What you need to know

Medical Marijuana

The use of medical marijuana for millions of patients suffering from a wide range of health conditions and the subsequent therapeutic benefits has long been documented. Twenty-three states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam, have determined that Cannabis can benefit patients suffering from a wide range of conditions, including the following:



-       Depression “Using compounds derived from cannabis — marijuana — to restore normal endocannabinoid function could potentially help stabilize moods and ease depression,” said Samir Haj-Dahmane, who is spearheading the research at Buffalo University – research that is only just now beginning to ramp up.


-       Cancer   Both scientists and the federal government have released a good amount of evidence showing that cannabinoids fight certain types of cancer. It doesn’t get much more substantial than that. As we search for anti-cancer treatments, the anti-cancer potential of cannabis has been examined in numerous scientific studies on cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids, resulting in promising leads. Significant research has demonstrated that cannabinoids may inhibit or stop the growth of cancers — including breast, brain, liver, pheochromocytoma, melanoma, leukemia, and other kinds of cancer — from spreading or growing. Moreover, cannabinoids have proven to promote apoptosis, the programmed death of tumor cells, while stopping angiogenesis, blood vessel production to the tumor. One study, conducted by Madrid's Complutense University, showed that in one-third of rats treated, the injection of synthetic THC eliminated malignant brain tumors while extending life in another third.

-    Diabetes Considering that Cannabis can regulate ones weight due to insulin promotion, it only makes sense that it would help prevent and regulate Diabetes.

o    stabilizing blood sugars (confirmed via "a large body of anecdotal evidence building among diabetes sufferers")

o    anti-inflammatory action that may help quell some of the arterial inflammation common in diabetes

o    "neuroprotective" effects that help thwart inflammation of nerves and reduce the pain of neuropathy by activating receptors in the body and brain

o    "anti-spasmodic agents" help relieve muscle cramps and the pain of gastrointestinal (GI) disorders

o    acts as a "vasodilator" to help keep blood vessels open and improve circulation

o    contributes to lower blood pressure over time, which is vital for diabetics

o    substituting cannabis butter and oil in foods "benefits cardiac and arterial health in general"

o    it can also be used to make topical creams to relieve neuropathic pain and tingling in hands and feet

o    helps calm diabetic "restless leg syndrome" (RLS), so the patient can sleep better: "it is recommended that patients use a vaporizer or smoked cannabis to aid in falling asleep".


-       Seizures Per a study performed by the Epilepsy Foundation, results from 213 people who received Epidiolex (99% CBD) in an open label study (without a placebo control) were presented at the American Academy of Neurology, April 22, 2015 in Washington DC. Data from 137 people who completed 12 weeks or more on the drug were used to look at how helpful or effective the drug was. People who received the Epidiolex ranged from 2 to 26 years old with an average age of 11. All had epilepsy that did not respond to currently available treatments - 25 or 18% had Dravet Syndrome (DS) and 22 or 16% had Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS).


o    Seizures decreased by an average of 54% in 137 people who completed 12 weeks on Epidiolex.


o    Patients who had DS responded more positively with a 63% decrease in seizures over 3 months.


o    This improvement in seizures lasted through 24 weeks on the Epidiolex, more often for people with DS than without DS.


o    In 27 patients with atonic seizures (which are commonly seen in people with LGS as well as other types of epilepsy), the atonic seizures decreased by 66.7% on average.


o    The responder rate (the number of people whose seizures decreased by at least 50%) was also slightly better in patients with DS (about 55% at 3 months) as compared to patients without DS (50%).


o    People who were also taking the anti-seizure medication Clobazam (Onfi) seemed to respond more favorably to the Epidiolex with a greater improvement in convulsive seizures than in patients who were not taking Clobazam. The authors suggested that an interaction between Clobazam and Epidiolex may play a part in the differences seen.


o    14 people withdrew from the study because the drug was not effective for them.



