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Suffering from PTSD? Here’s How Medical Cannabis Can Help

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December 29, 2017 9:00 AM

Suffering-from-PTSD-Here’s-How-Medical-Cannabis-Can-Help---compressor.jpgPost-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious mental health condition that often doesn’t get treated because the people who suffer from it don’t want to be stigmatized. 

It’s only in the past couple of years that society has started to take the condition seriously, even though it’s been around for arguably hundreds of years. 

If you suffer from PTSD, medical cannabis can help.

What Is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition and anxiety disorder. People can get it after experiencing a traumatic event. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM5) defines a traumatic event as “exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence.” People who suffer from PTSD are also more likely to commit suicide.

Who Can Get PTSD?

It’s most often seen in veterans coming back from the front lines, who have seen and experienced terrible things. Veterans from WWI and WWII also suffered from PTSD (and one would assume veterans from previous historic wars), though it was never talked about. Now, it is being talked about, but not nearly enough. 

Another group of people who routinely suffer from PTSD are first responders. First responders are the first people on scene after car crashes, violent altercations, medical emergencies, and fires. These people experience the worst days of citizens’ lives on a regular basis. It’s not surprising many of them experience PSTD.

While it’s most common for veterans and first responders to experience PSTD, anyone who experiences a traumatic event can develop it. People who are abused, those who have undergone major surgery, or those who have experienced natural disasters can all develop PTSD.

Symptoms of PTSD

There are many different symptoms of PTSD. Some of the symptoms can include:

Physical Symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Stomachache
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension

Emotions:

  • Shame
  • Anger
  • Anxiety/Fear
  • Guilt

Behaviours:

  • Aggression
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep

How Can Medical Cannabis Help?

Medical cannabis can help treat a variety of health conditions including PTSD. Medical cannabis is known to be able to treat many mental health conditions without the side effects prescription drugs have. It’s the side effects of those drugs that can make life more difficult for people suffering from PTSD, and life is already challenging enough.

Where to Get Medical Cannabis Therapy?

The Aleafia Total Health Network is the place to get medical cannabis therapy if you’re suffering from PTSD. The Aleafia Total Health Network is a licensed and registered marijuana dispensary, as well as a health clinic.

Aleafia prides itself on giving its patients excellent “pre, during and post” treatment care, so you’re looked after during every step of your health journey. Aleafia has a whole team of medical personnel who will look after you once you become a patient. They are interested in doing more than just authorizing medical cannabis—they seek to provide holistic healthcare. This means they don’t just give you a Band-Aid solution to your problem. They’ll provide you with access to many types of therapy to ensure the root of your health problems is being addressed.

Legalities

There’s always some confusion when it comes to the legalities of marijuana dispensaries. Aleafia is a fully licensed and registered dispensary for medical cannabis. It’s a licensed producer and distribution. As long as you have a medical marijuana card, you’re able to partake in medical cannabis therapy with no problems.

PTSD is a serious mental health condition. It’s only been considered as one, however, in the past couple of years, so there’s a long way to go in learning how to treat it. What is known though is that medical cannabis does help treat PTSD, and if you suffer from it, you should look into medical cannabis therapy. It could really help.

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Topics: medical conditions

Can Medical Cannabis Help with Pain Relief?

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December 27, 2017 9:00 AM

Can-Medical-Cannabis-Help-with-Pain-Relief---compressor.jpgWhen it comes to medical cannabis, there’s a lot of confusion. The general public doesn’t have a lot of information about what medical cannabis can do and how it can help them. It’s not considered to be a mainstream medical treatment option yet, and because of this, many people are left in the dark and aren’t aware of their options with it. 

One of the biggest misconceptions about medical cannabis is in regards to pain relief. It’s probably the best-known reason why people use cannabis for medical reasons, but still, the benefits are not well-known to all. 

What Is Medical Cannabis?

