Michael Backes specializes in cannabis science and policy issues. His book, Cannabis Pharmacy, offers evidence-based information on using cannabis for ailments and medical conditions. Here are 10 surprising uses for medical cannabis from Cannabis Pharmacy.
1. Skin conditions
Due to the presence of large numbers of cannabinoid receptors on the skin, topical applications of cannabis oil can be used locally to relieve acne, itching, and inflammation in general. With further study, scientists see promise in treating eczema and psoriasis, too.
The endocannabinoid system regulates dilation and spasm response in the airways. Cannabis has been shown to aid asthmatic people in recovering from an acute attack after exercise due to its tendency to dilate air passageways in the lungs.
3. Autoimmune disorders
When the immune system attacks and damages the body, it seems like ideal situation for research of cannabis as a medicine, since a cannabinoid receptor is known to regulate immune system cells. Cannabinoids can act as immunosuppressants, which might mean that they can reduce the amount of damage caused by these disorders.
Cannabis users tend to have healthier levels of insulin than non-users. Insulin is the primary hormone problematic in diabetes, so clinical research is looking into cannabis as a treatment for the disease.
There are many cases where cannabis is helpful in reducing convulsions, especially in pharmacoresistant cases of various seizure disorders. Clinical trials are set to continue to study the effects of various cannabinoids in these ailments, and they seem promising.
Cannabis could prevent Alzheimer’s disease by working against the buildup of plaque and tangled fibers of protein in the nervous system that are thought to cause it.
While many claim that cannabis has anti-tumor properties, this has only been shown anecdotally and is not considered medically settled. But marijuana provides relief for many other problems that come along with cancer, such as nausea from treatments, depression, and pain.
8. Gastro-intestinal conditions
Cannabis has been helpful in treating a wide variety of gastrointestinal problems, including Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and peptic ulcers. The mechanisms behind this are not well understood, but cannabis relieves pain and inflammation along the digestive tract, as well as stimulating appetite, which is helpful for maintaining a healthy weight.
Some of the most compelling evidence for cannabis as a medicine comes from its use in treating glaucoma, a range of conditions that attack the optic nerve, and the most common cause of blindness. Glaucoma raises pressure within the eye, and THC reduces it.
Although cannabis has typically been associated with an increased risk of psychosis, it seems that THC is the cannabinoid responsible for this part of its reputation, while CBD has antipsychotic effects. CBD was compared to amisulpride (a prescription antipsychotic) in effectiveness as an antipsychotic in treating schizophrenia and was shown to be equally effective with fewer side effects than the pharmaceutical drug.
Michael Backes’ Cannabis Pharmacy is available at Amazon and other retailers.