Medical Usage

Cannabis has been used as a medicine for thousands of years, dating back at least to Shennung in 2737 BC   

Sativa and Indica comparison

Sativa

Medical use of sativa is associated with a cerebral high, and many patients experience stimulating effects. For this reason, sativa is often used for daytime treatment. It may cause more of a euphoric, “high” sensation, and tends to stimulate hunger, making it potentially useful to patients with eating disorders or anorexia. Sativa also exhibits a higher tendency to induce anxiety and paranoia, so patients prone to these effects may limit treatment with pure sativa, or choose hybrid strains.

Indica

Cannabis indica is associated with sedative effects and is often preferred for night time use, including for treatment of insomnia. Indica is also associated with a more “stoned” or meditative sensation than the euphoric, stimulating effects of sativa, possibly because of a higher CBD-to-THC ratio.

Health Benefits

Studies have shown cannabis does have several well-documented beneficial effects. Among these are: the amelioration of nausea and vomiting, stimulation of hunger in chemotherapy and AIDS patients, lowered intraocular eye pressure (shown to be effective for treating glaucoma), as well as gastrointestinal illness. It also has antibacterial effects and is one of the best known expectorants.

Clinical Review of Health benefits

A 2002 review of medical literature by Franjo Grotenhermen states that medical cannabis has established effects in the treatment of nausea, vomiting, premenstrual syndrome, unintentional weight loss, insomnia, and lack of appetite. Other “relatively well-confirmed” effects were in the treatment of “spasticity, painful conditions, especially neurogenic pain, movement disorders, asthma, glaucoma”. Preliminary findings indicate that cannabis-based drugs could prove useful in treating adrenal disease, inflammatory bowel disease, migraines, fibromyalgia, and related conditions. Medical cannabis has also been found to relieve certain symptoms of multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries by exhibiting antispasmodic and muscle-relaxant properties as well as stimulating appetite. Other studies state that cannabis or cannabinoids may be useful in treating alcohol abuse,amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, collagen-induced arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, bipolar disorder, dystonia, epilepsy, digestive diseases, gliomas, hepatitis C, Huntington’s disease, leukemia, skin tumors, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Parkinson’s disease, pruritus, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), psoriasis, sickle-cell disease, sleep apnea, and anorexia nervosa. Controlled research on treating Tourette syndrome with a synthetic version of THC called (Marinol), showed the patients taking the pill had a beneficial response without serious adverse effects; other studies have shown that cannabis “has no effects on tics and increases the individuals inner tension”. Case reports found that cannabis helped reduce tics, but validation of these results requires longer, controlled studies on larger samples. A study done by Craig Reinarman surveyed people in California who used cannabis found they did so for many reasons. Reported uses were for pain relief, muscle spasms, headaches, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, depression, cramps, panic attacks, diarrhea, and itching. Others used cannabis to improve sleep, relaxation, appetite, concentration or focus, and energy. Some patients used it to prevent medication side effects, anger, involuntary movements, and seizures, while others used it as a substitute for other prescription medications and alcohol

Disorder Treatment

 

Glaucoma

Medical cannabis in edible form In glaucoma, cannabis and THC have been shown to reduce intra-ocular pressure (IOP) by an average of 24% in people with normal IOP who have visual-field changes. In studies of healthy adults and glaucoma patients, IOP was reduced by an average of 25% after smoking a cannabis “cigarette” that contained approximately 2% THC—a reduction as good as that observed with most other medications available today, according to a review by the Institute of Medicine.In a separate study, the use of cannabis and glaucoma was tested and found that the duration of smoked or ingested cannabis or other cannabinoids is very short, averaging 3 to 3.5 hours. Their results showed that for cannabis to be a viable therapy, the patient would have to take in cannabis in some form every 3 hours. They said that for ideal glaucoma treatment it would take two times a day at most for compliance purposes from patients.

Spasticity in multiple sclerosis

A review of six randomized controlled trials of a combination of THC and CBD extracts for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) related muscle spasticity reported, “Although there was variation in the outcome measures reported in these studies, a trend of reduced spasticity in treated patients was noted.” The authors postulated that “cannabinoids may provide neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory benefits in MS.” A small study done on whether or not cannabis could be used to control tremors of MS patients was conducted. The study found that there was no noticeable difference of the tremors in the patients. Although there was no difference in the tremors the patients felt as if their symptoms had lessened and their quality of life had improved. The researchers concluded that the mood enhancing or cognitive effects that cannabis has on the brain could have given the patients the effect that their tremors were getting better.

