Cannabis: Benefits, Uses, Effects?
Medical uses of cannabis
Much difference on the knowledge of the medical use of cannabis and cannabinoids in different diseases. As for the nausea associated with chemotherapy and cancer, anorexia and cachexia in HIV / AIDS, chronic pain especially neurological origin, the spasticity in multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury vomiting there is ample evidence of your benefit as a medicinal for many other indications such as epilepsy, pruritus and depression there is less data available. In any case, the scientific evidence for a specific indication does not necessarily reflect the actual therapeutic potential for a given disease.
Suggested by the good results obtained on anecdotal experience in patients using the products of the cannabis plant "raw", have conducted clinical studies with single cannabinoids, with preparations from the same plant (smoked cannabis, cannabis extract) . The, appetite stimulant, relaxant, analgesic, and as a treatment for Tourette Syndrome antiemetic effect have been discovered in this way.
Accidental observations have also shown other therapeutic effects. This occurred in a study with Alzheimer's patients in which the primary objective was to assess the appetite stimulant effect of THC, was not only an increase of the same and weight gain but an improvement was observed in the behavior studied. The discovery of lowering intraocular pressure by administration of THC in the early '70s was also accidental. Other indications of interest that have not been scientifically investigated, but common in clinical practice, may have benefit from treatment with cannabis or cannabinoids. For this reason, there have been surveys asking those using cannabis for medicinal purposes, either through oral interviews no standardized protocol in the course of an investigation by an official body or a scientific institution (the "House of Lords Select ComITT on Science and Technology "in Britain or" Institute of Medicine "U.S.) on the therapeutic potential of cannabis or using anonymous surveys protocolized.
Nausea and vomiting
Treatment for the side effects associated to anti neoplastic has been one of the most documented therapeutic indications, with about 40 studies (THC, nabilone, other similar to THC, cannabis) and most of the studies were conducted at 80. administered THC isolation requires relatively high doses, so that it is comparatively more frequent occurrence of side effects. One study showed THC less effective than high doses of metoclopramide. No assessments made comparing the THC to the modern serotonin antagonists. Recent research has shown that THC in low doses improves the efficacy of other antiemetic drugs when administered together. In traditional medicine cannabinoids are popular and often were used for nausea caused by other diseases, such as AIDS and hepatitis.
Anorexia and cachexia
We observed a stimulation of appetite as an effect of THC when administered in installments a total dose of 5 mg. daily. When necessary, the daily dose can be increased to 20 mg. In a long-term study of 94 patients with AIDS the appetite stimulant effect of THC continued for months, confirming the benefits gained in a short 6-week study duration. THC increased appetite twice on a visual analogue scale compared with placebo and patients tended to maintain body weight after seven months. Have also been obtained satisfactory data regarding weight gain in a study of 15 Alzheimer's patients who had refused to eat.
In many clinical trials with THC, nabilone and cannabis, a beneficial effect was observed in spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injuries, as well as an improvement in pain, paresthesia, tremor and ataxia, and the no references folk medicine for improvement of bowel control. There is also some anecdotal evidence of benefit of cannabis in spasticity caused by brain injury.
There are some anecdotal reports on the therapeutic benefits of cannabis in Tourette's syndrome, in dystonia and tardive dyskinesia. The use in Tourette's syndrome is currently being started to investigate in clinical studies and while many patients show only minimal improvement, some get a considerable response or total control of symptoms. In some patients with multiple sclerosis has been observed benefit in reducing the ataxia and tremors after administration of THC. Despite anecdotal case reports of improvement in parkinsonism and Huntington's disease, have not been able to objectify data. However, cannabis products may be useful in dyskinesia induced by levodopa in Parkinson's disease without worsening the primary symptoms occur.
Extensive clinical studies have proven analgesic properties of cannabis. Among possible indications are neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis, originated after causing damage to the brachial plexus, HIV infection, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, headache, dysmenorrhea, chronic intestinal inflammation and neuralgia .
In 1971, during a methodological investigation of health effects in cannabis users, we observed that cannabis reduces incraocular pressure. In the next 12 years conducted a large number of studies with cannabis and other natural and synthetic cannabinoids on the effects on the human body and in glaucoma patients, showing that cannabis lowers the intraocular pressure in the range of 25 - 30%, sometimes reaching 50%. Some non-psychoactive cannabinoid, and to a lesser extent, some non-cannabinoid constituents of the hemp plant also decrease intraocular pressure.
The use in epilepsy is also other Classics therapeutic indications for cannabis, animal experiments have shown the antiepileptic effects of some cannabinoids, and anticonvulsant activity of phenytoin and diazepam are further enhanced with THC. According to a few cases reported throughout the 20th century, through the use of cannabis, some epileptics have been able to fully control symptoms. Cannabis may occasionally precipitate seizures.
The experiments on the anti-asthmatic effects THC or cannabis date mainly from the seventies and are all rigorous studies. The effects of a cannabis cigarette (2% THC) or oral THC (15 mg), respectively, correspond approximately to the benefit obtained with therapeutic doses of common bronchodilator (salbutamol, isoprenaline). Since inhalation of cannabis products may irritate the mucous surfaces, other alternatives for systemic administration by the oral route should be developed. Some patients experienced bronchoconstriction after inhalation of THC.
Dependence and withdrawal
According recorded throughout history and in recent papers, case cannabis is a good remedy to combat withdrawal symptoms caused by dependence on benzodiazepines, opiates and alcohol. For this reason, some have referred to it as the exit of drugs. In this sense and according to the observed benefits may be useful in reducing both the physical symptoms of stress such as occurs after leaving the drug of abuse.
There has been an improvement in mood in reactive depression in some studies with THC and there are also cases collected profit with cannabinoids in other symptoms and psychological disorders, such as sleep disorders, anxiety, bipolar disorder and dysthymia. Several authors have expressed different viewpoints concerning psychiatric syndromes and cannabis, while some emphasize the problems caused by cannabis others promote the therapeutic possibilities. Quite possibly cannabis products may be beneficial or harmful, depending on the particular case. Both the doctor and the patient should be alerted and prepared for a deep appreciation for both.
Autoimmune and inflammatory diseases
In a series of secondary to inflammatory processes (eg ulcerative colitis and arthritis) pain syndromes, cannabis products may act not only as analgesics but also a proven anti-inflammatory effect. For example, some patients who use cannabis manifest need less steroids and other NSAIDs. In addition there are some reported cases of benefit in patients with various allergic disorders have been self-medicating with cannabis. It is still unclear the mechanism by which cannabis products benefit certain autoimmune diseases.
Others, mixed syndromes
There are collected a number of cases of good results in classification difficult medical situations, such as pruritus, hiccup, attention deficit syndrome, hypertension, tinnitus, chronic fatigue syndrome, the restless legs syndrome , among others. They have been described by different authors hundreds of possible indications for cannabis and THC. For example, in three patients with liver disease secondary to pruritus were effective at 2.5 to 5 mg of THC. Another example is the successful results in the treatment of a case of chronic hiccups secondary to surgery. No medication was effective, but after smoking a cannabis cigarette completely her symptoms disappeared.
Cannabis products often show very good results in diseases with multiple symptoms which fall within the therapeutic range of THC, as for example in painful conditions of inflammatory origin (such as arthritis), or attached to muscle spasms (as in menstrual or spinal cord injury) or disease spasms nausea and anorexia matching with pain, anxiety and depression (eg AIDS, cancer, hepatitis C).