost Americans $300 billion every year in medical bills and lost production. So it seems stress is a serious problem. If It feels like stress Is killing you, that’s because it is. When you feel ‘frazzled’, so do your organs and cells.
Marijuana and its derivatives have profound effects on a wide variety of behavioral and neural functions, ranging from feeding and metabolism to pain and cognition.

Stress Kills Brain Cells – The endocannabinoid system

Stress is a killer—at least for brain cells. A new study shows that a single socially stressful situation can reduce the production of endocannabinoids in the brain, reducing production of newly created neurons in the hippocampus, the brain region involved in memory and emotion. Although most of the brain stops growing by adulthood, new nerve cells are continually generated in the hippocampus, where they are essential for learning. Scientists have long known that chronic stress can inhibit this process by which neurons are generated and lead to depression. Stress shrinks the brain. Chronic stress leads to depression. Marijuana’s cannabinoids can replenish this shortfall of endocannabinoids, therefore, no depression.

Cannabinoids, Endocannabinoids and Stress

Endocannabinoids are chemicals in the brain that are quite similar to the chemicals known as cannabinoids in marijuana. Endocannabinoids are involved in appetite, memory, mood, and pain sensations. They’re also involved in the psychoactive effects that weed has on us, as well as brain functions like cognition, behavior, and emotions. Among its various functions, the endocannabinoid system naturally regulates anxiety and stress levels. It does this through the release of chemicals that belong to the same class of chemicals found in marijuana: (endo)cannabinoids. In small doses, weed high in the cannabinoid CBD’s, relieves anxiety. Marijuana can act as a sedative and improves mood by reducing anxiety. The natural endocannabinoid system regulates anxiety and the response to stress by dampening signals in the brain. Marijuana regulates both anxiety and the body’s fight-or-flight response. When a person is exposed to chronic stress, or severe emotional trauma, there can be a reduction in the production of natural endocannabinoids. When this happens, anxiety levels tend to increase. Using marijuana can reduce this anxiety because the effect of its cannabinoids on the cannabinoid receptors in your body makes up for the reduction in the production of natural endocannabinoids.

Weed has a calming and relaxing effect

Most common reason people use cannabis is rooted in its ability to reduce feelings of stress, tension, and anxiety. Significant numbers of people may be self-medicating with weed in an attempt to reduce excessive anxiety. Weed is not dangerous as is alcohol, and it’s a peaceful drug: It has a calming and relaxing effect that must be associated with decreased anxiety.

A new study highlights the drug’s potential anxiety relief effects. Researchers at Vanderbilt University discovered cannabinoid receptors in an emotional hub of the brain in mice, which monitors anxiety as well as the flight-or-fight response. The authors state this is the first time that cannabinoid receptors have been found in the amygdala, the amygdala is an almond shaped mass of cells located deep within the temporal lobe of the brain. It is involved in many of our emotions and motivations, particularly those that are related to survival. The amygdala is involved in the processing of emotions such as fear, anger, and pleasure. It “could be highly important for understanding how cannabis exerts its behavioral effects,” Dr. Sachin Patel, senior author of the study, said in a press release. “We know where the receptors are, we know their function, we know how these neurons make their own cannabinoids,” Patel continues. “Now can we see how that system is affected by stress. It might fundamentally change our understanding of cellular communication in the amygdala, which has shown in research to perform a primary role in the processing of memory, decision-making, and emotional reactions.”

The use of cannabis in the treatment of anxiety disorders such as chronic stress was first described by ancient Indian medical literature, which said that cannabis helped its user to be “delivered from all worries and care” (Da Orta 1563). Regular marijuana users report that marijuana helps to reduce their anxiety levels. Studies show that the endocannabinoid system – the body’s natural cannabinoid system – plays a major role in regulating anxiety as well as the growth of new brain cells (neurogenesis), which is believed to improve anxiety levels.

