Medical marijuana, or cannabis, is a plant-based medicine that has been used for centuries to help relieve pain and discomfort. It has recently gained traction in both the medical and mental health communities as a viable treatment option for various physical and mental health issues. While more research is needed, there are some key facts about medical marijuana and its effects on mental health that are worth knowing. This article will discuss 6 important facts about medical marijuana and its potential to help with various mental health issues. But first, let’s start with some basics.
What is Medical Marijuana?
Medical marijuana, also known as medical cannabis, is a plant-based medicine that can be used to treat a variety of ailments. It typically contains cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). These compounds interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce therapeutic effects.
The legality of medical marijuana in America varies from state to state. However, it is legal in 33 states and the District of Columbia as of 2020. It is important to check your state’s laws before using medical cannabis. This will ensure that you are following the law and taking proper precautions.
Who Can Use Medical Marijuana?
Medical marijuana treats various conditions, including cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and seizure disorders. It can also be used to manage symptoms associated with anxiety, depression, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain, and more.
While anyone can use medical marijuana to alleviate pain and discomfort, it is most commonly prescribed for people suffering from chronic conditions such as cancer or multiple sclerosis. You might need a medical marijuana card or prescription from a doctor to purchase medical marijuana, depending on the laws of your state. For instance, you need to know who can qualify for a medical marijuana card in Virginia if you live in the state. Consequently, if you live in another state, you should do your research on the state legislation regarding this matter. It will prepare you for the process and ensure you can purchase medical marijuana legally.
Mental Health Facts About Medical Marijuana
Now that you know what medical marijuana is and who can use it, let’s discuss 6 facts about its effects on mental health.
Can Treat Depression
One of the most well-known mental health facts about medical marijuana is that it can be used to treat depression. Numerous studies have found that CBD, one of the cannabinoids in cannabis, can have positive effects on mood and reduce symptoms of depression. In addition, THC has been found to increase serotonin levels in the brain, which can help improve mood.
If you are feeling depressed or anxious and want to keep yourself motivated, talk to your doctor about medical cannabis as an option. They will be able to provide further advice and guidance. However, when using medical marijuana, it is important to start with small doses and increase your dosage gradually.
Can Reduce Anxiety
Medical marijuana has also been found to reduce anxiety in some studies. Cannabis can help regulate the endocannabinoid system, which helps maintain balance and harmony within the body and brain. This can have a calming effect on those suffering from anxiety or panic attacks.
For instance, CBD has been found to interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce anti-anxiety effects. In addition, THC can act on certain receptor sites in the brain and reduce anxiety levels. However, it is important to talk to your doctor before using medical marijuana to treat anxiety.
Can Help With Insomnia
Are you having trouble sleeping? Medical marijuana may be able to help. Studies have found that cannabis can help provide relief from insomnia. This is because the cannabinoids in cannabis interact with the brain’s endocannabinoid system, which helps regulate sleep-wake cycles.
In addition, THC has been found to increase serotonin levels, a chemical messenger in the brain that can help regulate sleep cycles. It is important to talk to your doctor before using medical marijuana for insomnia, as it can vary in effectiveness from person to person.
Can Relieve Stress and PTSD Symptoms
Medical marijuana has also been found to be beneficial for those suffering from stress and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In some studies, cannabis has been found to help reduce symptoms of PTSD, such as flashbacks and nightmares.
It is thought that the cannabinoids in cannabis can interact with receptors in the brain and reduce stress levels. To ensure that medical marijuana is the right choice, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. They can provide further information and guidance.
Can Reduce Chronic Pain
Medical marijuana can also help reduce chronic pain from medical conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia. Cannabis contains cannabinoids that interact with receptors in the brain and body, which helps reduce inflammation and provide relief from pain.
However, it is important to talk to your doctor before using medical marijuana for chronic pain. This is especially important if you are using other medications. It is also strongly recommended that you start with small doses of cannabis and increase gradually.
Can Improve Cognitive Functioning
Finally, some studies have found that medical marijuana can improve cognitive functioning in those suffering from mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety. This is because the cannabinoids in cannabis interact with receptor sites in the brain to reduce inflammation, which can help improve mental clarity and focus.
As with any other medical treatments, it is important to talk to your doctor before using medical marijuana for cognitive improvement. He or she can provide further guidance on using cannabis without suffering any adverse effects.
Tips to Consider When Using Medical Marijuana
When using medical marijuana, it is important to take the following tips into consideration:
- Talk to your doctor first. It is important to discuss all possible options before taking any form of medication or treatment. Your doctor can provide further advice and guidance on the best course of action for you.
- Start with small doses. When using medical marijuana, it is important to start with small doses and increase gradually. This helps ensure you don’t suffer any adverse effects from taking too much cannabis.
- Monitor your response. Make sure to monitor your response when taking medical marijuana. How does it make you feel? Does it reduce symptoms or improve cognitive functioning? Be sure to keep track of your progress and talk to your doctor if something isn’t working.
Medical marijuana can provide many benefits for people suffering from mental health conditions, including reducing stress levels, providing relief from insomnia, and improving cognitive functioning. However, it is always important to talk to your doctor before taking medical marijuana and start with small doses. By following these tips, you can ensure that medical marijuana is the right choice for your mental health situation.