What is medical cannabis?
A 2004 list of 10 breakthrough drugs that make modern medicine “modern,” two are pain relievers and two are antibiotics. Ether gets a nod for making surgery possible, as does the discovery of insulin, while vaccines for smallpox and polio and Ritalin are included. Even arsenic gets a mention.
The 2024 list might well include medical marijuana. With more and more research on the potential medicinal uses for marijuana, knowing where to buy medical marijuana in Canada can help you manage a variety of conditions, from anxiety to joint pain relief. There is even one strain, Charlotte’s Web, that is renowned for having helped reduce and control seizures in a particular form of childhood epilepsy called Dravet syndrome.
Ultimately medical cannabis is marijuana used to treat a medical condition. It may be prescribed or self-prescribed, just as there are prescription and over-the-counter medications for traditional pharmaceuticals.
Since cannabis has so many variables in terms of strains and effects and due to its often (until recently) outlawed status, much of the evidence for how cannabis can be used as medicine is time-honoured but not yet clinically proven.
Among the most promising areas of research as much of the world’s population ages is medical cannabis use as a treatment for a variety of inflammatory conditions, increasingly viewed by researchers as key to causing chronic pain, which is always challenging to treat and is one of the most common causes of opioid addiction.
What’s medical marijuana used for?
Medical cannabis is being used to treat an amazing number of conditions. While research lags, if your medical practitioner is willing to work with you, you may want to try managing one or more of your health issues with medical cannabis under their supervision.
Here are some of the ways people are using medical marijuana these days.
Chronic pain, nerve pain, joint pain, and end of life pain are all conditions medical cannabis can help manage. Research in this area is very promising, and the good news is that now that both medical and recreational cannabis are legal in Canada, medical cannabis for pain relief is available in forms that offer quick relief as lotions, tinctures, edibles, concentrates and, of course, the traditional flower.
Cannabis has a lot to do with the digestive system. For starters, it’s used to reduce the nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. Secondly, it’s also an appetite stimulant for AIDS patients. Even more interesting, cannabis likely increases appetite without also inducing unhealthy weight again.
Another gastrointestinal benefit?Medical cannabis patients are using the herb to control some of the nastier symptoms of Crohn’s Disease. While it’s not considered a cure, the same anti-nausea and appetite stimulation effects of medical cannabis can help make Crohn’s a little more bearable.
After initial hope from a very very small study done in the 1970s that medical cannabis could be used to treat glaucoma since it was shown to lower intraocular pressure, 30 years later we understand this benefit a bit better. Cannabis lowers intraocular pressure, but only for a few hours at a time. Helpful, but proper treatment for glaucoma requires ongoing, 24-hour-a-day pressure reduction to avoid damaging the optic nerve. Still, alongside other medications, cannabis can help reduce pain and pressure caused by the condition.
Long term, medical cannabis may disrupt rather than restore sleep cycles. But since it reduces REM sleep, as a temporary aid to help you get deeper sleep, and certainly as a way to ensure you nod off quickly rather than tossing and turning for hours, marijuana, particularly strains high in THC, can help.
The effectiveness of Charlotte’s Web in treating Dravet syndrome meant Charlotte Figi and other children experienced a dramatic reduction in the number of seizures they experienced. While not every patient’s results match Charlotte’s, there is now scientific evidence that Charlotte’s Web, with its high CBD content, can help Dravet syndrome patients.
Some cannabis strains seem to help people maintain focus and productivity, which are both things ADD/ADHD patients struggle with. It can also help slow down sensory overload. CBD alone won’t help with either of these conditions, but there are anecdotal reports from folks who use both high THC and balanced THC:CBD strains to stop their minds from racing.
Both scientific and anecdotal evidence indicates medical cannabis can be used to sooth anxiety. Look for strains containing fairly balanced THC and CBD levels when using medical marijuana to relax, curb racing thoughts or excessive rumination. Cannabis is often used as part of meditation practices and may be just as effective as meditation for some.
DOn’t Forget About Pets!
So far, the evidence that cannabinoids in medical cannabis bond with our bodies’ receptors applies to all mammals. This means CBD in particular can be used for both pain and anxiety relief for cats and dogs. THC on the other hand may be dangerous, but sticking with CBD is safe and helpful for specific conditions among cats and dogs.
Migraines, Epilepsy, and Parkinson’s, PTSD and More
Researchers are looking at medical cannabis as a treatment for migraines, various forms of epilepsy, Parkinson’s, PTSD and more. It may help with painful muscle contractions experienced by those with multiple sclerosis. It may also help reduce Parkinson’s tremors and improve motor skills while helping Parkinson’s patients get some much-needed rest.
To choose the right medical cannabis product for you, talk to your doctor, then come in and consult one of our budtenders at the British Columbia weed dispensary in Terrace. With big selection and helpful expert advice, there is a perfect cannabis product to help