Medical cannabis is medical-grade marijuana produced by licensed producers that has been authorized to patients by their doctors. The cannabis plant has been used for thousands of years, across many different cultures for medical use. Despite that, the use of it is still highly controversial in modern society. However, there are some organizations like Aleafia that are trying to change that perception.

The Problem with Opioids

Chronic pain is a serious condition that many people suffer from, but there aren’t many treatment options. The most common drugs given to chronic pain suffers are opioids. Opioids are highly addictive, but doctors have been prescribing them for years without fully knowing or understanding the adverse effects that opioids were having on their patients—at least until recently.

We now have an opioid crisis in Canada because so many people are addicted to them. Doctors are trying to cut back on prescribing these drugs, but it doesn’t leave them with many options for their patients who are suffering from constant pain. 

This is why many people are turning to medical marijuana to help them with their pain.

Pain Relief

For some people, pain relief is hard to come by because the mainstream options (usually opioids) aren’t being prescribed as often because of the dangers they pose. This leaves many people with few options. Luckily, these patients can turn to medical marijuana to help them.

One of the main reasons people use medical marijuana is to help manage their pain, but there’s more to managing pain than simply using medical marijuana.

Managing Pain at a Total Health Clinic

At Aleafia’s total health clinic, for example, pain management is handled with more than just medical marijuana. Many people are under the assumption that people who use medical marijuana do so without doing anything else to help mitigate their pain, and that’s far from the truth.

At total health clinics like Aleafia’s, chronic pain is managed holistically. Medical cannabis may be used, but physiotherapy, massage therapy, or other treatments might also be part of the treatment plan.

Total health clinics works to treat the whole patient. To do this they develop a plan for treating “pre, during, and post” treatment needs. Working on treating the whole of a patient means that doctors are looking for why a person is in pain, and then working to mitigate that pain with more than just a Band-Aid.

Clearing up Misconceptions

Misconceptions abound when it comes to medical cannabis, but it’s only with more exposure and information that people will start to understand how helpful and life changing it can be for those experiencing different medical problems, including those who are in chronic pain.

If you are suffering from chronic pain and aren’t interesting in taking opioids, book an appointment with a total health clinic to discuss your treatment options.

Managing pain and finding pain relief can be challenging for patients, but medical marijuana is another option for this condition that many people haven’t explored yet.

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Topics: medical conditions

Study Shows Majority of Chronic Pain & Mental Health Patients Prefer Cannabis to Opioids

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July 12, 2017 9:00 AM

Study Shows Majority of Chronic Pain & Mental Health Patients Prefer Cannabis to Opioids---1.jpgAccording to a study published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, university researchers found that chronic pain & mental health patients prefer cannabis to opioids. The study was published in February of this year and surveyed 250 patients, 63% of which used prescribed cannabis instead of their other prescribed opioids, sedatives, and antidepressants.

This study highlights the benefits of using medicinal marijuana to not only treat chronic health conditions, but improve one’s overall quality of life. This eye-opening study is significant for those who suffer from chronic pain or mental health issues, but who are on the fence about whether to have open dialogue with their doctor about using medicinal marijuana. Read on for more details.

It’s About Feeling Safe and In Control

The top reasons cited by the 63% of patients who substituted opioids and benzodiazepines with their medical cannabis were for fewer side-effects, feeling safer about using medical marijuana versus traditional drugs, and bettering their symptom management. So, really it’s a matter of patients wanting to feel safer about their prescription use. And feeling safer is knowing that they are in control of their symptoms, both for their medical conditions and their prescription side-effects.

Of all the classes of drugs that patients tracked by the study were using, opioids and benzodiazepines were the primary two classes of drugs substituted. There’s some strong reasons for this as both opioids and benzodiazepines are linked to a high probability of developing dependencies and combination use. Cannabis in comparison to opioids and benzodiazepines have a much lower probability of dependence-forming, and there’s no mortality issue associated with medical marijuana.

A little-known fact about medical marijuana is that dosages for such a prescription are miniscule compared to recreational users’ intakes. In addition, according to a 2010 Canadian Medical Association Journal study the patients who used the small dosages of medical cannabis had greater pain relief than those who used a placebo.

