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10 diseases where medical cannabis could have an impact
Below are 10 ailments that medical cannabis may ultimately be proven to treat – but CNN cautions that research is still in its early stages and is not as yet conclusive.
In a human study of 10 HIV-positive cannabis users, scientists found people who used cannabis gained a better appetite, could sleep better and experienced a more pleasant mood. An additional small study of 50 people had found that patients who smoked cannabis had less neuropathic pain.
Medical cannabis and some of the plant’s compounds such as CBD has been used to help Alzheimer’s patients gain an appetite and put on weight, and research found that it reduced some of the irritated behavior that patients can exhibit. In one cell study, researchers have discovered that it slowed the progress of protein deposits in the brain. Scientists say that they think these proteins may be part of what causes Alzheimer’s.
There has been a study of 58 patients that use the cannabis derivatives. The study found that they have reduced arthritis pain and insomnia. Another review of studies concluded that cannabis could help fight painful inflammation.
Research on this has proven to be contradictory, but there was some early work which found that cannabis reduced exercise-induced asthma. Other cell studies showed smoking marijuana could expand airways, but apparently some patients experienced a tightness in their throats and chest. A study in mice produced similar results.
In Animal studies, marijuana extracts killed certain kinds of cancer cells. Other cell studies showed that it could stop cancer growth, and in mice, THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, improved the effect of radiation on cancer cells. Cannabis could also prevent the nausea often accompanied with chemotherapy.
Studies on animals and small groups of humans show that cannabinoids can have a “substantial analgesic effect.” Cannabis was also widely used for pain relief in the 1800s. Other medicines based on cannabis like Sativex are apparently being tested on multiple sclerosis patients and are being used to treat cancer pain. This cannabis-based drug has been approved in Canada and in some European countries. There has also been another study involving 56 human patients where scientists had seen a 30% reduction in pain in the patients who used cannabis.
There was a small pilot study with 13 patients who were observed for over three months. Observations indicated that cannabis improved life conditions for people suffering from ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
In a study of 213 patients in trials at the NYU Langone Medical Center, medical cannabis oil showed a 50% reduction in the frequency of certain kinds of seizures in both adults and kids. The CBD-based medication Epidiolex is also being studied for this purpose and may gain approval.
Observational studies involving animals, and a small number of human patients have been done in laboratory settings. The use of cannabis and/or some of its molecular ingredients such as THC and CBD cannabinoids may help in the prevention of muscle spasms, pain, tremors and stiffness.
Although research results show promise, people are warned to be aware that conclusive research results involving large-scale clinical trials are not as yet available.