Medical marijuana has received a lot of research attention in recent times, probably due to loosening global cannabis regulatory changes. In some studies, medical marijuana has been reported to have a positive impact on reducing muscle spasticity and pain. The therapeutic application of CBD is rising due to solid evidence for its use. In fact, the CBD industry is expected to hit $2 billion by 2022. But what is most interesting is that we know little when it comes to the use of medical marijuana for mental health. In this article, we will examine evidence linking improved mental health to the use of medical marijuana.
Patients Have Embraced Medical Marijuana
CBD is growing in popularity as a viable treatment for pain, inflammation, and anxiety. In fact, more people are searching for CBD more than meditation, apple cider vinegar, veganism, exercise, acupuncture, or even vaccination. By now, most stakeholders in the medical research field must have shifted from asking whether medical marijuana be legalized or is safe to use to how effective it can treat different medical conditions, mental health is one of them. After all, patients are already embracing it.
CBD and CBD-Containing Compounds Can Alleviate Psychotic Symptoms
In one study that involved a systematic review of case series, case reports, randomized and nonrandomized control trials, and open-label trials involving the use of medical marijuana in treating psychiatric disorders revealed that it could help minimize some symptoms. Specifically, the use of CBD or CBD-containing compounds helped reduce cognitive impairments and psychotic symptoms in patients with a variety of psychiatric disorders.
There is also a Grade B (Moderate) recommendation that supports the use of CBD for the treatment of social anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Besides this, Grade C recommendations exist for the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, posttraumatic, bipolar disorder, Tourette syndrome, and posttraumatic stress disorder. With that said, you should consider these recommendations in the context of a limited number of studies.
Added to the above, some scientists seem to know more about marijuana’s health benefits and drawbacks. A 2018 clinical study on medical cannabis users revealed varying effects on the brain, young and old. The study examined patients with different conditions, including anxiety, pain, gastrointestinal problems, sleep disorders before and after consuming marijuana. Three months after the treatment, patients who took one or two doses per week or even multiple doses per day showed increased cognitive performance. Their brains had more activity in the area associated with decision making, cognition, and executive function. Besides this, the researcher noted an increase in task performance among the users, which signifies enhancement in cognitive function.
But more importantly, the cannabis treatment quelled their symptoms. Most of the users in the study reported alleviation of their ailments and an increase in their quality of life. The results got some pessimistic medical team by surprise. It was clear that medical users and recreational consumers aren’t the same because the goal of use is often different.
Need for More Research
Despite the above pieces of evidence, some scientists are still pursuing other tests to come to a definite conclusion on the impact of cannabinoids on mental health. For instance, a study published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal suggests that there is a lack of high-quality evidence that THC or pharmaceutical tetrahydrocannabinol can lead to significant improvement in anxiety symptoms. The lead study researcher and a professor at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Center (NDARC) in Australia, Professor Louisa Degenhardt, wrote that further research should be carried out to assess the correlation between improved symptoms of mental health and use of medical cannabis.
Probably the main reason why data on how medical marijuana works is sparse is because research on cannabis remains bottlenecked because of the limitation of studying the plant in some countries. Furthermore, some policymakers are yet to understand how to regulate its use better. If this can be achieved then it will make its use easier.
CBD or Medical cannabis can help alleviate several symptoms associated with cannabis, such as social anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD, and comorbidity of ASD. As we speak, it is being used to treat various health conditions, including epilepsy, chronic pain, and some mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.
So, if you are like many patients, who often want to learn more about medical cannabis or you are even using it already, you may feel embarrassed to bring this topic to your doctor for fear of being criticized or chided. You shouldn’t be embarrassed because many patients are already using it as part of their care. Our advice is to be entirely honest with your doctors. Tell them that you are considering it as part of your medical care.