Medical Marijuana Accessibility Could Save More Lives

There’s currently an epidemic in North America related to opioid overdose and dependence. Not to mention that combination use of opioids and benzodiazepines leads to a higher chance of overdose-related deaths. Making medical marijuana less stigmatized and accessible as a regular treatment for chronic pain and mental health issues could save more lives. But current legislation and resistance by more traditional medical practitioners makes it difficult for patients to find out what their options are for acquiring a prescription for their conditions.

Aside from health spending accounts, which allow beneficiaries cover the cost of medical marijuana and any other CRA-approved health expenses, there aren’t many insurance plans that offer such coverage. Increasing the amount of coverage for medical marijuana would go a long way to saving health costs and offering a healthier alternative to traditional drugs.

 Positive Discussions with Doctors

An important part of making medical marijuana more accessible for patients with chronic pain and mental health issues is to learn how to talk to your doctor about the alternative. The stigma of criminalization that’s been attached to marijuana has unfortunately discouraged a lot of patients from openly discussing the medical benefits of cannabis with their doctors.

There’s different strains of medical marijuana and to ensure you are being dosed with the appropriate strain you need to discuss what symptoms of your health conditions need the most managing. We need to encourage open and educational discussions between patients and doctors about what marijuana can do for chronic pain and illness. Otherwise, overdependency on more traditional drugs will only continue.

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Topics: medical conditions

Do You Suffer from a Condition Medical Marijuana Can Help?

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February 22, 2017 9:00 AM

Do-You-Suffer-from-a-Condition-Medical-Marijuana-Can-Help.jpgIt should come as no surprise that cannabis has medical applications. A few of the substance’s chemical components have been synthesized into medications that treat everything from loss of appetite to neuropathic pain and more. But medical marijuana itself has become more prevalent since the mid-1990s. California famously legalized the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes in 1996, and a court decision in 2000 paved the way for the Canadian Medical Marijuana Access Regulations the following year. 

While many states and countries have adopted some form of medical marijuana legislation, relatively few people consider it as a viable way to treat their symptoms. This may stem from stigma surrounding the drug or logistical concerns that arise from specific jurisdictions. 

Either way, more patients need to understand that cannabis may help combat symptoms associated with a variety of severe disorders. These are just a few of the illnesses medicinal cannabis can help treat.

Cancer

Chemotherapy is a notoriously difficult process for cancer patients. It often constitutes a necessary part of a patient’s treatment plan, but it can severely impair his or her living standards. Affected parties may suffer from fatigue, nausea, pain, insomnia, and more. 

Medical marijuana may help reduce this discomfort for certain patients. It can counteract all of the symptoms mentioned above and help patients achieve a feeling of normalcy again. While reports that marijuana can treat or cure cancer are often exaggerated, the drug still represents a promising way to take the edge off certain symptoms.

HIV/AIDS

Chemotherapy and HIV/AIDS treatments share many of the same side effects. They can both produce nausea, pain, headaches, fatigue, and other problems in patients, all of which can make life extremely unpleasant. As with cancer treatments, medical marijuana represents a viable solution for these problems. Patients can take a range of different medicinal cannabis strains to achieve a greater degree of relief from these side effects.

Multiple Sclerosis

As with HIV/AIDS, there’s currently no known cure for multiple sclerosis. The disorder affects patients’ brains and spinal cords, which ultimately results in neurological problems, muscle weakness, and more. It can be treated, but available medications may not eliminate all of the side effects associated with the condition. 

Again, medical marijuana can’t treat multiple sclerosis itself, but it can reduce symptoms to the point where everyday life becomes more manageable for patients. Those who use medicinal cannabis for this purpose often gain greater control over their bladders, mobility, vision, and more.

