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How Effective is Medical Marijuana for Chronic Pain Relief?

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June 14, 2017 9:00 AM

How Effective is Medical Marijuana for Chronic Pain Relief--.jpgThe National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) conducted a study early this year titled “The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids.” This study raised key findings that included how effective medical marijuana was in treating chronic pain. According to the study, there is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids can be an effective treatment.

There are some qualifiers though, such as the subjectivity of pain from individual to individual and the types of pain being treated. The highest rate of effectiveness in treatment for conditions with chronic pain as a symptom were for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) or who were given chemotherapy. The muscle spasms, nausea and vomiting caused by MS and chemotherapy (respectively) were prevented or treated with cannabis or cannabinoids.

The results of this study were most likely part of the clinical literature that inform companies like Loblaw Companies Ltd. (who owns Shopper’s Drug Mart) to cover their employees for medical marijuana.

Want to know more about how effective cannabis and cannabinoids can be for relieving chronic symptoms? Read on for the specifics of how marijuana can counteract chronic pain.

We Have Natural Receptors and Producers for Cannabinoids

What’s remarkable about the human body when on the topic of pain management via medical marijuana, is that it possesses specialized receptors for cannabinoids throughout. Our bodies are very good at binding chemical compounds like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD), which are compounds NASEM and other medical researchers find the most favourable for pain-relief.

Our bodies are also proficient at producing what’s called “endogenous cannabinoids”, or cannabinoids that are produced inside of an organism. The modulation of these endocannabinoids affects a wide range of physiological responses, including altering blood pressure or pain response.

It’s the ability of inhaling or ingesting medical marijuana to modulate endocannabinoids in the human body that medical researchers find most compelling regarding chronic pain. The fact that our bodies can naturally receive and produce cannabinoids also relates to how different strains of marijuana can affect various therapeutic effects for patients outside of pain management, too.

Misgivings of Marijuana Pain-Relief

Doctors are still unsure of whether patients are truly using cannabis for therapeutic purposes like pain management. Since there is a recreational side to marijuana, the more conservative thinkers are often swayed by common misconceptions of the drug.

The line of logic goes that a patient makes decisions about what type of traditional medicine, like opioids, to use based on what kind of pain they are experiencing. But when a patient chooses from various marijuana products at several different vendors to treat their pain, doctors believe patients lack enough information to choose the best type of marijuana for their individual conditions.

Part of this reasoning follows, seeing as there are several kinds of marijuana dispensaries out there (both recreational and medical). Doctors forget, however, that patients do have access to medical associations that can educate them about what the best strain of marijuana is to use to treat their ailments. There is also an unprecedented rise in opioid addiction in recent years that medical cannabis is helping to curb.

Spreading Awareness of Marijuana for Pain Management

Patients who use cannabis for their chronic symptoms play an important role in helping doctors realize the benefits of properly dosing with the right strain of marijuana. Just as you wouldn’t take ibuprofen for a stomach ache, you wouldn’t take a strain of marijuana that’s effective for reducing anxiety for chronic pain issues.

Learning how to speak to your doctor about medical marijuana will not only help you gain access to the pain-relief that can restore you to a high quality of life, it raises awareness. Painting marijuana with the broad brush of criminal stigma prevents patients with chronic conditions from finding natural and effective relief.

Let’s make the conversation more open and break down some barriers.

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Topics: Medical Marijuana

How Medicinal Marijuana Can Treat Migraines

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June 07, 2017 9:00 AM

How Medicinal Marijuana Can Treat Migraines--.jpgIn the 1800s, doctors would prescribe medicinal marijuana as treatment for many different disorders, including chronic pain. Since then, the use of marijuana has become widely stigmatized and regulated. With legalization already happening in a number of places and on the brink in others, the question of “What can medicinal marijuana do for me?” has been on quite a few minds. Medicinal marijuana has been found to be an effective treatment for a number of medical conditions, including migraines.

So…Does it Work?

Because of the great deal of controversy surrounding the medical use of marijuana, and the strict regulations of its use until very recently, there isn’t a conclusive answer. Although we don’t have a unanimous vote on the effectiveness of medicinal marijuana in treating migraines, there have been a number of academic advancements. 