On the other hand, paranoia and anxiety attacks are some of most commonly reported side-effects of marijuana use, especially in new and infrequent users. Indeed, studies have revealed a complex link between cannabinoids and anxiety, suggesting that marijuana’s effect on anxiety depends on both the dosage taken as well as the type of cannabinoids that are present. Today’s marijuana strains were bred to have very high levels of THC with low levels of CBD and CBG, thus the anxiety and paranoia. The weed we use today is not like the leaf of the sixties. Users who claim they get paranoid when they smoke weed would tell a different story if they smoked a reefer with high levels of CBD’s . Most studies involve pure THC which fail to accurately portray the effects of marijuana on anxiety, since cannabis contains over 60 different cannabinoid compounds. Studies have found CBD to play a major role in regulating anxiety and have even suggested that it may be a more effective treatment than THC for anxiety disorders. The first study (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6285406) to document CBD’s effect on anxiety was published in 1982. The study found that CBD could block the anxiety provoked by THC among 8 healthy test subjects, implying that CBD-rich marijuana strains may be a better option for relieving anxiety.

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– The Endocannabinoid System and the Brain
Annual Review of Psychology
Vol. 64: 21-47 (Volume publication date January 2013)
First published online as a Review in Advance on July 12, 2012
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-psych-113011-143739

– http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6285406

– http://www.cell.com/neuron/abstract/S0896-6273%2814%2900017-8

– http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306142803.htm

– Cannabinoids Ameliorate Impairments Induced by Chronic Stress to Synaptic Plasticity and Short-Term Memory http://www.nature.com/npp/journal/v38/n8/full/npp201351a.html

– Cannabinoid Receptor Activation Prevents the Effects of Chronic Mild Stress on Emotional Learning and LTP in a Rat Model of Depression http://www.nature.com/npp/journal/v39/n4/abs/npp2013292a.html

Medical Conditions that Cannabis is Beneficial

Medical Conditions that Cannabis is Beneficial

What exactly are specific conditions for which cannabis can be beneficial? When did the use of cannabis for medical purposes started? These questions probably linger in your mind for you are not sure as to how medical cannabinoids can help treat illness and alleviate pain. In this chapter, you can learn about a bit of cannabis’ medical use history and what specific medical conditions exactly it can help.

Medical Cannabis: A Brief History

There medical use of marijuana is not pretty recent. Its use for medical purposes actually dates back to thousand years ago as early as 2737 B.C. The first recorded use of marijuana for medicinal purposes was when Emperor Shen Neng of China drank cannabis tea in order to treat such illnesses as gout, malaria, rheumatism and even poor memory as they say.

The Emperor, who was also a pharmacologist, even wrote a book as to how cannabis can be used which includes treatment methods as well as medical benefits for which cannabis can be used for. Cannabis was actually one of the 50 fundamental medicinal herbs that are used by the Chinese.

Since then, the use of cannabis spread throughout Asia to Middle East, India and Africa. In India, Hindu sects were known for using cannabis to relieve stress and pain. In Egypt, it was recorded that cannabis was used by Egyptians in suppositories so as to relieve the pain that comes with hemorrhoids.

On the other hand, Indian doctors also recognized its medicinal effects and psychoactive properties for which they use cannabis in order to alleviate symptoms and treat diseases that include headaches, insomnia, all sorts of pain including that of childbirth as well as gastrointestinal disorders.

The Greeks were known to have used cannabis in dressing wounds and sores on horses. On the other hand, dried leaves of cannabis were used by Greeks to treat nose bleeds in humans while marijuana seeds were used for expelling tapeworms.

In medieval Islam, there were said to be Arabic physicians who used the analgesic, inflammatory, antipyretic and diuretic as well as many other properties of cannabis sativa for medical purposes from the 8th to 18th centuries. With that, cannabis is an apparent medicinal herb that has been used extensively across Asia and in other countries.

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Modern Usage of Marijuana

It was an Irish physician who was recognized to be the first to introduce the medicinal and therapeutic effects of marijuana in western medicine. The Irish doctor was William Brooke O’Shaughnessy who recommended marijuana for treatment of mainly of general pain, stomach cramps and muscle spasms.

It was then in 1064 that Manley West and Albert Lockhart began to study the health effects of cannabis as it was used in Jamaican communities. It was them who had successfully developed one of the first extracts of cannabis which was the pharmaceutical ‘Canasol’. Canasol gained permission to be marketed in 1987. By 1970s, a version of tetrahydrocannabinol was produced synthetically and was approved by the United States for use as the drug called Marinol.