Epilepsy

Epilepsy can severely disrupt sufferers’ lives. Inopportune seizures impede patients’ quality of life, and conventional treatments can’t always prevent them. Fortunately, medicinal cannabis can offer relief.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that isolated cannabidiol (CBD) can severely reduce the number of seizures a patient experiences. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, has also been known to prevent convulsions, so marijuana may prove to be greater than the sum of its parts when it comes to epilepsy treatment.

Chronic Pain

From damaged nervous systems to constant headaches, medical cannabis can relieve a wide range of chronic pain. THC is often considered to be an effective anti-inflammatory, but it can also distract patients from the constant discomfort these conditions can bring. As a result, it may represent an effective alternative to opioids and other dangerously addictive prescription medications.

Anxiety/Depression

The links between mental health and cannabis use can be difficult to accurately portray. However, certain strains of medicinal cannabis can reduce patients’ depression or anxiety. That’s because CBD produces relaxing effects that can help mitigate the mental discomfort that these patients face. While this treatment option doesn’t work for everyone, it may give some users temporary relief.

 

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Topics: medical conditions

The Best Cannabis for Sleep and Insomnia

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January 06, 2017 9:00 AM

The-Best-Cannabis-for-Sleep-and-Insomnia.jpgToday, tens of thousands of Canadians use medical marijuana to treat medical ailments. Health Canada has allowed patients to access cannabis legally since 2001, and it’s had a significant effect on the ways in which cancer, HIV/AIDS, chronic pain, and other issues are treated. As marijuana has gained more widespread acceptance, the issue has shifted away from questions about its suitability as medicine to its effect on users’ lifestyles. It can be difficult for patients to maintain their regular routines when cannabis impairs their motor and cognitive functions. As a result, the general public needs more information about the ways in which specific strains of marijuana can be used in certain instances. 

Take sleep, for example. Based on cultural stereotypes, casual observers may think that marijuana makes users lazy and tired. But certain strains can actually have the opposite effect. If a patient takes a sativa strain late at night to manage their ailment, it may keep them awake long past their desired bedtime. This can have a disruptive effect on the user’s wellbeing and overall health. The point of medical marijuana, after all, is to reduce a patient’s suffering, and if a strain just produces stress, it will have the opposite effect. As a result, every patient must understand how marijuana strains can affect their sleep patterns. This article will educate readers on some of the best and most common varieties of cannabis that can help users fall asleep.

Granddaddy Purple

In our introduction, we mentioned that the heady, thought-provoking high associated with sativas can keep patients awake if they consume it at night. If you want the best cannabis for sleep, you’ll definitely want to try a hybrid at the very least, if not a full-blown indica. The latter usually produces a heavy body-high that can help you melt away into sleep. 

Those looking for this type of relaxation should invest in some Granddaddy Purple. Made from two other indicas (Purple Urkle and Big Bud), Granddaddy Purple has high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), so its psychoactive effects may be too much for some users. But the strain’s fans report that it produces pain and stress relief, as well as a drowsiness that any tired patient will welcome.

Cannatonic

Don’t give up hope if Granddaddy Purple’s THC levels are too much for you. This compound is among the most commonly discussed chemical components of marijuana, but it’s not the only one. Cannabidiol (CBD) produces a relaxing effect without inducing the paranoia and anxiety common to THC-heavy strains. So if many strains send you into a spiral of doubt and worry, a different strain may be the best cannabis for sleep. 

Enter Cannatonic, a hybrid variety with less than six per cent THC. This high-CBD strain gives you the sleepiness of an indica without the racing thoughts that can ruin any marijuana experience. While this strain is commonly recommended for headaches, inflammation and other pain-based issues, it also produces a relaxing effect that will have your head hitting the pillow in no time at all.

Afghan Kush

You’ve probably heard the word “kush” thrown around as a catch-all term for marijuana, but it has a more specific definition you may not know about. A kush is a strain of indica commonly associated with India and Pakistan that produces a heavy, sedated feeling in its users. This label definitely applies to Afghan Kush, making it an ideal option for stress and insomnia relief. Bake it into edibles for a more lasting effect that will allow you to rest for longer periods of time.