A recent study was published in Pharmacotherapy and found that medicinal marijuana reduced the frequency of migraine headaches. Of the 121 participants who took part in the study, 103 participants reported a decrease in migraines. Of all the ways to consume marijuana, inhaling marijuana was reported as the preferred method because the effects are felt more quickly than edibles.

Why Might It Work?

The reason that many people find medicinal marijuana to be effective in treating migraines is because the active ingredients in marijuana, THC and CBD, bind with the natural receptors in the brain that impact pain perception.  Migraines are caused by brain spasms and overly relaxed veins. Medicinal marijuana treats migraines by causing changes in the outer layers of the brain.

Best Strains to Treat Migraines

THC is the psychoactive of the active ingredients in marijuana. Because of this, migraine sufferers often opt for CBD heavy and THC low strains. Strains with higher levels of CBD are more likely to interfere with the daily routine of the patient.

Cannatonic is a strain known for its relaxing and uplifting qualities, while having little or no psychoactive effect, due to the THC content of only 6%.  This strain has been cited as an effective remedy for pain, insomnia, and more relevant to this article, migraines.

If you are looking for a bit of the psychoactive high with your migraine relief, Sour Tsunami might be just the strain for you. There is a 1:1 CBD:THC ratio, so there is some psychoactive effects, but these are still mild as the percentages for each are approximately 10%.

For migraine relief with a decent high included, patients should consider OG Kush. With a 20-25% THC level, this strain is sure to provide psychoactive effects, whole also treating your migraine. In addition to migraine relief, this strain is cited as an effective memory for depression, anxiety, and nausea. OG Kush results in a euphoric and relaxing high.

 Where do I Start?     

If you are suffering from migraines and aren’t sure what to try next, consider medicinal marijuana. Of course, do your research and consult a doctor prior to beginning any course of treatment.  It is important to ask the experts and have all your information before beginning.

One key piece of information to know before you begin your search is the desired outcome. Do you want pain relief alone, or are you also having issues with insomnia or depression? Do you want to experience a psychoactive high or find a strain that can be used in your daily life? Once you get the answers to these questions, you are ready to start your search. Happy healing!

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Can Medical Marijuana Be Used to Treat Addiction?

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May 24, 2017 9:00 AM

Can-Medical-Marijuana-Be-Used-to-Treat-Addiction.jpgPublic knowledge concerning cannabis and addiction is muddled at best. On the one hand, a substantial portion of the population still subscribes to the “gateway drug” theory, despite substantial evidence that says otherwise. This view holds that marijuana users are more likely to abuse harder narcotics such as cocaine, heroin and others. 

However, a new perspective has emerged as North America struggles with a growing opioid epidemic. Voices ranging from frontline healthcare practitioners to recovering patients have argued that medical marijuana may have a role to play in addiction treatment. Some even argue that this substance represents an alternative to the highly addictive opioids currently used to reduce severe and chronic pain. 

Yet medical experts remain unconvinced about cannabis’ usefulness, and there are few sanctioned medical studies that support the drug’s use in substance abuse therapies. As a result, the issue offers more questions than answers. Does medical marijuana influence addiction? If so, how do current public health policy and legislation affect its efficacy? This article will shine a light on these issues and more.

The Problem with Opioids

By now, Canada’s opioid problem is common knowledge. Canadians consume the substance more often than the citizens of any other country worldwide. These numbers alone are alarming, given the drug’s addictive qualities and its high potential for overdoses, but the proliferation of fentanyl has made the problem even more deadly. 

Fentanyl is a concentrated opioid that can lead to overdoses if more than a few hundred micrograms are consumed. Its toxicity levels may be 100 times higher than morphine, which makes it highly dangerous. While fentanyl does have medical applications, illicit versions of the drug are prevalent on the black market. This makes it difficult for users to take accurate doses, and the substance is often mixed with recreational drugs such as cocaine and heroin, which increases the overdose risk. 

As a result, opioid-related deaths have skyrocketed across the country since 2015. Last year, British Columbia suffered 332 deaths due to fentanyl, while 193 Albertans died after consuming the substance. The rates are even higher when other opioids are factored in. Ontario lost 529 people to opioids in 2015, and 162 of those cases involved fentanyl.

