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  • Matthew O.

Understanding Medical Marijuana and Its Potential for Treating Mental Health Issues

Medical marijuana has been legalized in 38 states in the United States, while recreational use is now approved in sixteen states. As of 2018, a report revealed that close to 3 million citizens of the US are using medical marijuana/cannabis, while about 22 million people are using cannabis and marijuana for recreational purposes.

A neuroscientist Staci Gruber, Ph.D., at Harvard Medical School, said, "Marijuana is like rock ’n’ roll; it’s here to stay." Also, over the years, the popularity of marijuana has reached a significant height; however, awareness about its medicinal use has lagged.

Psychiatrists and mental wellness professionals, and other medical practitioners need to do more research on the relationship between marijuana and cognitive issues. The research will clarify whether to increase or reduce the recreational and medical use of marijuana among their patients.

People are learning more about medical marijuana, medical cannabis, and the endocannabinoid system, but the findings about the medicinal use of cannabis, especially for mental health issues, are underdeveloped.

Medicinal Benefits of Marijuana

Gruber said, “Given that so many people are using marijuana, it’s my job to help patients and consumers figure out the very best ways in which they might be able to use these products safely and effectively," most people use marijuana because of its recreational purposes, the medical benefits have not been exploited.

For proper understanding, medical marijuana/medical cannabis is the plant substance retrieved from the flowering components of cannabis indica, sativa, or ruderalis biotypes. The common ones are indica, sativa, and indica-sativa blends, readily available in pharmacies.

Medical marijuana is rich in various compounds, which are either psychoactive or non-psychoactive. According to a report, marijuana has up to 483 unique composites, including more than 60 cannabinoids and 140 terpenes. The delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the common phytocannabinoid that produces the most psychoactive effects.

Apart from the THC mentioned above, professionals have started full-blown research on another compound called cannabidiol (CBD); it is non-psychoactive but has medicinal value for some conditions when used alone or combined with THC.

Potential Benefits of Medicinal Marijuana for Mental Health Issues

The legal status of marijuana aside, many patients with mental health issues consume marijuana and have reported that they experience significant positive changes in their symptoms. Psychiatric patients consume cannabis to improve symptoms such as PTSD, ADHD, depression, anxiety issues, insomnia, severe pain, opiate dependence, and bipolar disorder.

Patients also use marijuana to improve neurological issues such as the fluctuation of multiple sclerosis, some kinds of seizure disorders that standard therapy can’t rectify, and distress in dementia. In addition, patients use cannabis to manage the aftermaths of cancer chemotherapies and to improve their appearance, mood, and symptoms based on their oncologist’s instruction.

Cannabis and Cognition

Several reports, including National Academic Reports, have revealed that there is a significant relationship between marijuana consumption and improvement in cognitive performance of patients having psychotic issues and a history of marijuana use.

The speculation is that the stat could represent a group of innocent users who would not have developed psychosis if not exposed to marijuana consumption. Also, a report speculates a link between chronic cannabis intake and detriment in the cognitive sector of memory, learning, and understanding.

However, professionals have not yet gotten a clear answer concerning the extended and residual cognitive issues. A recent report has revealed that habitual marijuana intake can cause a patient's neuropsychological and mental performance to decline. According to National Academic Reports, limited evidence confirms that cannabis intake causes poor academic performance.

Additionally, with cognitive performance related to psychosis development, the dosage is one of the crucial factors since most of the mental issues are related to chronic and long-term cannabis consumption and patients with marijuana use disorder.

Cannabis and Dementia

National Academic Reports have not yet come up with solid research linking marijuana, cannabis, or cannabinoid to the improvement of dementia symptoms; however, there are some essential facts you should know about this subject matter.

Basic scientific research has speculated that cannabinoids may reduce neuronal excitotoxicity and neuroinflammation, and they can also be used to tackle plaque development in Alzheimer disease. The most significant benefit of marijuana to patients with dementia is that it can be used to manage behavioral disorders such as weird appetite, agitation, and irritability.

Recent research conducted on a patient with marijuana use disorder has revealed a case of reduced cerebral blood flow in some parts of the brain, especially the hippocampus. The report shows that there is a probability that patients with cannabis use disorder will develop Alzheimer disease since it is related to low blood flow in the hippocampus.

Marijuana and PTSD

The report that marijuana, cannabis, or cannabinoid intake can improve the symptoms of PTSD is also minimal. However, new research has been showing positive results regarding this subject matter. In many states, PTSD patients can now purchase medical marijuana in the pharmacy. That is, PTSD is now one of the approved symptoms for accessing cannabis.

Many medical practitioners that have prescribed marijuana to patients before have revealed that many patients have psychiatric issues, with PTSD being one of the common signs. The medicinal benefits of cannabinoids to PTSD patients are related to the term “psychobiology of PTSD” and recent research on the endocannabinoid system.

National Academy Reports also revealed limited facts linking marijuana use to the prominence of symptoms among PTSD patients, but there is a grey line between the cause and effect. Patients with complicated PTSD symptoms are most likely self-medicating with cannabis. Also, to describe the medicinal impact of cannabis, the individual and the dosage must be considered.

Get Your Medical Marijuana Card in Minnesota!

Do you have a qualifying condition for a medical marijuana card in the State of Minnesota?

Have a chronic condition? You probably qualify! Do you feel like you may benefit from medical cannabis in general? You probably qualify!

Minnesota’s medical marijuana program is fully running, and we will begin seeing patients very soon! You should reserve your appointment as quickly as possible to ensure you will not have to wait any longer for the relief you deserve.

Cannabis is a safe, natural medicine used for thousands of years. Starting July 1st, medical marijuana will officially be legal in Minnesota, so you should do what you can to prepare to have legal access to your medicine!

Reserve an evaluation online today with one of our compassionate doctors, and we’ll book an appointment for you as soon as we’re able. We will begin seeing patients in the near future, so make sure to reserve an evaluation right away!

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