If you read medical journals, you’ve no doubt come across the phrase “health benefits of cannabis.” Research is underway to find out more about its health benefits, but even though there’s evidence of great benefits in use of cannabis, more focused studies would certainly assist.
It is widely accepted that marijuana use is related to chronic diseases, as are most drugs. There have been studies of various forms of marijuana that show how it can increase the risk for diabetes, heart disease, cancer, depression, sleep disorders and a host of other conditions. Yet, there are also studies of some of the benefits of cannabis for mental health, particularly if used in conjunction with prescribed medications. Research is ongoing, as well.
The most promising evidence so far comes from tests that have been done on animals. Using marijuana, rats were trained to press a lever if they had ingested marijuana-infused water for a period of time. Afterward, researchers found that those who’d used cannabis experienced greater levels of anxiety and had a reduced stress response than those who didn’t.
More studies in humans will be needed to prove the safety and effectiveness of medical marijuana in treating conditions such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress. In the meantime, it has shown promise in helping people deal with pain, insomnia, nausea, joint inflammation, appetite suppression, and appetite increase.
But there are still many questions about the safety of medical marijuana, especially given the fact that not much is known about long-term, permanent effects. Studies of use among teens, as well as some adults, suggest that the drug has some potential benefits, but the long term risks of chronic use are unknown.
For the moment, medical marijuana remains controversial. While there may be benefits from regular use, those effects need to be balanced …