How Marijuana Can Help

Opioid addiction often starts after a doctor prescribes the drug to treat severe or chronic pain. Medical marijuana contains properties that can help alleviate these conditions without the potential for addiction. While the substance doesn’t treat the cause of the pain, cannabis can make these symptoms less acute. For this reason, advocates believe that it represents a viable alternative to opioids.

Medical evidence thus far has suggested that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) contains pain relieving properties. However, these traits usually reach their full potential when paired with cannabidiol (CBD), another active component in marijuana. Isolating these chemicals from one another would reduce the psychoactive effects of the drug, but it would also negate its painkilling benefits.

What are the Complications?

Like many claims about marijuana, its efficacy in addiction treatments has yet to be substantiated with definitive medical evidence. Additional clinical trials are needed to prove its suitability in this area. However, its pain-relieving properties do suggest that, with further research, prescribing medical marijuana may prove useful in combating opioid abuse.

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Can Medical Marijuana Help Relieve Chronic Pain?

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May 17, 2017 9:00 AM

Can-Medical-Marijuana-Help-Relieve-Chronic-Pain.jpgOne in five Canadians suffer from conditions that cause them chronic pain, and if you’re one of the millions that experience such symptoms, then you know finding relief is anything but easy. Chronic pain is poorly understood and unless you have a doctor who can effectively treat your symptoms, you’re often left stranded on a year-long (or more) waiting list for pain specialists. Canada does have publicly funded pain clinics, but most Canadians live too far from them to take significant advantage of them.

Having an accessible and reliable pain management plan is crucial to your welfare, especially when you’re dealing with chronic pain. The Canadian Pain Society has stated that more than half of Canadians who go untreated at pain clinics are dealing with severe depression because of interference in their work and personal life. Within this context, it’s easy to see why Canadians are interested in medical marijuana as a possible recourse to pain relief.

But with all the misconceptions flying around these days about marijuana use, it’s not nearly as simple to draw conclusions as to whether it’s an effective solution. That’s why we’re going to present you with the straight facts about whether medical marijuana can help relieve chronic pain.

The Type of Pain You Experience Matters

One of the primary details to determine pain-relief through medical marijuana use is what type of pain you experience. In Huffington Post's discussions with Dr. Mark Ware, a prominent physician in pain management and treatment as well as the executive director of the Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids, Ware highlights pain conditions caused by damage to the nervous system (both peripheral and central) as those most effectively treated.

Conditions like diabetic neuropathy, post-traumatic pain from surgery, multiple sclerosis, or spinal cord injuries are a handful of examples for which pain relief through medical marijuana can be useful. There have been small studies done concerning pain management for chronic pain syndromes like fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer (both the disease itself and its treatment) that showed positive results, too.

A recent report released last January by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine also backs up these claims stating that one of its key findings was that the primary reason patients seek marijuana is to treat chronic conditions. Although the exact pain mechanisms aren’t understood yet, doctors know that our bodies have natural cannabinoid receptors, which play a role in pain control.

Reported Benefits

Patients who have been asked what benefits they’ve experienced frommarijuana for pain relief report various benefits. These benefits include, but are not limited to: improved sleep, reduced anxiety, and less discomfort. Other known benefits of marijuanause for pain management are reduction in nausea and a healthier appetite, and reduction in muscle spasms (which are often a symptom of chronic conditions like sciatica).

Know the Strain Right for You

Now that you know medicinal marijuana is most effective for specific kinds of chronic conditions, you should determine with your doctor what strain or type is right for you. There are many different strains of medicinal marijuana to help with specific health issues you might experience. Some are geared more towards relieving intense pain, while others focus on reducing seizures/neuralgia. There’s even a strain that can improve symptoms of glaucoma.

We know that there’s a lot of stigma surrounding conversations of marijuana use with doctors, which is why it’s in your best interest to learn how to talk to your doctor about the matter. The more you educate yourself on what medicinal marijuana can do for you, the easier it will be to communicate exactly how and why you need access to this natural pain reliever.

 

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Liberal Government Tabled Legislation to Legalize Marijuana by July 2018

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May 03, 2017 9:00 AM

Liberal-Government-Tabled-Legislation-to-Legalize-Marijuana-by-July-2018.jpgJuly 1, 2018 will be a historic day in Canada if Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government gets its way. On April 13, the party proposed two bills that would effectively legalize marijuana. According to the CBC, one outlines regulations for the use and distribution of cannabis, while the other concerns driving under the influence of the drug. 

