Attitudes regarding the use of cannabis have shifted significantly over the last decade. By the end of 2022, 19 states, including New York, had enacted measures to regulate the non-medicinal use of cannabis by adults.
This has prompted many people to wonder what, if any, medicinal benefits marijuana can provide. The National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that very question has been the subject of research and debate for decades. That debate is unlikely to end anytime soon, though the NIDA indicates that suggestions about the potential medicinal properties of cannabis are not unfounded.
NIDA notes that marijuana and its components have been found to have numerous medicinal properties. For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved certain medications that contain tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is a compound found in the resin secreted by the marijuana plant. These drugs are used to treat the nausea that can develop in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and are also prescribed as appetite stimulants.
Though it has yet to be approved in the United States, the mouth spray Sativex is prescribed to multiple sclerosis patients to treat the spasticity and neuropathic pain associated with MS.CBD oil is one cannabis-related product to garner significant attention in recent years. CBD refers to cannabidiol, a chemical found in marijuana. According to the NIDA, a CBD-based liquid medication approved by the FDA is used to treat two rare forms of severe childhood epilepsy.
Consumers undoubtedly recognize just how widely CBD oil is marketed, and the Mayo Clinic notes CBD-infused foods, drinks and beauty products are available online. However, research as to the benefits of CBD is ongoing and limited. That does not necessarily mean claims about the benefits of CBD are false, but it also does not mean they’re true or backed by legitimate, recognized medical research.
As attitudes about cannabis change, research could change perceptions about the plant that has its fair share of supporters and detractors. Individuals considering cannabis for its potential medicinal properties are urged to speak with their physicians before purchasing any products.