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It may also help in controlling epileptic seizures and treating mental illness and addictions, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. A marijuana derivative, cannabidiol CBD , was found to be beneficial in the treatment of severe epilepsy in a large-scale, randomized clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Almost 40 percent of study participants experienced a significant reduction in seizures.
In a placebo-controlled, study in the journal Neurology, Abrams and his colleagues found that marijuana is effective at reducing neuropathic pain, or pain caused by damaged nerves, in HIV patients.
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Opiates, such as morphine, aren't effective at treating that sort of pain. Abrams said.
In another study, they found that marijuana, in addition to opiates, led to dramatic levels of pain relief. Animal models have found similar effects. Researchers at the American Academy of Neurology have also found that medical marijuana in the form of pills or oral sprays seemed to reduce stiffness and muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis MS. The medications also eased certain symptoms of MS, such as pain related to spasms, and painful burning and numbness, as well as overactive bladder, according to a number of studies.
Medical marijuana is also frequently used to treat nausea induced by chemotherapy, though scientific studies of the smoked form of the plant are limited.
It's like needing to do a placebo-controlled trial of penicillin as an antibiotic. Two FDA-approved, chemically altered forms of THC, dronabinol and nabilone, have been shown to reduce chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting in cancer patients.
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National Library of Medicine. Medical marijuana has also been touted as a treatment for glaucoma, which is an elevated pressure in the eyeball that can lead to blindness. While smoking marijuana may reduce intraocular pressure, marijuana must be consumed numerous times during the day to have the desired effect and other drugs are more effective, according to the American Cancer Society.
Cannabidiol CBD is a non-psychoactive component of marijuana that has therapeutic benefits, but because it does not target the CB1 receptor, it doesn't leave people feeling stoned. For example, a study published in the journal Translational Psychiatry found that cannabidiol may be effective in treating schizophrenia. In the study at the University of Cologne, 42 patients randomly received either cannabidiol or amisulpride, an effective drug used for the treatment of schizophrenia, for 28 days. Comparison of the clinical effects found "no relevant difference" between the two treatments.
Marijuana does have side effects. THC binds to cannabinoid receptors, which are concentrated in areas of the brain associated with thinking, memory, pleasure, coordination and time perception. The effects of marijuana can interfere with attention, judgment and balance. Studies have produced conflicting results on whether smoking marijuana carries a significant cancer risk.
Medical marijuana "prescriptions" are termed "recommendations" or "referrals" because of federal laws prohibiting the prescribing of cannabis.
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A study on people by the University of Michigan Health System found that marijuana use may also make other addictions worse. All the states require a doctor's approval. Many of the states that allow medical marijuana have an online application process. Others still view marijuana, like alcohol, as a largely harmless indulgence, dangerous only when used immoderately. All sides of the debate have appropriated the scientific evidence on marijuana to satisfy their claims.
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What then are we to make of these conflicting portrayals of a drug with historical origins dating back to 8, B. Understanding Marijuana examines the biological, psychological, and societal impact of this controversial substance.
What are the effects, for mind and body, of long-term use? Are smokers of marijuana more likely than non-users to abuse cocaine and heroine? What effect has the increasing potency of marijuana in recent years had on users and on use?
Does our current legal policy toward marijuana make sense? Earleywine separates science from opinion to show how marijuana defies easy dichotomies.