The move comes during a wave of pro-legalization sentiment. If passed, these bills will make Canada a trailblazer for recreational marijuana. Uruguay is currently the only country to legalize the drug, though some U.S. states have taken similar measures. Other countries have opted for decriminalization, but Canada’s new laws would make it even easier for adults to access the drug. 

While the bills may face changes before they’re passed into law, they do put an end to months of speculation about what it would look like to legalize marijuana. This article will summarize a few important developments that everyone should know about these proposed laws.

What Will Legalization Look Like?

Many aspects of marijuana legalization have yet to be determined. While the federal government is responsible for this legislation, the provinces will dictate specific policies within their jurisdictions. For example, the bill dictates that no one under 18 can buy marijuana, but provincial governments can raise that number as they see fit. The provinces will also decide where and how marijuana will be sold. However, the federal bill doesn’t prohibit retailers from selling alcohol and cannabis simultaneously, which opens the possibility of sale through liquor control boards. 

Even if the government does legalize marijuana, not all forms of marijuana will immediately be available for purchase. The bills allow designated retailers to sell marijuana buds and cannabis oil, but not edibles. They also ban the sale of cannabis through vending machines and prevent visitors from bringing marijuana into or out of the country.

So Marijuana Will Be Completely Legal?

The short answer is no.

If the bill is passed, existing marijuana laws will remain in effect until July 1, 2018. Three MPs with the New Democratic Party (NDP) criticized this decision, arguing that it would result in further charges and convictions for marijuana possession. After the legalization goes into effect, those over the minimum age can keep up to 30 grams of cannabis at a time. Exceeding that amount will result in a fine.

Since only designated retailers will be able to sell cannabis, illegal trafficking will remain a crime. It will carry a 14-year maximum prison sentence, as will selling to minors. Impaired driving laws will also punish those who attempt to drive in a two-hour window after consuming drugs.

Significantly, the bills don’t mention anything about pardons for previous marijuana convictions. The NDP has argued for these measures, while Conservative health critic Colin Carrie argued that the bills offered vague policy for provinces and municipalities.

What’s Next?

The bills must pass through the House of Commons and Senate before they can be given royal assent. From there, the provinces will need to set their own regulations for marijuana legalization. While this legislation represents a first step for legal cannabis in Canada, there remains plenty of work to do be done.

 

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Topics: Medical Marijuana

5 Things You Might Not Know about Medicinal Marijuana

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April 26, 2017 9:00 AM

5-Things-You-Might-Not-Know-about-Medicinal-Marijuana.jpgWhat we don’t know about medicinal marijuana could fill a book. Contradictory studies and widespread misconceptions about the drug have clouded the public’s judgment. As a result, many of the beneficial aspects of the substance have yet to be discovered. 

However, general knowledge about cannabis increases with every passing year. As more regions decriminalize or legalize the drug for medicinal and recreational purposes, further research can be done. These pioneering areas act as blueprints for policy concerning marijuana sale, consumption and laws. In turn, this shows the benefits of the drug and influences other areas to adopt similar measures. 

Still, everyone has plenty to learn when it comes to cannabis. If you’re still a layman when it comes to lids, read on. This article will fill you in on a few little-known facts about the drug sensation that’s sweeping the nation.

1. People Have Used Marijuana Since Prehistory

Marijuana is a drug enjoyed around the world, and evidence suggests that it’s been that way for a long time. Signs of the plant’s use has been found throughout Chinese, Roman and Egyptian histories, whether as a type of medicine or as a recreational tool. 

Some even believe that Homer was referring to the drug when he described the mythical substance “nepenthe” mentioned in the Odyssey. While this isn’t verifiable, it would be fitting, as nepenthe was a drug designed as a medicine that alleviated sorrow.

2. Estrogen Can Increase Sensitivity to Cannabis

It’s easy to think of marijuana as a drug that affects everyone equally, but that simply isn’t the case. Different strains produce different results, and an individual’s own characteristics can influence the drug’s effect. For example, women have traditionally suffered from greater risk of addiction to cannabis, and now researchers may know why. 

A study from Washington State University found that female rats experienced greater tolerance and sensitivity to cannabis compared to their male counterparts. This may have major implications on the way marijuana is researched, since tolerance studies are usually performed on men. While human patients may react differently to the drug, these findings still represent a sobering development in medicinal marijuana research.