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Topics: medical conditions

The Ultimate Marijuana Strain Guide for Treating Medical Conditions

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December 28, 2016 9:00 AM

The-Ultimate-Marijuana-Strain-Guide-for-Treating-Medical-Conditions-1.jpgThe media often reports broadly on medical cannabis, to the point where the public believes that marijuana in general treats illnesses. While many strains have health benefits, only specific ones will actually make patients feel better. As a result, any useful marijuana strain guide must offer advice on which varieties offer which effects. Thankfully, this is one of those lists. 

If you need help finding the right type of cannabis for your illness, don’t hesitate to complete this marijuana strain guide.

Pain Relief

Simply trying to stamp out “pain” is usually a futile treatment option. This irritation can have many causes and is usually localized in one part of the body, so trying to use a general solution to a specific problem is like being told to restart a computer when its monitor is smashed. Thankfully, there are strains available for treating both broad and localized pain

The cannabinoids found in marijuana usually need to work together to offer effective relief, and most contain high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), if not cannabidiol. General pain relievers run the gamut from sativa to indica, with Granddaddy Purple, Sour Diesel, Girl Scout Cookies and Blue Dream all representing valuable treatment options. Blue Widow can help with arthritis pain, while Motivation hybrid can help with the muscle spasms common to multiple sclerosis. While some strains may actually bring on headaches, Purple Kush is an indica that can actually relieve them. No matter the type of pain from which you suffer, there are marijuana strains that can help you find some comfort.

Nausea and Low Appetite

Treatments for cancer and HIV/AIDS can wreak havoc on patients’ guts. Prescribed drugs and/or chemotherapy can bring on an unrelenting nausea, and this makes it difficult for the person in question to eat. Still, patients need to continue eating to keep up their strength, and marijuana can play a key role in reducing these negative side effects. 

Indicas and hybrids are especially adept at treating these conditions. Commonly available strains such as Purple OG Kush and the aptly named Chemo can make a stomach stop churning and bring on the munchies. However, these brands can also make a user feel extremely heavy lidded, so those who can’t afford to lose focus or relax should be mindful of their intake, especially if they’re using Purple OG Kush.

Epilepsy

While pain relief requires high levels of THC and CBD, epilepsy patients generally want to minimize the former while maintaining the latter. THC has little use in reducing seizures, and its psychoactive effects can be disruptive, especially when the patients are children. If the strain has more than four per cent CBD, however, it will likely alleviate these problems without creating much of a high. This ensures an effective treatment while allowing for a relatively normal state of mind. 

Strains such as Cannatonic can be a godsend in this regard. CBD levels reach up to 17 per cent, which is extremely high, while still offering a relaxed high thanks to its minimal THC content. If you’re looking for an agreeable epilepsy treatment option, no other choice in this marijuana strain guide will do.

Anxiety and Depression

Mental illness rarely manifests itself in solely psychological symptoms. Depression sufferers will often see their appetites decline, while anxiety patients may feel a tightness in their chests and shoulders as their thoughts race. Marijuana can help alleviate these physical ailments while therapy or other drugs take care of the illness’s psychological roots. High CBD strains like Harlequin can help anxiety patients feel better without clouding their thoughts, while Cannatonic can also relieve the lethargy that depression brings.

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Topics: medical conditions

Why You Should Consider Medical Marijuana for Fatigue and Depression

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November 23, 2016 9:00 AM

Why-You-Should-Consider-Medical-Marijuana-for-Fatigue-and-Depression-.jpgIn the ongoing debate about the draws and drawbacks of medical marijuana, the discussion of depression is among the most contentious.

Some say marijuana has incredible, positive effects on those suffering from depression, as well as related symptoms such as fatigue, chronic pain, stress, and anxiety.

Others say it does nothing, or even worse, brings people’s moods down. This is an extremely worthwhile subject to investigate and hopefully reach conclusions about, as millions suffer from depression, and medical marijuana is certainly on the cusp of great pervasiveness in society.