Alzheimer’s disease

Cannabinoids found in medical cannabis may prevent or inhibit the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Research done by the Scripps Research Institute in California shows that the active ingredient in marijuana, THC, prevents the formation of deposits in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease. THC was found to prevent an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase from accelerating the formation of “Alzheimer plaques” in the brain more effectively than commercially marketed drugs. THC is also more effective at blocking clumps of protein that can inhibit memory and cognition in Alzheimer’s patients, as reported in Molecular Pharmaceutics. Cannabinoids can also potentially prevent or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by reducing tau protein phosphorylation, oxidative stress, and neuroinflammation. A 2012 review from the Philosophical Transactions of a Royal Society B suggested that activating the cannabinoid system may trigger an “anti-oxidant cleanse” in the brain by removing damaged cells and improving the efficiency of the mitochrondria. The review found cannabinoids may slow decline in age and disease-related cognitive functioning.

Breast cancer

Medical cannabis reduces the spread of breast cancer in mice by downregulating a gene called ID1. According to a 2007 and a 2010 study at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, cannabidiol (CBD) stops breast cancer from spreading throughout the body by downregulating a gene called ID1. This may provide a non-toxic alternative to chemotherapy while achieving the same results without the painful and unpleasant side effects. The research team says that CBD works by blocking the activity of a gene called ID1, which is believed to be responsible for a process called metastasis, which is the aggressive spread of cancer cells away from the original tumor site. According to findings released by the team in 2012, when the particularly aggressive “triple-negative” cells (which contain high levels of ID1 and account for 15% of breast cancers) were exposed to CBD, they “not only stopped acting ‘crazy’ but also returned to a healthy normal state”. Human trial models are currently in development. Dr Sean McAllister, study co-leader, commented: “The preclinical trial data is very strong, and there’s no toxicity. There’s really a lot of research to move ahead with and to get people excited”.

HIV/AIDS

Medical cannabis helps to alleviate pain and to improve quality of life for HIV-positive patients. Investigators at Columbia University published clinical trial data in 2007 showing that HIV/AIDS patients who inhaled cannabis four times daily experienced substantial increases in food intake with little evidence of discomfort and no impairment of cognitive performance. They concluded that smoked cannabis has a clear medical benefit in HIV-positive patients. In another study in 2008, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine found that marijuana significantly reduces HIV-related neuropathic pain when added to a patient’s already-prescribed pain management regimen and may be an “effective option for pain relief” in those whose pain is not controlled with current medications. Mood disturbance, physical disability, and quality of life all improved significantly during study treatment. Despite management with opioids and other pain modifying therapies, neuropathic pain continues to reduce the quality of life and daily functioning in HIV-infected individuals. Cannabinoid receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems have been shown to modulate pain perception. No serious adverse effects were reported, according to the study published by the American Academy of Neurology. A study examining the effectiveness of different drugs for HIV associated neuropathic pain found that smoked Cannabis was one of only three drugs that showed evidence of efficacy.

