By nature, physicians and other medical professionals seek scientific, research-driven information about the treatments they recommend and prescribe to their patients. Unfortunately, given cannabis’s status as an illegal drug for decades, as well as its continued prohibition on a federal level, the body of scientific research on which medical professionals can rely is a work in progress.
Here is more information on cannabis’s effects in treating patients with the specific conditions that are covered by Vermont’s medical marijuana statute.
There is a growing body of research that suggests that cannabinoids possess anticarcinogenic properties. Until this anti-tumor capability is proven, medical marijuana is widely seen as being effective in easing the side effects of cancer treatment and in making patients more comfortable. Cannabis is effective is in reducing nausea and vomiting, in increasing a patient’s appetite, and in reducing the severity of wasting.
Medical marijuana has been linked to glaucoma treatment since the 1970s. One of the causes of optic nerve damage associated with glaucoma is high pressure within the eye, known as intraocular pressure, or IOP. Studies have shown that THC can lower a patient’s IOP level, with transdermal patches providing up to 6-8 hours of relief.
HIV & AIDS
Many patients with HIV and AIDS use medical marijuana as an effective treatment for the symptoms of the diseases, as well as to help alleviate the side effects of antiretroviral therapies. Nausea, vomiting, appetite loss, and severe pain at the nerve endings are all symptoms and side effects that can be treated with cannabis.
Patients with MS find that medical marijuana has a positive effect on symptoms such as muscle spasms, tremors, balance, bladder control, eyesight, and speech. There is also some evidence that cannabis can affect immune function, reducing the autoimmune attack that is thought to be the root cause of the disease.
SEIZURES & PEDIATRIC EPILEPSY
CBD-rich products are gaining increasing notice as an effective treatment for controlling seizures, including those associated with pediatric epilepsy. These CBD-rich products do not produce the psychoactive effects associated with THC.
SEVERE OR CHRONIC PAIN
Medical marijuana posses both analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, and can be an effective alternative to opioid-based painkillers that carry the risk of dependence, tolerance, or overdose.
Medical marijuana is well suited to improving the quality of life for those with terminal illnesses. There is evidence that it help patients sleep; can help with chronic pain, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting; and may even help with depression.
Cannabis can help manage the effects of wasting syndrome often seen in patients with conditions such as cancer, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and more. It helps by reducing nausea and vomiting so patients can increase their food intake.