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Reasons doctors prescribe marijuana most

woman in pain

Six reasons why doctors recommend using marijuana, according to experts.

​​There's been plenty of evidence that finds using marijuana for certain medicinal purposes is highly beneficial. It's proven to be helpful for patients who experience seizures, have autism, severe nausea or vomiting caused by cancer treatment, Alzheimer's disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), HIV/AIDS, Crohn's disease, epilepsy and seizures, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and muscle spasms, among other medical conditions. In addition, doctors are suggesting marijuana for other reasons and Eat This, Not That! Health talked to experts who explained the reasons marijuana is prescribed the most. (NOTE: In order to responsibly use marijuana for medicinal purposes, do not use unless under the care of a medical professional guiding its use, know how to legally obtain marijuana and familiarize yourself with what the laws are regarding its use and purchase.) 

1. Pain

Dr. Tom Ingegno DACM, MSOM, LAC says, "Pain is probably the number one reason anyone recommends cannabis. Pain is a symptom of many different issues and diseases, not just injuries.  Due to cannabis's ability to reduce inflammation, it can be used for everything from arthritis to intractable cancer pain.  With a big national push to move away from opiates, doctors have been looking at other sources for pain relief and cannabis fits the bill."

2. Stress

Dr. Kristina Hendija explains,"It works for stress and anxiety relief for many. Cannabinoid receptors are present in all the brain regions responsible for processing anxiety and stress. Use of medical marijuana helps to dampen the severity that stressful events have on an individual. It helps form a regulatory buffer system against overwhelming emotional responses while also modulating the networks balancing distress and well-being. It should be known, however, that long term marijuana use with subsequent withdrawal can result in temporarily reduced dopamine levels."

3. Sleep

"Cannabis can help people sleep.," says Dr. Ingegno.

"CBD, the non-psychoactive compound, can help people sleep more soundly and delta 9-THC, the most commonly known psychoactive compound found in cannabis,  may help people fall asleep.  While there may be an entourage effect with many of the other cannabinoids and terpenes, the compounds that add the various flavors to the different strains, in general look for Indica-dominant varieties to help with sleep."

4. PTSD

​Dr. Ingegno explains, "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a complex and multi-symptom disorder that is mainly characterized by anxiety, insomnia, depression, and hyper-excitability. Cannabis has helped mitigate many PTSD symptoms.  Part of the reason is that cannabinoids look similar to an endocannabinoid called anandamide, Ananda is Sanskrit for bliss. This compound bonds to CB1 receptors and produces a blissful relaxation. Both THC and CBD bond to these same receptor sites and reduce excitability."

5. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

"Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is thought to be hypersensitivity of the nervous system,"  Dr. Ingegno states.

"It can cause pain, soreness, dizziness, insomnia, and of course, fatigue. THC and CBD have been shown to 'calm' the glial cells in the brain, which are responsible for sensitivity. It is thought that giving these cells a break, can disrupt the inflammatory response that spikes the other symptoms."

6. Asthma

According to Dr. Ingegno, "This has been a classical use for cannabis going back to ancient Egypt.  It sounds counterintuitive to inhale smoke to open up the airways, but both CBD and THC are shown in studies to be bronchodilators and can help relax constriction that occurs during an asthma attack. The good news is it can be ingested rather than smoked to reduce the risk of lung damage."

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