Medical marijuana is proving effective for at least managing horrific diseases such cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s. Twenty U.S. states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana use for doctors to write prescriptions. Not all states honor all conditions. This is just a sampling of the diseases permitted. There are many more. Here are 10 diseases you didn’t know are treated with marijuana.
1. ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
As baby boomers continue to age, the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s is set to triple in the next 50 years, the World Health Organization reports, making prevention of this unpreventable brain disorder an important priority. Cannabis is the only remedy so far that has shown any promise in early research studies in preventing the disease.
The U.S. federal government doesn’t exactly promote this link on the National Cancer Website stating there is real evidence that THC has an anti-tumor effect. Government websites aside, many people have reported using a daily oral dose of concentrated THC cannabis oil to cure cancers from the skin to the lung.
3. ASTHMA/BREATHING DISORDERS
Smoking pot can help with breathing issues? That just seems contradictory, but according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, THC’s anti-inflammatory properties actually help dilate respiratory passages.
4. MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS/MUSCLE SPASMS
This one is less controversial, and has been on the medical marijuana conditions list in many states since the laws were first passed. Even the National MS Society is giving it a tentative thumbs up on its website. Studies have shown that THC can help control spasticity in patients with MS, and that this works best by taking a controlled amount orally.
5. CROHN’S/GASTROINTESTINAL DISORDERS
Again cannabinoids’ ability to act as a powerful anti-inflammatory make them a seemingly obvious solution for chronic conditions involving inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and bowels. So much so that the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America released this statement to the medical marijuana website ProCon.org:
“Several small studies have shown that a significant proportion of patients with IBD report smoking marijuana to relieve IBD-related symptoms, particularly those patients with a history of abdominal surgery, chronic abdominal pain, and/or a low quality of life index.
It’s true what they say about the munchies… marijuana stimulates the part of your brain that controls appetite, and certain strains in particular are known for making you want to eat everything in sight. As a result, for those who really need to gain weight, this can be a blessing rather than an adverse side affect. Cachexia is the loss of weight and weakness that can occur in cancer and AIDS patients as well as people with chronic diseases such as anorexia.
In Colorado they are known as medical refugees — families that are moving there in droves from across the country to seek effective treatment for their kids’ uncontrollable seizures. Unlike cancer, seizures do not need a high THC content (that’s what gets you high) to be curtailed. Instead they respond well to one of the other cannabinoids
8. TOURETTE’S SYNDROME
Although it hasn’t been studied as much as other disorders — nor is it approved for use in all states — there have been several important clinical trials investigating the use of cannabinoids as a valid treatment for a reduction of involuntary vocal tics associated with the neuropsychiatric disorder known as Tourette’s Syndrome
9. PTSD AND OTHER PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITIONS
Medical marijuana has also proven to effective in treating neuropsychological issues beyond Tourette’s Syndrome. It has been studied in the treatment of depression, anxiety and particularly Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. New Mexico, for instance, allows doctors to prescribe it for PTSD specifically. In other states, however, psychological conditions do not qualify for prescriptions despite studies proving effectiveness.
10. HEPATITIS C
The Hepatitis C virus causes inflammation of the liver and affects around 4 million Americans each year. Because the virus causes inflammation, it is believed that cannabis therapy can be effective in relieving symptoms. It is also believed to work in conjunction with traditional drug therapy for improved effectiveness, according to a study.
Cannabis oil can reduce inflammation that irritates thyroid conditions, as well as suppress the body’s autoimmune response. Though it hasn’t been proven yet that cannabis can cure a thyroid problem, cannabis has been proven to relieve symptoms that come with thyroid disorders like digestive issues, mood problems and sleep problems.