Marijuana as a Method to Restore/Replace EndocannabinoidImbalance

Let’s turn first to a study from the University at Buffalo. The findings weren’t all concrete, but the 2015 work suggests that depression linked to chronic stress–a major and frequent factor in both temporary and long-term, clinically diagnosed episodes–can seemingly be positively altered by the use of marijuana.

It all comes down to the role stress plays in ebbing away at naturally produced chemical compounds in the brain calledendocannabinoids. And if that canni root word reminds you of a certain sprawling green leaf, it’s because the chemical is closely related to ingredients found in pot, such as the oft-mentioned THC.

By smoking marijuana, it is suggested that people can restore this eroded chemical and help balance their mood. While the study’s writers and others have since continued exploring the idea for utmost verification–it was originally done on animals–there’s good reason to believe it has some veracity to it. After all, marijuana has been used both medicinally and via self-administration for a long time, particularly as a relief agent for stress and post-stress disorders.

Marijuana, Endocannabinoids, and the Link to Serotonin

If you’re looking for a study that sounds a little more like the doctor’s orders, you should read up on McGill’s 2007 work. All in one source, the Montreal university cleanly and clearly states the benefits and dangers of using medicinal marijuana for depression.

Their bottom line? Pot helps with depression—as long as you don’t smoke too much. Indeed, research both in the lab and on the sofa can agree: It feels good to smoke marijuana; just don’t go overboard!

McGill’s study delves into some of the same endocannabinoid details as UB’s did, but it beat them to the punch by a whole eight years, and also makes a clear link not only to how the drug’s effects can mimic those of endocannabinoids, but in turn that endocannabinoids are directly related to serotonin–read, the most important chemical in depression and the fight against it.

Going Forward

Like most medicines, the data mostly seem to suggest that marijuana can be a great remedy for depression and related conditions like fatigue, so long as it’s used prudently, not recklessly.

As for the arguments that marijuana actually causes depression? Malarkey. There’s little to no evidence that, when used responsibly, in light doses for casual highs, it has any such an effect on the brain. What is more likely, and has been suggested by numerous scientists including some of the study authors mentioned above, is that depression and marijuana go hand-in-hand in public discourses and psychologists’ offices specifically because the drug’s positive effects have long been unofficially recognized and harnessed by those suffering from depression.

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Topics: medical conditions

How Medicinal Marijuana Helps Relieve Stress and Anxiety

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November 16, 2016 9:00 AM

How_Medicinal_Marijuana_Helps_Relieve_Stress_and_Anxiety.jpgMarijuana has perennially held a reputation for mellowing people out–this is nothing new. Much like some of cannabis’s other effects, we’re now reaching a period where long-standing lived experience is finally converging with scientific reasoning, not only confirming marijuana’s benefits on a more thorough, peer-reviewed level, but also enlightening us as to why those benefits exist.

Elsewhere, you can find emerging science that reveals how medicinal marijuana may reduce nausea, headaches, and chronic pain. Here, we’ll take a look at the facts and theories concerning how the drug helps relieve stress and anxiety.

Amygdala: The Magic Word

The first study we’ll look at contains a lot of medical shorthand and MD jargon. But the most important word in Vanderbilt University’s scrupulous 13-page work is “amygdala.” Without getting too complicated, the amygdala is a pair of almond-shaped clumps in the temporal lobes of the brain, responsible for key functions such as memory, decision-making, emotional regulation, and–most important here–anxiety.

There’s a lot of dense research on the amygdala (it’s become a point of fascination for armchair psychologists and degree-holders alike), but what you really need to know is that panic attacks and most general unease come from the amygdala mistaking stress for physical danger, and thus activating the body’s heart-pumping, hand-trembling, lung-squeezing fight-or-flight response.

The study above was among the first to find a direct correlation between marijuana use and (temporary) effects on the amygdala–albeit in mice. It has since been heavily cited and circulated online, but it’s just one way to begin considering how pot can help relieve stress and anxiety.