3. THC Levels Have Increased by Eight Percent Over the Past Two Decades

The notion that modern marijuana plants are more potent than their predecessors has been common for years. But is there any scientific backing for this idea? In fact, there is.

A 2016 study published in Biological Psychiatry found that samples seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration in 1995 contained an average of four percent THC. However, marijuana confiscated in 2014 contained an average of 12 percent. Over this same period, cannabidiol levels decreased by more than 0.13 percent. Thus, there’s at least a little truth to the idea that weed isn’t quite what it used to be.

4. Marijuana Doesn’t Necessarily Get You Stoned

If you’ve turned on a television in the last 50 years, you’ve probably seen depictions of marijuana users. Despite what television producers would like you to believe, though, the drug doesn’t necessarily make you giggly or hungry. In fact, certain strains have much different effects. 

Strains like Cannatonic de-emphasize THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana. Instead, they feature heavier doses of cannabidiol, which produces a more relaxed effect than other variants. These types of cannabis are ideal for medicinal marijuana users who don’t want to live through a fog of impairment.

5. It’s Believed to Aid in Brain Cell Growth

Marijuana is commonly believed to impair function, but it may also have a much different benefit. Results from a 2005 study suggest that marijuana can actually help regenerate brain cells in the hippocampus, improving both mood and memory over time. Many see cannabis as a miracle drug, but this information gives that idea new meaning.

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Topics: Medical Marijuana

QUIZ: Can You Spot the Fake Medicinal Marijuana Strains?

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April 20, 2017 9:00 AM

Can You Spot the Fake Medicinal Marijuana Strains.jpgMedical cannabis is more popular than ever. Nearly 100,000 new patients have registered to use the drug since October 2015, according to Health Canada. While doctors may still be reticent to prescribe the substance, sufferers of nausea, pain, anxiety, and more are turning to it to relieve their debilitating symptoms.

However, gaining access isn’t the final step in the process. Patients still need to find medicinal marijuana strains that both alleviate symptoms and suit their lifestyles. This process doesn’t need to be a slog, though. To prove that point, we’ve devised a quiz that will help participants eliminate some of the mystique surrounding medicinal marijuana strains. Enjoy!

 

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5 Little-Known Facts About Medical Marijuana

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April 05, 2017 9:00 AM

5-Little-Known-Facts-About-Medical-Marijuana.jpgMedical marijuana already suffers from a boatload of misconceptions. The substance has faced prohibition for nearly a century, and this has placed a resilient stigma upon its users. Cannabis users still have a bad reputation, even when they use it to reduce debilitating symptoms and side effects. 

This may not be the case for much longer, though. Nearly 70 percent of Canadian respondents surveyed in a Nanos poll that they favour marijuana legalization, and 57 percent disagreed with the notion that the drug acts as a “gateway” to other, harder substances. An act that will attempt to legalize recreational marijuana use should also soonhit the House of Commons. 

Of course, more education and research is needed as tolerance for cannabis increases. The full, long-term effects of the drug have not been definitively proven, which makes it difficult for users to fully understand the consequences of their actions. This article seeks to change that. It offers medical marijuana patients a few little-known facts that will help them make more informed decisions about their treatment.

1. Marijuana Contains More Than 400 Chemicals

The exact chemical composition of marijuana varies depending on the source. For example, illegally cultivated cannabis isn’t regulated, so it may contain harmful components that a medicinal alternative may not.

Yet even these versions of the substance contain a multitude of compounds. The drug contains more than 400 chemicals, the most prominent of which are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The former has shown promise as an appetite stimulant and antiemetic. It has also been isolated and sold as an oral spray that combats chronic pain. CBD, meanwhile, has the potential to treat psychiatric disorders and severe epilepsy, among other ailments.

2. The Number of Registered Medical Marijuana Users in Canada Tripled in One Year

Medical marijuana patients must register with Health Canada to buy their medication. By September 2015, only about 30,500 people had done so, but this number increased in leaps and bounds by the following year. As of September 2016, over 100,000 people had enrolled with the government to use the substance legally.

The Ottawa Citizen cites several factors that explain this boost. These include a move away from a regulatory model that allowed patients to grow their own supply of cannabis, as well as growing acceptance for and awareness of the drug. The article predicts that about 450,000 will have access to medicinal marijuana by 2024.

