It’s evident that attitudes about the value of medical marijuana have changed considerably over the past few decades. This shift can be seen both in the positive support from the growing awareness of marijuana’s potential medical benefits and support from some mainstream media. For instance, a recent analysis performed by the Public Health Institute of data collected by the California Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System revealed 92 percent of responding medical marijuana patients reported improvements in their symptoms as a result of the treatment.
Medical marijuana can help patients dealing with a long list of dire symptoms, including severe or chronic pain, severe nausea and muscle spasms. In some cases, this treatment is found to be the only effective remedy for patients experiencing painful, reoccurring symptoms. The following are just a few of the many conditions that have been scientifically proven to be treated effectively with medical marijuana.
1. Multiple sclerosis
There’s no shortage of data supporting the benefits of medical marijuana for patients suffering the effects of multiple sclerosis. One study, performed by the University of San Diego and presented at a meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology in 2007, concluded that participants who were treated with medical marijuana experienced reduced pain and discomfort caused by muscle spasticity.
Another study, published in a 2008 edition of the Journal of Pain, reported that both small and large doses of cannabis were effective in helping patients treat and lessen neurological pain brought on by multiple sclerosis. These results are quite similar to findings related to other symptoms treated by medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana treatment for epilepsy is an especially appealing topic for scientific research because studies have shown multiple instances where cannabis has been effective at treating symptoms after other forms of medication have failed to make an impact. A case study published in the medical journal, Epilepsia, last year shed light on the case of Charlotte Figi, a young girl whose symptoms were treated with medical marijuana after unsuccessful schedules of levetiracetam, oxcarbazepine, topiramate, zonisamide, valproate, clobazam, clonazepam, and valium.
A more recent study performed by the New York University Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, which looked at severe epilepsy in children and adults that had not been successfully treated with traditional methods, corroborated this conclusion. On average, 137 participants in the 12-week trial experienced a 54 percent decrease in seizures over the course of the study. In a statement released by the American Academy of Neurology, study author Orrin Devinsky noted that, “[these] results are of great interest, especially for the children and their parents who have been searching for an answer for these debilitating seizures.”
3. Parkinson’s disease
In Parkinson’s disease patients, medical marijuana has been found to help treat pain and difficulties sleeping. A 2004 survey performed by the Department of Neurology at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, reported that of the respondents who reported using medical marijuana to treat PD symptoms, over 45 percent cited a positive response. The data is especially pertinent because patients experienced improvements two months after beginning cannabis treatment, reducing the likelihood of misreporting due to a placebo effect.
A 2014 study performed by the Rabin Medical Center in Israel and published in Clinical Neuropharmacology made an even stronger case for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease with medical marijuana, with the study ending in a recommendation to further incorporate cannabis into the armamentarium used to treat Parkinson’s.
It’s important to note, as the medical marijuana industry matures, so too will the wealth of knowledge regarding treatment and symptoms. This is only a short list of the already-approved treatment for cannabis, and in most states medical marijuana qualifies to treat a number of other ailments as well.