If you’re looking for immediate symptom relief to a health problem, then medicinal marijuana might be the answer.
Two recent studies by researchers at The University of New Mexico found that medical cannabis not only instantly helped sufferers of dozens of health issues, but it also rarely caused any negative side effects.
The studies were published in the journals, Frontiers in Pharmacology and Medicines.
The researchers evaluated problems ranging from chronic pain, insomnia, and seizure disorders, to cancer, post-traumatic stress, and depression.
In the first study, on a scale of 1-10, users reported a symptom reduction of nearly four points after consuming cannabis in various product forms, such as concentrates and topicals.
The second study focused on the use of raw natural cannabis flower, also known as buds, to treat insomnia. Researchers found it to be very effective in helping patients sleep, but there were some discrepancies depending on the characteristics of the flower and combustion methods
New Technology Used
What’s really cool is that the data was collected via new mobile application technology, meaning the people participating in the study didn’t have to feel like lab rats under observation. The Releaf App is currently the only program designed for recording how individual cannabis usage effects symptom intensity levels and side effects.
What it means is patients can use cannabis in the privacy of their own homes without being swayed or intimidated by controlled, closely-watched environments. Experts say the app is a great tool for measuring real-world cannabis use.
From the data collected, researchers were able to determine that more than 94% of cannabis users reported an immediate reduction in their symptoms after consumption.
The University of New Mexico professors involved in the studies say this could be thanks to the effect phytocannabinoids found in the cannabis plant have on the human endocannabinoid system, which regulates our mental and physical health and behavioral systems.
And here’s an added bonus: the patients involved in the studies most often reported very positive side-effects, such as feeling relaxed, peaceful, and comfortable. Negative side effects such as suffering from paranoia, confusion, or headaches, were rarely reported.
What Does It All Mean?
One of the associate professors behind the study, Jacob Miguel Vigil, suggests cannabis could eventually replace multi-billion dollar prescription medication industries around the world.
A 2017 study in the Journal of Pain Research found that the use and abuse of prescription drugs might be decreasing in US states where medicinal marijuana is legal. A total of 46% of respondents reported using cannabis as a substitute to prescription drugs.
So, will cannabis shift from an alternative form of medicine to a more common and widely-accessible option for patients?
Not So Fast…
The authors of these two studies say the results underscore the need for more research into the effectiveness of medical cannabis, as well as its risks and benefits. That same conclusion is being echoed by experts around the world.
Earlier this year, Canadian researchers warned that fieldwork on medicinal cannabis is seriously lacking, especially considering how popular it has recently become.
In fact, they suggested doctors think twice before prescribing medicinal marijuana to their patients, simply because there’s not enough evidence proving that the benefits outweigh the risks.
The guideline, published in the Canadian Family Physician journal, said the studies previously done on medical cannabis were often too narrow in scope or poorly executed.
Unlike the two recent studies done by The University of New Mexico, the Canadian researchers suggested common side effects reported by users of medical cannabinoids consistently include confusion, dizziness, and sedation.
They recommended that future research be carried out in control trials that follow a large number of patients for longer periods of time.
More research is always a good thing. With the changing landscape where cannabis is concerned, it’s about time, too.