Medical marijuana – also known as medical cannabis – is cannabis prescribed especially for medicinal purposes. The application of marijuana as medicine stems way back into history when various cultures made use of the curative properties of its herbal origin. Today, medicinal marijuana (MMJ) stands as an optional treatment for many ailments, including those of the emotional and neurological nature.
The existence of over 400 compounds in the cannabis plant (called cannabinoids) are what attributes to the marijuana’s beneficial effects. Chief among the cannabinoids are active chemicals cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC), which are mostly associated with relieving pain (claims go as far as state marijuana is far better than prescription drug alternative given by doctors).
Marijuana’s cannabinoids directly affect the limbic system – a part of the nervous system mostly responsible for emotion, behavior, memory and motivations. THC has been shown to help regulate the fear and anxiety generated here towards the entirety of the brain and the body. CBD, on the other hand, lowers heart rate and blood pressure responses to stress as well as reducing panic and anxiety behavior. Both these chemicals prompt increased levels of serotonin release, promoting feelings of well-being and happiness against stress, anxiety and depression.
Doctors have prescribed marijuana for conditions such as anxiety attacks, epilepsy or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for a reason. A 2017 study from the University of Washington found that specific combinations of cannabinoids have significant effects on certain mental health illnesses. Products high in CBD and low in THC improve symptoms of depression, while those high in CBD and THC achieve positive relaxing effects on those afflicted with stress.
Other studies and testimonials highlight marijuana’s ability to reduce the effects brought about by PTSD. This includes calming aggression, soothing anxiety, and stabilizing personal mood swings and sleep disorders. A prior study also accounts CBD reduces learned fear – a condition characterized by the activation of the fight-or-flight response when a person least expects it – as well as the onset of seizures during epilepsy. Many neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, cervical dystonia, and ‘tics’ in Tourette syndrome have been found to have their conditions alleviated to some extent by the medical pot.
Before one could use medical marijuana for treating any mental or neurological disorder, a doctor’s prescription must first be obtained. An ideal marijuana strain is then chosen depending on your condition and the symptoms that needs treatment. Sativa cannabis strains stimulate cognitive functions. Indica cannabis strains improve sleep and appetite. Hybrid strains combine both the sativa and indica strains to provide the user benefits of each, though they can either be sativa-dominant, indica-dominant or balanced on either composition of the strains. Methods of ingestion include inhalation of smoke or vapor, tinctures, CBD oil, topicals, edibles, beverages, suppositories, and transdermal patches.
Using medical marijuana requires both permission and the capacity for the body to handle it. Like any normal drug, excessive intake can lead to adverse effects to one’s health. Moderation and safety precautions should be maintained to keep the body- and mind- happy and healthy.