Can Medical Marijuana Improve Mental Health Conditions?
We all know marijuana is an illegal drug in many countries and has so many negative impacts on our health and well-being. But researchers from an opposing source have been studying both sides of the cannabis drug. Before getting deep into the discussion of the effects of medical marijuana on our mental health, we need to know what exactly this drug and its functionalities are.
What is Cannabis?
- Marijuana or in a technical manner, cannabis is made from the cannabis plant. Although it is illegal and intoxicating, people use it for recreational purposes in many countries. There are two ways you can use this drug: smoke it on its own or eat it. People have been creative with the use of drugs and they mix it with tobacco or cooked with food or in tea.
- Medical marijuana or cannabis is used and prescribed for many reasons. Mostly people use it to relieve pain or mental distress. Without any prescriptions, when people use medical marijuana, it is called self-medication. This can lead to dependency and substance abuse disorder.
- Young generations are using this drug more than the older population and have given many names such as dope, ganja, hash, pot, weed, skunk, etc.
How does it work when consumed?
Since most of the users smoke medical marijuana, the mechanism will be very simple. When smoked, cannabis directly moves into the bloodstream. This will give immediate connection to the brain receptors. The chemical constituents in medical marijuana will easily stick to the receptors where dopamine and serotonin. This will lift your mood and you will feel energetic and happy. This will happen due to the chemicals in cannabis that are – Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC gives the intoxicating effect of medical marijuana, the “high” of this drug intake. But CBC is much suitable for medical purposes since it works as an inhibitor to the effects of THC. CBC reduces the psychotic effects of THC such as hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, and anxiety. THC is the main active ingredient in the cannabis plant.
Medical marijuana is not legalized yet in many countries and states but in the USA, there are 31 states which have. There are nine which have legalized it for recreational purposes as well. A research project in 2015 found that 2.8 million people are consuming medical marijuana for medical purposes. Also, there are eight times more people who use it for recreational purposes. You can find more information on this from a medical marijuana doctors clinic location near you.
Recently in 2017, an interdisciplinary team of researchers has reviewed the health effects of cannabis or marijuana and its chemical constituents, most commonly cannabidiol and tetrahydro cannabidiol. After two decades of studying these effects of medical marijuana, the review shows that there were majorly therapeutic implications: it helps with chronic pain, reduces side effects of chemotherapy, and decreases the multiple sclerosis-related spasticities.
What are the effects of medical marijuana on mental well-being?
But as the recent studies are focusing on the investigation of the effects of medical marijuana on mental health illnesses. We also discuss how the use is impacting the mental health of the general population as well as those who have a pre-existing mental illness.
Apart from all the apprehension for the legal status of medical marijuana, it does have shown improved states in psychiatric patients with disorders such as PTSD, OCD, anxiety, depression, ADHD, insomnia, opiate dependence, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
- Schizophrenia: Studies show that on a molecular level, CBD treats and manages the symptoms of schizophrenia when given under laboratory settings. These results were compared to a pilot study showing similar results. It is favorable with the anti-psychotic medication for schizophrenia. Many suggest that it can also be prescribed as an anti-psychotic drug for schizophrenic patients.
- Better cognitive abilities in psychiatric patients: According to medical reports, it is acknowledged that there is a significant effect of medical marijuana on the cognitive abilities of individuals with psychiatric problems. Although the dosage of the prescription does become a constraint with those who have had a history of substance abuse. But that is to be discussed with the corresponding psychiatrist so that effective treatment is initiated.
- PTSD: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is one of the most debilitating disorders one could be suffering from. Men who have come back from combat suffer PTSD to a large extent. Research has shown that cannabinoids improve the avoidance and intrusive memory symptoms of PTSD. They also report that there are positive effects of medical marijuana on cognitive abilities in PTSD patients. Recent studies have shown that many states have included medical marijuana as an alternative measure for the effective treatment of PTSD.
- The stigma of mental illness and marijuana usage: Since patients already feel anxiety due to the stigmatization of mental illnesses, they also feel the stigma of using medical marijuana. That is why many do not like the alternative use of medical marijuana along with antipsychotic medications. They are reluctant because there is a lack of family support as well as a lack of self-esteem. The use of medical marijuana will make them more anxious about their mental health condition. Hence there is a need to openly discussing this issue with the patient and their families so that they can benefit from the use of medical marijuana.
Even though the stigma is very pertinent in many patients, there are therapeutic benefits of using medical marijuana as prescribed medicines. It helps in minimizing the ill-effects of any serious medical problems such as chronic pain, opiate addiction, and eliminates alcoholism. Psychiatrists and physicians prescribe marijuana for medical usage in severe cases such as chemotherapy, psychotic disorder treatment, and treatment for substance abuse. It is a challenge for many doctors to carry forward the prescription of medical marijuana since there are negative implications if not controlled in consumption. But to advance the effectiveness of any treatment for psychiatric illnesses, the psychiatrists have to recognize the positive effects of medical marijuana and discuss the same with patients, so that they do not hesitate to opt for this alternative as well. Contact All Natural Health Certifications today.