Just as synthetic drugs can help some conditions and not others, marijuana isn’t a one-size-fits-all line of treatment. It’s thought that marijuana’s benefits come from some of its compounds called cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol (CBD).
CBD is one of the most widely studied cannabinoids in marijuana. CBD is also found in another related plant called hemp.
One major difference between CBD and marijuana is that the former only contains a trace amount of the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This compound is best known for its hallucinogenic effects on the brain.
Cannabis plants may contain up to 40 percent CBD. CBD is thought to have anti-inflammatory effects on the central nervous system. This can translate to multiple benefits in the body.
Still, there remains concern over the effects of THC in traditional marijuana. This is due to the fact that it can have stimulating or depressant effects in some people, which may lead to other side effects.
Thus, when considering marijuana for any medical condition, your doctor will likely assess whether the anti-inflammatory benefits outweigh any psychological risks.
What are the benefits of marijuana?
Currently, there are two synthetic versions of marijuanaTrusted Source. Doctors prescribe them for the treatment of severe epilepsy and chemotherapy side effects.
The following list of marijuana benefits are some of the most commonly discussed in scientific research, as well as anecdotally.
The cannabinoids in marijuana may reduce pain by altering pain perception pathways in the brain. This may be helpful to treat conditions that cause chronic pain, such as:
It may also minimize cancer treatment side effects, like loss of appetite.
In some instances, medical marijuana is reported to help replace the long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, which can have negative side effects.
CBD in marijuana is thought to help reduce inflammation. In theory, this may benefit inflammatory conditions, such as:
- Crohn’s disease
- irritable bowel syndrome
- rheumatoid arthritis
Decreasing inflammation in the body can also improve overall health.
Neurological and mental disorders
Due to its effects on the limbic system, doctors sometimes prescribe marijuana to treat the following neurological and mental health conditions:
- multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Tourette syndrome
The relaxing effects of marijuana may help improve sleep disorders, such as insomnia. And improved sleep may also occur when pain is reduced from marijuana usage.