Though not without its critics, medical cannabis has been used as a therapy of last resort. Despite growing scientific evidence of medical cannabis can offer medical benefits, accessing this treatment can be a challenging process for patients – and can raise questions regarding dosing and treatment planning for medical professionals.
A recent study published in the journal Addiction also found that use of marijuana is increasing sharply across the United States, although this rise may not be linked to the legalization of marijuana in participating states.
In this write-up, we look at the scientific evidence weighing the medical benefits of cannabis.
- Chronic Pain
A large review from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine assessed more than 10,000 scientific studies looked closely the use of medical cannabis to treat chronic pain.
The review found that cannabis or products containing cannabinoids — which are the active ingredients in cannabis are effective at relieving chronic pain.
- Alcohol Addiction
Another comprehensive review of evidence, published last year in the journal Clinical Psychology Review, revealed that using marijuana may help people with alcohol or opioid dependencies to fight their addictions.
- Depression, Stress, Anxiety
The review published in Clinical Psychology Review assessed all published scientific literature that investigated the use of marijuana to treat symptoms of mental illness.
The authors found some evidence supporting the use of marijuana to relieve depression and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.
In June 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of a medication containing cannabidiol (CBD) to treat two rare, severe, and specific types of epilepsy — called Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome — that are difficult to control with other types of medication. This CBD-based drug is known as Epidiolex.