Below is a list of conditions with possible effects some patients have experienced using cannabis.
Always consult your physician
Cannabinoids have been shown to reduce the intensity of pain, including:
-reduce spasticity and pain associated with muscle spasms
Beyond decreasing the intensity of pain, many patients report that cannabis changes the nature of the pain, making it more bearable and less distracting.
*In certain situations, cannabis can increase the intensity of acute pain.
Cannabinoids have neuropathic effects, protecting the nerves from acute injuries like head trauma, stroke, and conditions such as Alzheimer’s. Cannabinoids also affect our consciousness via the nervous system. Depending on the strain or preparation, cannabinoids can be awakening or sedating.
Cannabinoids can slow reaction time and cause other changes in perception. Many patients report:
-and the intensification of ordinary experiences (eating, sex, listening to music)
Cannabis has broad effects on the digestive system including:
-reduced nausea and vomiting
-inhibits acid secretion
-relaxing smooth muscle
-decreased motility, thereby relieving cramps and diarrhea
Cannabinoids are active in the liver and can modulate inflammation and scarring. Cannabis decreases saliva production, resulting in dry mouth and enhances the perception of flavour.
Cannabinoids influence hormones that control appetite and fat metabolism. Despite increasing appetite, several studies have shown that cannabis users are less likely to be obese and diabetic than their non-cannabis using counterparts. Underweight patients with chronic disease have used cannabis to gain weight.
Cannabis exerts bidirectional effects on the cardiovascular system- it can increase or decrease both heart rate and blood pressure. Typical doses of cannabis slightly decrease blood pressure and increase heart rate. Cannabinoids can dilate blood vessels, improving blood flow, and animal studies suggest that some cannabinoids could prevent or reduce atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Ultra-low doses (or micro-doses) of THC have been shown to limit the damage of heart attack while preserving cardiac function and promoting faster healing.
Eyes and Ears
Cannabis can lower the pressure in the eye, an important benefit for those with glaucoma, and the cause of “red eye” side effect. Cannabinoids can protect the optic nerve in glaucoma and other diseases of the eye, and may also have a role in the development and treatment of inner ear disorders that cause dizziness and vertigo.
The cannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavonoids in cannabis can all affect hormone levels, especially when taken acutely. Long-term cannabis users, however, have normal hormone levels when compared to non-users. THC has shown to have a detrimental effect on sperm count and motility, but regular male users can certainly still produce a pregnancy. Though a small study reported cannabis causing irregular menstrual cycles, many patients report that cannabis can bring balance to their cycle and relieve many pre-menstrual symptoms.
Soft Tissue and Joints
Cannabinoids can modulate bone remodeling, often promoting bone growth and inhibiting bone resorption and some are being studied in the prevention and treatment of Osteoporosis. Our bodies increase the number of cannabinoid receptors present in tissues that are injured or inflamed, indicating a role for healing. Several Cannabinoids have in fact been shown to:
-protect connective tissue from injury due to lack of oxygen
-prevent cartilage breakdown in joints
-speed the repair process in damaged skeletal muscle
Cannabis can dry upper respiratory secretions, similar to its action on saliva and vaginal secretions, which may benefit individuals with a runny nose or severely ill patients at risk of choking. Cannabis has shown to dilate or open airways in the lungs, potentially improving oxygen intake.
The immune system is partially controlled by our own body’s cannabinoids, and cannabis can affect immune function in complex ways, often suppressing certain aspects while stimulating others. Overall, cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory properties and have shown to benefit conditions such as Crohn’s and Multiple Sclerosis.
Cannabinoids have been shown to target and affect cancer cells differently than normal, healthy cells. In various types of cancer, cannabinoids have been shown to:
-prevent tumor growth
-trigger cell death
-prevent the formation of blood vessels that feed the tumor
-inhibits the metastasis of cancer from one part of the body to the other