What Do We Really Know About the Medical Benefits of Marijuana?

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Because of the hurdles blocking medical marijuana research due to its status as a Schedule I drug, there is relatively little substantial research regarding the medicinal benefits of medical marijuana. That being said, with what research and anecdotal evidence exists, here is what we've learned. The chemical properties, or cannabinoids, like THC and CBD take most of the responsibility for marijuana's medicinal benefits. One National Geographic article discusses anecdotal evidence from parents in Colorado who claim CBD oil with low amounts of THC has helped their children go from experiencing around 300 seizures daily to becoming almost seizure-free. Other anecdotal evidence accounts for cannabis' successful treatment of multiple sclerosis, dementia. osteoporosis, pain, nausea and vomiting, inflammation, stress, and trauma. Research from Manuel Guzman at the University of Madrid found THC eliminated about a third of the cases for rats who developed cancerous growths, and reductions occurred in another third of the subjects. 

The cannabinoids in cannabis are responsible for producing medicinal benefits because of their ability to bind with receptors in the body's endocannabinoid system. When the body has an imbalance of the body's natural endocannabinoids, cannabinoids from cannabis can help the body return to balance. The body's endocannabinoid system plays a vital role in movement and memory, and some studies suggest it can also affect behavioral responses like anxiety, fear, addiction, and help fight epilepsy and neurodegenerative issues.

This information has been provided by Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.