Recently, there are two main type of marijuana strain that is used for alleviating symptoms and treating diseases. These two are the CBD and THC, both being used for alleviating pain and inflammation while the CBD is credited for not having any effect to the mind or behavior. As such, it is believed to possibly cure mental illnesses.

Continuous research are being held to find more possible uses for which CBD and TCH can be beneficial and to find for other medicinal marijuana who can be used for medical purposes. In relation to that, there are some recent studies on animals showing that marijuana may be able to help kill cancer cells or perhaps reduce its size.

 

Medical Conditions for which Marijuana can be Beneficial

Here are some specific conditions for which marijuana can be beneficial. There are quite plenty of potential beneficial effects that marijuana can provide but with the risks that come with it, the FDA does not approve of the use of marijuana. However, there are already many States in the US as well as in Canada for which Marijuana is legalized.

Medical cannabis, specifically the cannabinoids can be served as appetite stimulants, antispasmodics or antiemetics. It is also noted for its analgesic effects and in alleviating non-cancerous pains, vomiting or nausea. It can also be used in aiding the treatment for AIDS patients.

  • Nausea and Vomiting

Medicinal cannabis is known to be somewhat effective when it comes to nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy. As such, marijuana has become a reasonable option for patients that do not improve following common treatments. After some comparative studies, it is found that cannabis is actually more than effective than the common antiemetics.

However, it is noted that medical cannabis is not used frequently due to side effects that include hallucinations, dizziness and dysphoria. Less common side effects of medical cannabis include vagueness, lightheadedness, muscle twitching, hallucinations, dry mouth, pruritis, etc..

  • Pain

Cannabis is also known to be effective in treatment of pain, even including pain that is caused by neuropathy and rheumatoid arthritis. Although it is unclear if the benefits of cannabis can be greater than its risks, it is believed that it is generally safe for pain treatment. There are also some limited evidences that are found that cannabis was efficient in treatment of non-cancerous pain.

  • AIDS or HIV

It is believed that medical cannabis is effective in aid of treatment of AIDS and HIV, but evidence is lacking to this purpose. There is simply biased and small sample sized data regarding to cannabis’ effects in HIV/ AIDS treatment. As such, there isn’t any conclusive data to say so that cannabis is beneficial to this effect.

  • Appetite Stimulation

Another well known effect of marijuana is stimulation of appetite. The effect is known for the term “munchies” as it is has been used for improving the appetite of patients who have suppressed appetite due partly to medical treatment or condition.

  • Neurological Problems

It is very clear as to how marijuana can be beneficial to certain neurological problems such as movement problems, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. The studies aiming to establish results have varying results but cannabis trial treatment seems to be a reasonable option for those whose other treatments are not very effective.

Other medical uses that marijuana has been touted include treatment of glaucoma where the elevated pressure behind the eye can lead to blindness. While smoking marijuana can reduce the intraocular pressure, it has to be smoked several times a day to be effective, that according to the American Cancer Society.

Side Effects of Marijuana

There may be benefits to marijuana, but there are also side effects. There are some studies that have produced some conflicting results on the subject about marijuana carrying significant cancer risk. On the other hand, THC is known to bind in cannabinoid receptors which are mainly concentrated in the areas of the brain associated to memory, pleasure, time perception, coordination, etc. With that being said, the effects of marijuana can possibly interfere with the user’s balance, attention and judgment.

The typical side effects of marijuana are usually not serious. They can be dizziness, tiredness and some psychoactive effects. On some cases, tolerance to these effects happens within a few days or weeks thus allowing for continued use. Withdrawal symptoms are a rare occurrence if administration of cannabis is strictly controlled but still possible.

One should know as well that with taking medical marijuana, operating machinery as well as driving vehicle can be impaired until a tolerance is developed. For that reason, even when users of marijuana says that it is safe, there is a need for further research to establish their claim. That is also why prescriptions for medical cannabis are labeled as recommendations, not to mention there are certain federal laws that prohibit the prescription of marijuana for medical purposes.

If your medical condition or treatment deems that you use medical marijuana for treatment or to aid your cure, you must first learn the risks that come with it. If you are willing to go through these risks for possible cure and if your physician recommends it, then medical cannabis must just be what you need.