Brain cancer

A study by Complutense University of Madrid found the chemicals in cannabis promote the death of brain cancer cells by essentially helping them feed upon themselves in a process called autophagy. The research team discovered that cannabinoids such as THC had anticancer effects in mice with human brain cancer cells and in people with brain tumors. When mice with the human brain cancer cells received the THC, the tumor shrank. Using electron microscopes to analyze brain tissue taken both before and after a 26-to 30-day THC treatment regimen, the researchers found that THC eliminated cancer cells while leaving healthy cells intact. The patients did not have any toxic effects from the treatment; previous studies of THC for the treatment of cancer have also found the therapy to be well tolerated. Opioid dependence Medical cannabis is useful in the prevention and treatment of opiate dependence. Injections of THC eliminate dependence on opiates in stressed rats, according to a research team at the Laboratory for Physiopathology of Diseases of the Central Nervous System (France) in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology. Deprived of their mothers at birth, rats become hypersensitive to the rewarding effect of morphine and heroin (substances belonging to the opiate family), and rapidly become dependent. When these rats were administered THC, they no longer developed typical morphine-dependent behavior. In the striatum, a region of the brain involved in drug dependence, the production of endogenous enkephalins was restored under THC, whereas it diminished in rats stressed from birth which had not received THC. Researchers believe the findings could lead to therapeutic alternatives to existing substitution treatments. In humans, drug treatment subjects who use cannabis intermittently are found to be more likely to adhere to treatment for opioid dependence. Historically, similar findings were reported by Edward Birch, who, in 1889, reported success in treating opiate and chloral addiction with cannabis. Controlling ALS symptoms Medical cannabis is moderately effective in reducing symptoms of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). The potential role of cannabis in treating symptoms of ALS (or Lou Gehrig’s Disease) has been the subject of recent research. A survey was conducted on 131 people suffering from ALS. The survey asked if the subjects had used cannabis in the last 12 months to control some of their symptoms. Of the 131 subjects, 13 had used the drug in some form to control symptoms. The survey found that cannabis was moderately effective in reducing symptoms of appetite loss, depression, pain, spasticity, drooling and weakness, and the longest relief reported was for depression. The pattern of symptom relief was consistent with those reported by people with other conditions, including multiple sclerosis . Crohn’s Disease A study published on May 6, 2013 in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology revealed that subjects with Crohn’s Disease experienced benefits from inhaled cannabis use. At the completion of the study’s treatment period, ten out of the eleven patients that received cannabis treatment displayed substantial improvements in disease-related symptoms, while five of these patients experienced complete remission. The study’s authors wrote: “… all patients in the study group expressed strong satisfaction with their treatment and improvement in their daily function.” The study was small, but was designed as a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial, the gold standard for a clinical trial. Diabetes A study published on May 16, 2013 in the Journal of American Medicine revealed that regular marijuana use is associated with better glucose control. They found that current marijuana users had significantly lower fasting insulin and were less likely to be insulin resistant, even after excluding patients with a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus. Participants who reported using marijuana in the past month had lower levels of fasting insulin and HOMA-IR and higher levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). These associations were weaker among those who reported using marijuana at least once, but not in the past thirty days, suggesting that the impact of marijuana use on insulin and insulin resistance exists during periods of recent use. The Study there were also significant associations between marijuana use and smaller waist circumferences.

 

Opioid dependence

Medical cannabis is useful in the prevention and treatment of opiate dependence.
Injections of THC eliminate dependence on opiates in stressed rats, according to a research team at the Laboratory for Physiopathology of Diseases of the Central Nervous System (France) in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology. Deprived of their mothers at birth, rats become hypersensitive to the rewarding effect of morphine and heroin (substances belonging to the opiate family), and rapidly become dependent. When these rats were administered THC, they no longer developed typical morphine-dependent behavior. In the striatum, a region of the brain involved in drug dependence, the production of endogenous enkephalins was restored under THC, whereas it diminished in rats stressed from birth which had not received THC. Researchers believe the findings could lead to therapeutic alternatives to existing substitution treatments.
In humans, drug treatment subjects who use cannabis intermittently are found to be more likely to adhere to treatment for opioid dependence. Historically, similar findings were reported by Edward Birch, who, in 1889, reported success in treating opiate and chloral addiction with cannabis.

Controlling ALS symptoms

Medical cannabis is moderately effective in reducing symptoms of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).
The potential role of cannabis in treating symptoms of ALS (or Lou Gehrig’s Disease) has been the subject of recent research. A survey was conducted on 131 people suffering from ALS. The survey asked if the subjects had used cannabis in the last 12 months to control some of their symptoms. Of the 131 subjects, 13 had used the drug in some form to control symptoms. The survey found that cannabis was moderately effective in reducing symptoms of appetite loss, depression, pain, spasticity, drooling and weakness, and the longest relief reported was for depression. The pattern of symptom relief was consistent with those reported by people with other conditions, including multiple sclerosis (Amtmann et al. 2004)
Crohn’s Disease
A study published on May 6, 2013 in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology revealed that subjects with Crohn’s Disease experienced benefits from inhaled cannabis use. At the completion of the study’s treatment period, ten out of the eleven patients that received cannabis treatment displayed substantial improvements in disease-related symptoms, while five of these patients experienced complete remission. The study’s authors wrote: “… all patients in the study group expressed strong satisfaction with their treatment and improvement in their daily function.” The study was small, but was designed as a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial, the gold standard for a clinical trial.

Diabetes

A study published on May 16, 2013 in the Journal of American Medicine revealed that regular marijuana use is associated with better glucose control. They found that current marijuana users had significantly lower fasting insulin and were less likely to be insulin resistant, even after excluding patients with a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus. Participants who reported using marijuana in the past month had lower levels of fasting insulin and HOMA-IR and higher levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). These associations were weaker among those who reported using marijuana at least once, but not in the past thirty days, suggesting that the impact of marijuana use on insulin and insulin resistance exists during periods of recent use. The Study there were also significant associations between marijuana use and smaller waist circumferences.

3 thoughts on “Medical Usage

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    1. Xtracorrupt Post author

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