By now, we all know that medical marijuana contains properties that are being used to ease the pain of cancer and glaucoma patients (and to help out your friend who lives in California with his "migraines"). However, there are numerous other medicinal uses for the plant.
In honor of 420, here are seven diseases and conditions that you might not know are being treated with medical marijuana:
1. Epilepsy And Seizures
You've maybe already heard about this one. It's recently been making headlines as more and more parents of young epilepsy patients have been advocating for medical marijuana as an available treatment. But just in case you haven't, you should know that cannabidiol (CBD), a compound of marijuana that does not contain psychoactive properties (meaning that it doesn't get you high), is being used to treat people with epilepsy or who suffer from seizures. In 2015, researchers at NYU found a 50 percent decrease in the frequency of seizures for people using CBD.
This one may seem pretty contradictory, as smoking is usually not healthy for your lungs. However, recent studies have shown that marijuana is not only much less harmful to your lungs than cigarettes and tobacco, but it also has a dilating effect on human airways. Thus, it's actually helping people with asthma to breathe more easily.
Even though no cure has been discovered yet, HIV/AIDS patients can still find some relief for their symptoms with medical marijuana. In a study of HIV-positive individuals, those who smoked marijuana were found to eat better, sleep better, gain weight, experience better a mood and have less neuropathic pain than those who don't.
Marijuana is being used to ease the symptoms of Alzheimer's patients, which include aggression, anxiety, depression, insomnia and hallucinations. More importantly, however, weed has been proven to slow the production of beta-amyloid proteins, which scientists think are the main contributors to the progression of Alzheimer's. This means that the plant could potentially be able to prevent or at least delay the onset of the disease.
5. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Researchers have found that people with IBD who used marijuana noticed an improved quality of life. In a small study of 13 people, those who smoked weed said they gained weight, saw a rise in their BMI and felt less pain than those who didn't.
6. Multiple Sclerosis
According to early-stage studies, patients who used marijuana experienced a major decline in their muscle spasms, tremors, pain and muscle stiffness. Also noted, participants who were given marijuana or cannabis extracts were found to have experienced better sleep quality during the trial than those who weren't.
7. Menstrual Cramps
While menstrual cramps are not technically a disease, they are still a huge issue for women who experience debilitating pain while on their period. For some women, smoking marijuana can help ease the discomfort of period cramps.
Whoopi Goldberg recently founded a medical marijuana company, Whoopi & Maya, which specifically targets women. The company offers four products: a balm, a tincture, sipping chocolate and a bath soak. All of these products are infused with weed to help ease the pain of period cramps, which can be extremely painful for many women. So, if you live in a state where they're legal, Whoopi's products could be some natural alternatives to that giant bottle of Midol in your medicine cabinet.
The healing properties of marijuana have been used for thousands of years to treat various ailments, but the plant has been frowned upon in American culture until recently. As of now, nearly half of the United States has legalized marijuana for medical use, and more and more states are beginning to legalizing it recreationally.