Does Medical Marijuana Help With Mental Health and Chronic Conditions?

Closeup of a cannabis bud

A research review published on October 28, 2019 in Lancet Psychiatry suggests cannabinoids don’t have a significant effect on mental health. It includes an analysis of 83 prior studies on the effects of medical marijuana on mental illnesses and neurological conditions, such as anxiety, depression, psychosis, PTSD, and Tourette syndrome. Overall, there is little evidence of its impact on mental health disorders.

The review also suggests that the little evidence there is of positive effects are not directly linked to mental health conditions. Rather, medical marijuana can soothe the symptoms of chronic diseases which, in turn, could lessen the symptoms of secondary conditions, like depression and anxiety.

Nevertheless, cannabis does help to improve quality of life of people with chronic health conditions. Local dispensaries continue to provide products that alleviate pain, ease nausea, and address other symptoms of chronic illnesses, which are growing in Arizona.

Chronic Pain

A four-month research on the efficacy of medical marijuana in 204 patients, who are 75 years and older, has promising findings. It shows that older people are captive to medical marijuana — 49 percent of the patients reported pain relief. In connection to this, 18 percent of the patients reported better sleep, 15 percent saw improvements in neuropathy, and 10 percent said it relieved anxiety.

Given that chronic pain affects more than 50 million people in Arizona and other states combined, this is great news for patients who are looking for a way to ease the pain. Effective chronic pain relief also has positive results on related symptoms, like fatigue, mood changes, and appetite loss.

Cancer

Cancer is one of the most common health problems in Arizona. It’s also one of the leading causes of death in the entire country, with 609,640 cancer-related deaths just last year.

A 2017 study in the UK suggests that the combination of cannabinoids and chemotherapy treatments may kill leukemia cells. It still needs further research. Meanwhile, even though medical cannabis is not a cure for cancer, it helps stimulate appetite and alleviate nausea that accompanies chemotherapy.

Asthma

Asthma is a common chronic respiratory condition that affects more than 615,000 Arizona residents. Some people may assume that marijuana could trigger asthma attacks, but breathing problems only occur when asthmatic individuals smoke marijuana joints. Other forms of cannabis don’t require smoking, and they provide a positive alternative treatment to asthma attacks.

Cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory properties that are used to treat neurological conditions, like multiple sclerosis and arthritis. And because asthma is the result of chronic lung inflammation, there is a growing body of research on whether cannabinoids have the same effects on people with asthma. Right now, the research is especially promising for patients with allergic asthma.

Experience Symptom Relief with the Right Cannabinoids

The rate of chronic diseases, including asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease, is rising in Arizona. Many of these conditions are preventable because most conditions are related to living unhealthy lifestyles. In the state, 62 percent of adults are overweight, 40 percent eat less than one fruit a day, and 24 percent eat less than one vegetable a day.

Regardless of how you acquired a chronic condition, cannabinoids help with symptom relief. As a result, medical marijuana has secondary effects on mental health conditions that develop because of them.