National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine

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A new report on the health risks, benefits and effects of cannabis strongly suggests the benefits

Published by the Health and Medicine Division, part of the U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, the analysis combed through more than 10,000 scientific studies and came to nearly 100 conclusions. See some overall conclusions below

  • Cannabis and cannabinoids were effective at treating chronic pain, particularly that related to MS.  Also effective for treating chemo-related nausea and vomiting.
  • Cannabis and cannabinoids use is not linked to cancers that arise from smoking, such as lung and neck cancers.  However, smoking may increase respiratory problems if it’s done on a regular basis.
  • Smoking marijuana while pregnant can result in lower birth weights, but it’s unclear if there are long-term effects in children.
  • There is not enough research to know how marijuana use relates to heart attack, strokes, or diabetes.  There is slight evidence that smoking cannabis could trigger a heart attack.
  • There is a small amount of evidence that marijuana could have anti-inflammatory effects, but otherwise not enough to know how cannabis and cannabinoids affect the immune system or those who are immune-compromised.
  • Using marijuana may increase the risk of developing mental health issues, such as schizophrenia, anxiety, and to a lesser extent depression.
  • There is little evidence that marijuana is a gateway drug, however, there is a clear link between people who use marijuana and those prone to developing substance dependence.
  • Using marijuana immediately impairs learning, memory, and attention.  There is some evidence that impairments could linger in those who stop smoking, and could affect educational achievement and employment for those who start young.

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Benefits Based on Studies

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Anxiety & PTSD

In 2016 paper in the journal Clinical Psychology Review concluded that cannabis may have benefit patients with depression, anxiety, and PTSD.  These findings were based on minimal dosing of a cannabis joint, which findings have also suggested that higher amounts of THC may increase anxiety. Other research have also suggested that cannabis may be more harmful than helpful for people with certain mental health conditions, like psychosis or bipolar disorders. 

Chronic Pain and Nausea

In 2017 the National Academies of Sciences have concluded there is great evidence that supports the use of medical cannabis for pain relief.  Cannabis products also have shown to be effective at calming muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis and easing nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy. 

Sleep Disorders

There is moderate evidence, based on a thorough study done by the National Academies of Science, that cannabis derived products may help people who have trouble sleeping due to sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, or chronic pain. 

Epilepsy

Cannabidiol oil, a derivative of marijuana, reduces seizures by 39% in children with Dravet syndrome, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. 

Safer alternative to Opiods

In a 2016 study in the journal Health Affairs, researchers found that there were 1,826 fewer daily doses of painkillers prescribed per year, on  average, in states where medical cannabis was legal compared to states it's not.  It may be helpful for patients recovering from opiod addiction

Anti-Cancer Effects

Studies have shown that the oil may inhibit the growth of cancer cells outside of the human body, but most research and real life trials to backup these findings. 

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Risks & Awareness

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Expecting Parents

It is becoming aware that more women are using cannabis to treat morning sickness, but evidence suggests that prenatal exposure to cannabis is associated with developmental and health problems in children, low birth weight, anemia, and impaired impulse control, memory, and attention. Woman pregnant or considering becoming pregnant should be advised to avoid using cannabis. 

Increase risk with Heart Problems

Recent studies claim there are the first known deaths directly attributed by intoxication from cannabis. Researchers concluded from these cases, that the risk of cannabis-related cardiovascular effects is low, especially for healthy people. Patients with heart complications should avoid the use of cannabis, since it may have temporary effects on the cardiovascular system.

Do Not Drive while under influence of Cannabis

Avoid smoking burnt Cannabis

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