Normalizing Unhealthy Levels

A joint study (pun intended) by the National Institute of Health, University of Calgary, and Rockefeller University, which highlighted stress and anxiety as the biggest reason for pot use, also mentions the amygdala, and goes on to say that as long as the dose is within reason, marijuana seems to have a clear ability to reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety, even among people with full-blown anxiety disorders.

Furthermore, this study posits that what pot is actually doing to mellow people out is regulate and modulate abnormal brain levels that cause stress and anxiety; in other words, medicinal marijuana, when properly administered, can actually help normalize an unhealthy brain.

An Additional Possibility

Finally, if we accept the evidence that marijuana has benefits for the management of chronic pain, we can easily conclude how this, in turn, can help feelings of stress and anxiety, which may cause, be caused by, or exacerbated by feelings of physical discomfort.

Moving Forward

Of course, any scientist, doctor, or friend worth their salt will tell you that medicinal marijuana alone shouldn’t be relied upon as a crutch if someone is experiencing truly extreme and persistent stress and anxiety. It’s also important to note that some have said marijuana use worsens their anxiety: Much like any drug, pharmaceutical or not, the effects won’t be the same for everyone, not to mention the importance of other variables like the strain, amount taken, combinations with other drugs, and even your social setting. 

But what the evidence on display here does suggest is that the drug’s long tradition of self-medication seems to be grounded in some genuine reasoning, and that those who feel that it helps them personally have solid motivation to continue using it.

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Topics: medical conditions

How Medicinal Marijuana Can Help with Chronic Pain

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October 26, 2016 9:00 AM

How_Medicinal_Marijuana_Can_Help_with_Chronic_Pain.jpgWhile it was once recognized by the general public mainly for its recreational use, marijuana has become a valid and quite respected form of medicine in the last couple of decades, as evidenced by its gradual legalization in Canada and many parts of the U.S.

Medicinal marijuana’s benefits are multitudinous, ranging from scientifically grounded physiological effects used to treat conditions as serious as multiple sclerosis, to the simpler fact that its use helps people feel good, which can make a genuine and important difference in fighting nausea, headaches, and other symptoms or conditions.

Here we’ll offer a deeper look at some of the specific and surprising ways medicinal marijuana can help alleviate chronic pain.

How Marijuana Can Help With Headaches

There is emerging research that appears to confirm something many migraine sufferers have already known for some time: Marijuana helps fight severe and painful migraines.

In a study by the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, and picked up by publications such as LiveScience, 103 out of 121 people examined experienced a reduction in migraines after they began using marijuana, with a fairly significant average drop from 10.4 headaches to 4.6 a month.

While the above study didn’t detail how cannabis helps with headaches, the prevalent theories include marijuana’s activation of CB2 receptors, and the more obvious fact that stress is a known trigger of migraines, and marijuana helps with stress.

In the U.S., medicinal marijuana’s role in migraine relief may soon grow stronger: In July, a judge ordered state officials to consider adding migraines to the list of conditions that allow someone to obtain a prescription.

How Marijuana Can Help with Nerve Pain

Some argue that the calming effects of marijuana, which may play a fundamental role in its ability to reduce pain, make it more akin to a placebo than an actual effective medication. While the role of a simple calming agent shouldn’t be understated, newer research also aims to eschew that this is all there is to marijuana.

A much-cited study at McGill University in Montreal looked deeper into how marijuana can help dull chronic pain relating to nerves (yet another unsurprising confirmation for long-time users).

This study looked at 21 people who suffered from chronic neuropathic pain, often caused by surgery. Essentially, the people received a rotation of different potencies of marijuana for five days each, without knowing which potency they were receiving–including five days with a placebo. The potency of the marijuana made a tangible, recordable difference in the people’s pain levels, with the placebo having the least effect.

So how does marijuana reduce this pain? According to doctors at Oxford University, the drug doesn’t eliminate the source of the pain, but it makes the symptom far more bearable. The THC in cannabis temporarily reduces activity responsible for experiencing pain in some people’s brains.