-       ADHA / ADD Cannabis has shown it’s safer and more effective than medications like Ritalin or Adderall. A person with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is hyperactive and has difficulty staying focused. Likewise, doctors who prescribe cannabis to ADHD patients believe that it can help decrease impulsivity.What’s more, some evidence shows that people not formally treated for ADHD have found cannabis works for them and self-medicate as a result. A study published in 2013 in the Journal of Substance Use & Misuse found that some people may be self-medicating with cannabis to help manage hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. This suggests that it’s possible cannabis might help in treating hyperactive forms of ADHD, according to researchers. Dr. David Bearman, a practicing physician in California and an expert in the medical marijuana field, agrees with the notion that many people may be unknowingly using cannabis to calm their symptoms. “Anybody who uses cannabis before the age of 15 either has ADHD or PTSD until proven otherwise,” he explains. A German study published in 2015 investigated the effects on 30 patients who didn’t respond to Adderall or Ritalin. After cannabis treatment, the majority of subjects experienced “improved concentration and sleep, and reduced impulsivity.” Dr. Eva Milz, a psychiatrist who co-authored the study, said that standard medications were “more demanding” on patients, whereas cannabis brought them “control that helped them in life, love and work, without feeling intoxicated.” According to Bearman, ADHD is one of the disorders associated with a proposed condition termed clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD). If a person who is deficient increases their amount of cannabinoids, “you’re likely to slow down the speed of neurotransmitters and you’re going to give the brain a little bit more time to concentrate and focus,” Bearman says. ADHD patients are typically prescribed stimulant medications, such as Ritalin or Adderall. However, both Milz and Bearman say patients often combine cannabis and stimulants. According to Bearman, cannabis not only treats ADHD, but also treats possible side effects of stimulant medications. For example, stimulant drugs can cause nervousness, loss of appetite and sleep problems, whereas cannabis can treat those issues.However, Bearman says his first choice would be to treat a patient with cannabis alone. “One of the important criteria in practicing medicine is to balance the side effects versus the therapeutic effects. The therapeutic effects of marijuana are the same or better than conventional drugs… and the side effects are much less.”Milz agrees and says many patients prefer marijuana treatment.“ADHD patients don’t seem to use any medication without a clear cost-benefit analysis. Cannabis seems to have the lowest cost,” Milz says.



-       Glaucoma Glaucoma is an eye condition in which the optic nerve becomes damaged over time, reducing side vision. It sometimes leads to blindness. One cause of optic nerve damage in glaucoma is higher-than-normal pressure within the eye (intraocular pressure or "IOP"). Currently, the only way to control glaucoma and prevent vision loss is to lower your IOP levels. Your ophthalmologist can treat glaucoma with medication, such as prescription eye drops, or surgery, depending on the type of glaucoma and how severe it is. Ingesting cannabis helps lower the pressure in the eyeball, giving patients at least temporary relief. Cannabis use may temporarily relieve intra-ocular pressure, but it does not cure glaucoma. Although cannabis use has been shown to decrease IOP and has a favorable safety profile in general, its use is limited by:



o    the fact that it only works for a few hours before another administration is needed, which is important because psychoactive effects may decrease the ability to perform certain duties necessary in daily life, such as driving, and

certain side effects that impact the heart and must be carefully considered or avoided in patients with heart issues.





-       Lung Health Marijuana’s impact on healthy lungs has been a subject of debate for quite some time. Over the years, the act of smoking has faced considerable flack for it’s associated health risks. Yet, when we talk about cannabis, the way the herb affects the lungs is a little more complicated than you might expect. Believe it or not, some studies suggest that cannabis may have some positive effects on the respiratory system.One potential positive effect? An increased lung capacity. Here are the details:Cannabis and lung capacity. In 2012, a group of researchers published an extensive study which showed that smoking marijuana is less harmful than smoking tobacco. This is despite the fact that cannabis smoke contains some of the same carcinogens as tobacco.  The study was conducted over the course of 20 years. Data from 5,115 adults was evaluated. The findings might surprise you: moderate marijuana smokers had a lung capacity that is 1.6% greater than their non-smoking counterparts.Okay, so 1.6% isn’t a whole lot. It correlates to an increase of about 50 millimeters. Lead study author Stefan Kertesz explains: “The net increase is only 50 milliliters. A soda can is 350 milliliters, so we’re talking about an amount that’s one-seventh the size of a soda can.”



-       Alzheimer’s Disease A preclinical study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that very small doses of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a chemical found in marijuana, can slow the production of beta-amyloid proteins, thought to be a hallmark characteristic and key contributor to the progression of Alzheimer’s. The study, published in 2014, is among others to support the effectiveness of THC in prohibiting the growth of toxic amyloid plagues. Co-author of the study, Neel Nabar, cautions against drawing quick conclusions from their study saying: “It’s important to keep in mind that just because a drug may be effective doesn’t mean it can be safely used by anyone. However, these findings may lead to the development of related compounds that are safe, legal, and useful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.” Another study from the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California has also found that tetrahydrocannabinol and other compounds found in marijuana may reduce the amount of beta amyloid in the brain. Beta amyloid is a hallmark characteristic of Alzheimer’s and is commonly thought to cause the neurodegenerative disease. While the findings are preliminary, researchers are optimistic about their findings. David Schubert, professor at the Salk Institute and senior author on the study says, “Although other studies have offered evidence that cannabinoids might be neuroprotective against the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, we believe our study is the first to demonstrate that cannabinoids affect both inflammation and amyloid beta accumulation in nerve cells.” In the study, researchers found that by exposing beta amyloid proteins to THC, it reduced the levels of beta amyloid, stopped the inflammatory response from the nerve cells caused by beta amyloid and allowed the nerve sells to survive. Antonio Currais, a postdoctoral researcher and first author on the paper noted: “Inflammation within the brain is a major component of the damage associated with Alzheimer’s disease, but it has always been assumed that this response was coming from immune-like cells in the brain, not the nerve cells themselves. When we were able to identify the molecular basis of the inflammatory response to amyloid beta, it became clear that THC-like compounds that the nerve cells make themselves may be involved in protecting the cells from dying.”




