Marijuana has taken on a new legitimacy in recent years. Not only is it touted for its medicinal properties in aiding the ill to improve appetite and assuage nausea, but the discussion also continues as to whether marijuana itself is medicine. Legislation and the popular vote have legalized the recreational use of marijuana in 4 states: Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon. Many more states have taken a conservative approach opting for decriminalization, while as many as 18 states have legalized medical marijuana.
There are serious claims about the benefits of marijuana use in the clinical sense. The two distinct strains of marijuana are hemp and cannabis. Though they both contain cannabidiol (CBD), the latter's content is 100 times greater than in hemp. Cannabidiol is one of many cannabinoids. Marijuana, aka cannabis, contains over 85 cannabinoids, one of which is CBD. Cannabinoids are excreted from the flowers of the cannabis and contain healing properties that cover a wide range of maladies, from pain to heartburn to chronic conditions like diabetes and Crohn's disease.
Marijuana also contains flavonoids and terpenes. There are said to be over 120 terpenes in cannabis with healing and medicinal properties. Many terpenes are also present in other plants.
Medical Treatment and Benefits
Some of the many medicinal and medical benefits of marijuana are found in terpenes. Beta-myrcene is one terpene said to ease inflammation, nausea and pain, relax muscles, diminish tumors and treat ADHD. Limonene fights tumors, and it can also revitalize the immune system and treat ulcers, heartburn, anxiety and depression. Beta-caryophyllene is a terpene found in black pepper and cloves. In cannabis, this terpene has antiseptic and anti-bacterial, medicinal qualities, diminishing nerve pain and easing inflammation, depression and ulcers. Phytol is used to reduce itching and stimulates the immune system.
Some of the potential benefits of marijuana for treatment of those who are living with cancer includes appetite enhancement, nausea suppression and antiemetic effects, better sleep and pain management, according to National Cancer Institute. A synthetic THC in sesame oil was used for the treatment of chemotherapy side-effects like vomiting and nausea. The product was licensed and approved in 1986 under the name dronabinol. Clinical studies at that time found dronabinol to be at least as effective in the treatment of nausea and vomiting when compared with already available treatments.
Nabiximols contains extracts of THC and cannabidiol from the cannabis. New Zealand, Canada and several European countries have approved the use of Nabiximols for patients with multiple sclerosis and advanced cancer to manage pain and spasticity.
Cannabidiol (CBD) contains many of the medical benefits of marijuana. Some of the CBD medical properties include the following:
- Anti-tumor and anti-cancerous
These medical properties are benefits of marijuana and can have significant effects in a variety of needed treatments. In addition to those already mentioned, CBD is effective in the treatment of neuroinflammation, epilepsy, schizophrenia, anxiety and oxidative injury.
Epidiolex is an investigational drug not yet approved by the FDA, but it holds a lot of promise. Epidiolex is a CBD-based medicine being tested in clinical trials for the treatment of dravet's and lennox-gastaut syndromes, both rare forms of pediatric epilepsy. Sativex is a cannabinoid medication currently available in 11 countries by prescription only for the treatment of spasticity in multiple sclerosis. Although not yet approved in the US, additional countries are anticipated to provide approvals.