Ever since medical marijuana became more popular, a lot of people were discussing how something like this can affect the brain. With the recent legalization of medical marijuana in more states, the same discussion was reopened, and a lot of scientists are still trying to explore how medical marijuana can affect various mental illnesses. Unfortunately, the research on this natural remedy is still limited, and we have more reported results from people who used marijuana recreationally, rather than for medical purposes.
So, as we do not have that many studies on the medical properties of marijuana, it can be difficult to understand how this treatment can affect our minds. Most doctors agree that medical marijuana can help with specific illnesses but in small ways. For example, some studies have shown that it can relieve pain, increase the appetite and reduce nausea that is created by chemotherapy.
One thing that has a huge impact on how medical marijuana is perceived is the fact that the Food and Drug Administration does not approve this treatment and does not recommend it. For this reason, most doctors will not suggest using medical marijuana, unless the patient cannot use other forms of medication or if these forms are not helpful enough.
More details about medical marijuana
A lot of people think that marijuana and cannabis is the same thing. However, marijuana is derived from cannabis, which is a hemp plant. There are a lot of compounds and chemicals in marijuana, but most of the research we have available is on THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (or cannabidiol). These are the two that are found in more significant concentration in the cannabis plant, and they are the ones with the most potent effects. THC is the compound that mainly affects our nervous system and stimulates our brains.
This triggers different chemical reactions. Some of these reactions include euphoria, hallucinations and getting high in general. Others include health benefits that have yet to be proven. When it comes to cannabidiol, we have even less scientific information, but the research that we could find says that CBD interacts with THC to relieve pain and other sensations. On its own, CBD is believed to have lots of other health benefits like reducing pain, inflammation, anxiety and many other things but we still need more clinical tests to find out if that is true.
Finding medical marijuana and acquiring is still very difficult in most areas of the world. In the United States of America, the FDA does not approve this natural treatment. However, two medications have been recommended, and they are in pill form. Dronabinol and Nabilone are the only two approved drugs that contain chemicals from medical marijuana in the United States.
Apparently, they cannot be taken without a prescription as they both contain THC which can get you high. Both of these medical treatments are mainly intended for people who suffer from nausea or excessive vomiting, which is usually a prevalent symptom in those who have to do chemotherapy. Although they work and they are both safe, none of them work quickly, and the effects depend on person to person.
Medical marijuana for mental disorders
Although there are not a lot of reports found, a few small studies have proved that medical marijuana can be helpful for psychiatric conditions. It seems that these medications and supplements are helping people who suffer from anxiety or depression. A lot of young people seem to take these supplements especially to treat their mental issues. However, it is essential to weigh the risks against the benefits, as the possible side effects of medical marijuana include the possibility of addiction, more anxiety or even psychosis.
If you live in Canada, you may know that there is a medical marijuana product called Sativex. Although it is not legal yet in the United States, it is under investigation, and it is believed to become legal very soon.
Sativex comes in the form of a spray that is supposed to be sprayed under the tongue. A lot of people like to take this for anxiety and to relieve stress, but it can be used for all of the health benefits that medical marijuana supposedly can offer. As with the other two medical treatments, this oral spray will not work quickly either because it takes a while until the chemicals go through the tissues of the mouth and get into the bloodstream.
Smoking marijuana is believed only to be recreational, but inhaling a product like this delivers the chemicals much quicker to the bloodstream. So a lot of people choose to prepare and smoke an herbal product. On the other side, a lot of people do not like this method because smoking marijuana can have the same health risks as smoking actual cigarettes. This makes a lot of sense because the lungs and the respiratory system are exposed to all these chemicals, which is not a good thing. However, studies have shown that vaporizers might be a healthier option than smoking a joint.
Before even thinking about choosing one of these methods, you should think about the mental side effects that marijuana can have. It can create mood disorders, which means it might not be suitable for those of us who suffer from a bipolar disorder. At the same time, if you want to take it for anxiety, there is no guarantee that it will work. It might cause even more stress, which could lead to panic attacks and constant paranoia.
Is medical marijuana a viable treatment option for mental disorders?
In some people, medical marijuana can do miracles. It can improve the mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and it can relieve a lot of pain. However, everyone is different, and you never know how your body will be affected by a substance like this. Although medical marijuana is a natural remedy, most studies have shown inconclusive results which means that a lot of risks come with using this type of supplementation.