-       Multiple Sclerosis Research findings suggest that cannabis could slow the neurodegenerative process of multiple sclerosis. Studies have shown that cannabinoids are involved in the regulation of the immune system by way of acting upon the cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid system. Cannabinoids have shown they can modulate the inflammatory reaction and assist in neuroregeneration (Kubajewska & Constantinescu, 2010) (Croxford, et al., 2008). In one study, cannabinoids demonstrated neuroprotective effects during an animal model of multiple sclerosis, reducing the damage to myelin caused from inflammation (Pryce, et al., 2003). Another study found that cannabinoids administered to animals with a model of multiple sclerosis reduced neurological disability, improved motor coordination and limited the progression of the disease (de Lago, et al., 2012). Cannabis can help multiple sclerosis patients manage the symptoms associated with their disease. Cannabis has shown to be effective at reducing pain, muscle stiffness and spasms in multiple sclerosis patients (Koppel, et al., 2014) (Wade, et al., 2004). In one study, multiple sclerosis patients saw significant improvements in muscle spasticity and reduced sleep disturbances after four weeks of cannabis treatment (Novotna, et al., 2011). A similar study found that multiple sclerosis patients experienced pain and sleep improvements after five weeks of treatment with cannabis containing both THC and CBD (Rog, Nurmikko, Friede & Young, 2005). In a questionnaire, multiple sclerosis patients responded that cannabis was effective in improving spasticity, chronic pain of extremities, tremors, emotional dysfunctions, fatigue, double vision, bowel and bladder dysfunctions, dysfunctions of walking and balance and memory loss (Consroe, et al., 1997). There is evidence suggesting that cannabis may worsen cognitive problems in MS patients. MS patients that were regular users of street cannabis have scored significantly worse on cognitive function tests (Honarmand, et al., 2011) (Pavisian, et al., 2014).


-       Cannabinoids were effective at reducing neurological disability and the progression of the disease in mice with an animal form of MS.
Cannabinoids ameliorate disease progression in a model of multiple sclerosis in mice, acting preferentially through CB1 receptor-mediated anti-inflammatory effects. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22342378)

-       Four weeks of cannabis treatment caused significant spasm improvements in MS patients.
A randomized double-blind-placebo-controlled, parallel-group, enriched-design study of nabiximols* (Sativex(®)), as add-on therapy, in subjects with refractory spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis. 

-       Five weeks of cannabis treatment significantly reduced pain and improved sleep in MS patients.
Randomized, controlled trial of cannabis-based medicine in central pain in multiple sclerosis. 



-       PTSD According to Mayo Clinic, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a devastating mental condition that can occur after a traumatizing event has made a person fear their life was in immediate danger. PTSD can be the aftermath of a powerful assault on the person’s mind and emotions. The conventional treatments for PTSD may not be effective in some patients, so many are self-medicating with cannabis (marijuana) to improve their quality of life.*PTSD Symptoms Alleviated by Cannabis Antidepressants and benzodiazepines are often prescribed to treat PTSD symptoms; however, many people prefer using cannabis as a natural alternative to these drugs. There are various debilitating PTSD symptoms that can be alleviated by cannabis such as:

o    Insomnia

o    Severe anxiety

o    Fear

o    Lack of appetite

o    Anger issues

o    Irritability

o    Flashbacks

o    Depression or general sadness

Researchers believe cannabis works by removing associations to painful memories. This is helpful in PTSD patients who have flashbacks when they smell, hear or see something associated with the traumatic event that caused the PTSD. By extinguishing memory associations, PTSD patients may gradually see symptoms improve.

Proponents argue that the side effects of cannabis are trivial compared to side effects of pharmaceutical drugs given to treat PTSD. Common side effects of this medicinal herb include feeling happy, increases in appetite, cotton mouth and red eyes. These side effects are compared to those of antidepressants which may include agitation, headaches, sexual problems and even suicidal thinking.




-       Nausea Next up on our list of marijuana facts: nausea. This is a relatively common feeling, and one that is brought on by any number of things. Some people live with constant bouts on a daily basis, and as you can imagine, it can be debilitating. How does cannabis come into the picture? Chemical compounds in cannabis react with brain receptors to regulate feelings of nausea. This is a particular boon for chemotherapy patients.


This just to name a few, but Medical Cannabis has a wider range of healing, helping and preventative properties for diseases such as AID/HIV, Arthritis, Drug & Alcohol Abuse and so much more.


Lexi V