3. Concentration of Licensed Producers Varies from Province to Province

Canadian medicinal marijuana patients can currently obtain the drug from licensed producers located across the country. Most of these firms are concentrated in Ontario and British Columbia. The former has 24 licensed producers, while the latter hosts nine. Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, P.E.I, and New Brunswick contain the final seven, while Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia have none.

4. Medical Marijuana Dosages Can Be Smaller Than Recreational Users’ Intakes

A 2010 Canadian Medical Association Journal study found that patients who used medicinal cannabis experienced greater pain relief than those who used a placebo. While the study featured a small sample size, it did yield another interesting fact. According to researcher Dr. Mark Ware, patients used miniscule quantities of the drug, which were often significantly smaller than recreational users’ average doses.

5. Health Canada Does Not Endorse Marijuana Use for Therapeutic Purposes

It’s important to note that Health Canada has not approved cannabis for medicinal or therapeutic use. The substance currently lacks a drug information number (DIN), which creates a host of regulatory issues for patients. Still, doctors throughout the country are allowed to prescribe marijuana at their own discretion, and both anecdotal and research-based evidence suggests that the drug may have promising treatment applications.

 

 

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5 Proven Benefits of Consuming Medical Marijuana

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March 29, 2017 9:00 AM

5-Proven-Benefits-of-Consuming-Medical-Marijuana.jpgDespite recent studies, medical marijuana remains a mystery. The drug is a Schedule I controlled substance in the U.S. and a Schedule II narcotic in Canada, which makes cannabis research in these countries much more difficult. 

For example, U.S. researchers must follow procedures with both the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the National Institutes of Drug Abuse (NIDA) to gain legal access to marijuana. Both agencies have imposed strict constraints on these studies, which has resulted in a dearth of credible insight regarding the long-term effects of medical marijuana. 

However, cannabis has still shown promise in certain health and wellness applications. Just under 70 percent of Canadian respondents reported that they supported legalization in some form. As more people dismantle the cultural and legal stigma surrounding the drug, researchers will be able to examine marijuana’s effects in a more objective light. 

In the meantime, here are just five of the most common benefits that are already widely known.

1. It Alleviates Pain

Many conditions can cause chronic pain, but they all share one thing in common: they reduce sufferers’ quality of life substantially. Even routine tasks can become unbearable when discomfort is omnipresent. Pharmaceutical drugs can alleviate these problems, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll work. Certain substances even carry heavy addiction risks that put patients in danger. 

Consuming medical marijuana represents a viable pain management solution. Doctors can prescribe the substance to treat chronic muscle spasms, neuropathic pain, cancer-associated discomfort, and other issues. Unlike other pain relievers, there’s a low risk of dependency, and patients aren’t likely to develop serious complications from marijuana.

2. It Reduces Nausea and Spurs Appetite

Serious illness can take a major toll on the body, so patients need all the strength they can get. Eating properly is essentialto this process, yet those suffering from nausea or decreased appetite may not be able to get the nutrition they need. Appetite stimulants and antiemetic drugs can help, but theirside effects may deter patients.

Fortunately, many cancer and HIV patients have seen their appetites increase after consuming medical marijuana. While these drugs don’t treat the causes of sufferers’s discomfort, they do make symptom management much easier.

3. It Can Reduce Seizures Caused by Drug Resistant Epilepsy

Most people think of intoxication when they consider marijuana, but the substance has other facets to it. While the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is dominant in most strains, cannabis also contains cannabidiol (CBD), which has plenty of medical benefits.

The compound’s effects on epilepsy sufferers are among its most promising features. CBD is believed to reduce seizures in patients who live with severe epilepsy or Dravet’s Syndrome. While substantial clinical tests still need to be done, the anecdotal evidence thus far has proven optimistic.

4. It's Proven Useful in PTSD Treatments

Cannabis’s benefits aren’t confined to physical health. The drug may also have therapeutic benefits for those suffering from psychiatric disorders or mental illness. Proponents argue for the substance’s use in anxiety and depression treatments, but post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patients may also benefit. 

Specifically, mental health professionals can use marijuana to alleviate feelings of fear or panic typically associated with the disorder. This treatment isn’t efficient for every case, but it may help in certain instances.