What this research highlights is that by acting as an intermediary between cause and painful effect, marijuana can lighten chronic pain in some patients regardless of its cause (or its curability).

Looking Forward

Of course there’s debate about how effective marijuana is for chronic pain. We can’t neglect the fact that its modern usage is still inevitably tied to its past, when it was demonized by society for its more pleasurable uses.

It appears expert reviews are finally catching up to the anecdotal evidence that has been around for years. Some of the science is simple: It’s never been doubted that marijuana can help assuage stress, which can lead to bodily tension and high blood pressure, and these in turn can lead to innumerable, uncomfortable symptoms. But some other science is revealing bold new findings. 

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Topics: medical conditions

Why You Should Consider Medical Marijuana for Digestive Disorders

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September 28, 2016 9:00 AM

Why_You_Should_Consider_Medical_Marijuana_for_Digestive_Disorders.jpgThis article from the U.S. National Library of Medicine sums up the issue surrounding medical marijuana’s efficacy in treating digestive disorders. Many researchers believe that the endocannabinoids found in cannabis could relieve symptoms related to gastrointestinal problems. However, because of societal taboos surrounding the drug and its status as an illegal narcotic in many countries, no conclusive tests regarding its helpfulness or harmfulness have been conducted. Thus, any results that attempt to address the issue are anecdotal, and may not adequately portray the risks or benefits that the drug can offer.

With that in mind, medical marijuana could be a promising option if you suffer from stomach, bowel, or other digestive disorders. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the substance has antiemetic properties and that it can be useful in treating Crohn’s disease, among other benefits. In this post, we’ll elaborate on some of the reasons why medical marijuana may be able to help you manage your ongoing digestive disorder.

It Can Be Extremely Effective Against Crohn’s Disease and Other Inflammatory Bowel Disorders

As the San Francisco Chronicle’s website notes, official websites such as the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America emphasize opioids as an effective measure for reducing pain due to Crohn’s disease. However, opioids are highly addictive and carry a high risk of overdose. These factors put a high level of strain on health care systems in both Canada and the United States, since the state must then accommodate further treatment options to deal with health problems arising from addiction. So beyond leading to a miserable and potentially shorter life, opioids represent a broader societal strain.

Medical marijuana can act as an alternative, one that carries little risk of addiction or death, and that actually works with the body to eliminate the negative symptoms of Crohn’s and colitis. As previously discussed, marijuana features many different chemicals, including endocannabinoids. These substances interact with nerve receptors in the human body, especially in the stomach and intestines.

The San Francisco Chronicle article also outlines the positive effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the main components of cannabis. THC has been known to provide both psychological and physical medical benefits, but for our purposes, it’s especially relevant for its anti-inflammatory properties. Both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are known as inflammatory bowel diseases, which means that they create swelling and excessive heat in a subject’s gastrointestinal tract. It is caused when a body’s digestive system suddenly faces an assault from its own immune system. While the exact causes are unknown and there is no definitive cure, THC’s anti-inflammatory tendencies may make it an effective treatment option.

It Can Help Prevent Vomiting and Nausea

While medicinal marijuana may be effective against inflammatory bowel diseases, it also has antiemetic properties that can make it a key vomit suppressant. Limited medical studies seem to suggest that, while the psychoactive nature of the drug aren’t necessarily practical for everyday use, marijuana cigarettes did reduce the nausea and vomiting experienced by patients who had taken ipecac.

These results may have wider significance, as marijuana may be useful for limiting vomiting symptoms in other, non-inflammatory diseases. For example, a 1994 study found that while some cancer patients suffered negative effects from the drug, more than half believed that marijuana was beneficial in alleviating vomiting, nausea, and other symptoms associated with chemotherapy. If medical marijuana proves to be as effective as these tests suggest, it may be able to help make life bearable for patients who need to undergo therapies with adverse side effects. 

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Topics: medical conditions

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