5. It Makes Users More Creative                                                    

Creativity isn’t strictly a medical issue, but it can be related to illness and disorder. Patients who suffer from debilitating conditions may lament the loss of their productivity and function. Consuming medical marijuana can help patients regain some semblance of normality, and even allow them to consider problems in a new light. This can make them solve difficult problems in a faster, more efficient way.

 

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5 Most Common Misconceptions about Weed

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March 22, 2017 9:00 AM

5-Most-Common-Misconceptions-about-Weed.jpgMarijuana has faced stigma since it first came to the public’s attention. Canada’s House of Commons criminalized the drug in 1923 before it had even earned a widespread reputation. It remained completely illegal for all purposes until the early 21st century, when a court ruling led to Canada’s first medical marijuana laws. Still, cannabis users continue to attract negative attention, even as more Canadians support legalization

This stigma becomes especially problematic when it draws upon misinformation or outright fabrications. False information about marijuana doesn’t just hurt the people who use it recreationally. Medical patients who could benefit from cannabis treatment may not consider the drug due to its poor standing. As a result, they may continue to suffer needlessly from pain, appetite loss, nausea, and other conditions that marijuana can reduce. 

The best way to combat the most common misconceptions about weed is to disprove them. In that spirit, this article will outline just a few of the common myths about marijuana and show why they hold less water than a small bong.

1. Cannabis Is a Gateway Drug

The “gateway drug” myth is so prevalent that many people can’t divorce it from the substance itself. Its guiding principle is that marijuana causes users to develop a taste for its effects, which will ultimately lead them to abuse other, harder drugs such as cocaine or heroin. Like many marijuana misconceptions, this idea mistakes cause for correlation. It assumes that cannabis causes users to gravitate toward other drugs, when other factors may play a more substantial role in this shift. 

The myth doesn’t even hold up to scrutiny when other drugs are invoked. Alcohol and nicotine usually precede marijuana use, yet neither are criminalized, let alone labeled “gateway drugs.” Marijuana continues to bear the brunt of this falsehood, even though it’s demonstrably inaccurate. 

2. Marijuana Use Causes Violence

Marijuana and criminality have existed side by side in the popular consciousness since the 1930s. What can you expect when a drug is criminalized before the general public even knows it exists? Despite a lack of evidence, cannabis use has long been seen as a harbinger of violent crime. 

While assault and murder have surrounded the marijuana trade in the past, it’s largely due to its status as an illegal drug. A lack of regulation leaves traffickers with little recourse other than violence should something go wrong. There’s little evidence to show that the substance itself actually causes violent behaviour, and recent studies suggest that sites for marijuana trafficking, such as dispensaries, don’t suffer from higher crime rates.

3. Cannabis Is Highly Addictive

Cannabis addiction is a valid concern. Users can come to depend on the drug, especially if they come to abuse. Yet marijuana’s potential for addiction is miniscule compared to other narcotics. 

Nine percent of cannabis users become dependent on the drug, compared to 23 percent of those who try heroin and 17 percent of cocaine consumers. Even legal drugs are more addictive than cannabis. Fifteen percent of alcohol drinkers develop an addiction to it, while 32 percent of smokers suffer from nicotine dependency. These statistics don’t mean that marijuana addiction is insignificant, but they do show that it’s highly overestimated. 

4. Marijuana Severely Alters Your Brain

Common misconceptions about weed aren’t limited to discussions of public safety and addiction. You’re as likely to hear stories about the substance’s negative effects on the brain as you are to hear about its role in criminality. In reality, both are exaggerated. 

Studies do show that marijuana users’ brains differ from those of non-users. Yet the studies’ authors have never claimed that marijuana is the source of these changes. In fact, they’ve even spoken out against this assertion, showing that confusion between cause and correlation still rein when it comes to marijuana discussions. 

5. Cannabis Is Harmless

Most myths about marijuana inflate its negative effects at the expense of its benefits. Unfortunately, many cannabis advocates do the exact opposite, ignoring its harmful effects while singing its praises. This results in more common misconceptions about weed. 

Marijuana still causes addiction in some users, and smoking the drug does create carcinogens that can cause serious health problems. The stigma surrounding marijuana use is excessive, but that doesn’t mean the drug’s harmful aspects should be disregarded.

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