Most Common Medical Marijuana Uses

5 Most Common Medical Marijuana Uses

As more and more states in the US start to legalize medical cannabis use and federal government leaders such as Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY) push for the legalization of medical marijuana to counter the growing opioid crisis, this form of doctor-prescribed treatment is becoming more widely available for those who may need it. The different medical conditions marijuana can treat may vary based on specifics such as the strain, form and chemical makeup of the cannabis being used.

An understanding of the difference between THC and CBD will be helpful for getting a nuanced understanding of everything marijuana can do in a medical context. For beginners, though, understanding the five most common medical marijuana uses can shed some light on the subject.

1: Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts for three months or more, whether it is persistent or intermittent or changes in intensity over time. Aside from medical marijuana, highly addictive drugs such as prescription opioids are the most common treatment available.

Common Chronic Pain Causes in Medical Cannabis Patients

  • ​Migraines
  • ​Cancer
  • ​Sickle-cell anemia
  • ​Arthritis
  • ​Fibromyalgia
  • Injury

Why Cannabis Helps with Chronic Pain

There are two major factors in cannabis’ efficacy in treating pain. One is the fact that the chemical components in cannabis have been shown to reduce inflammation, which is often the source of pain. Another relates to the fact that the human body’s nervous system pain circuits have components called cannabinoid receptors, which work to stop the signals that create pain sensations. As the name indicates, these cellular receptors respond to the presence of the chemicals in cannabinoids we ingest when we consume medical cannabis, reducing the feeling of pain from within the nervous system.

2: Nausea

Nausea has been one of the major conditions that turns doctors around on their opinions of medical marijuana. This is, in part, because its use has been shown to be extremely effective in child cancer patients who experience nausea as a result of chemotherapy.

Common Nausea Causes in Medical Cannabis Patients

  • ​Cancer (chemotherapy treatment)
  • ​Gastrointestinal disease
  • ​Pain

​​​Why Cannabis Helps with Nausea

The cannabinoid receptor system in the human nervous system also relates to feelings of nausea and sensations of needing to vomit. The introduction of cannabis into the body can stop nausea once it’s started or help to prevent it before it’s expected, such as in the case of chemotherapy.

3: Spasms & Seizures

Severe, frequent muscle spasms and seizures of any kind can be debilitating and severely life-limiting. Regardless of the underlying cause, medical marijuana could be the right treatment for spasms and seizures. Patients experiencing uncontrolled muscle movements and seizures should be sure to see a qualified medical professional for diagnosis prior to obtaining a medical marijuana prescription to ensure they receive the right type of medication.

Common Spasm & Seizure Causes in Medical Cannabis Patients

  • ​Epilepsy and other seizure disorders
  • ​ALS
  • ​Cerebral palsy
  • ​Multiple sclerosis
  • List Element

​​​​Why Cannabis Helps With Spasms and Seizures

CBD is most commonly associated with spasm and seizure relief for medical marijuana patients, and it’s shown to be highly effective for these conditions. Both adults and children respond well to this treatment and, in both cases, the alternative to a more powerfully sedative medication such as barbiturates can be a positive change that allows the patients to live a more normal life.

4: Poor Appetite & Uncontrolled Weight Loss

While some people strive to lose weight, for many others, weight loss is a troubling symptom or outcome of a serious underlying disease or disorder. Medical cannabis offers hope to these patients, who may have no recourse other than IV feeding and other inconvenient treatment methods. In most cases, patients who take medical marijuana for poor appetite and uncontrolled weight loss have been unresponsive to other treatments and want to try something before turning to force-feeding and other unpleasant options.

Common Poor Appetite & Uncontrolled Weight Loss Causes in Medical Cannabis Patients

  • ​Anorexia
  • ​Cancer (most often resulting from chemo-related nausea)
  • ​Wasting diseases
  • Diseases associated with nausea

​​​​Why Cannabis Helps With Poor Appetite & Uncontrolled Weight Loss

Those who use cannabis in a recreational context often speak of “the munchies” or a desire to snack associated with cannabis use. This works a bit differently in a medical context, though, because medical marijuana typically does not have the same chemical makeup as recreational marijuana.

5: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Many people assume that they can get a medical marijuana prescription for mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety or for sleep-related issues such as insomnia but, in most states, this is not the case. There is only one psychiatric disorder for which marijuana is commonly prescribed: post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

Common PTSD Causes in Medical Cannabis Patients

Unlike the diseases and conditions listed above, PTSD is a much more individual and unpredictable diagnosis, so there isn’t necessarily a list of common underlying causes to work from.

Why Cannabis Helps With PTSD Symptoms

Marijuana’s ability to calm the central nervous system makes it an effective medicine for the suffering caused by the event flashbacks, nightmares, paranoia, mood swings, social isolation and general emotional tension associated with PTSD. Veterans’ groups are among those leading the charge for medical cannabis treatment approval for those suffering from PTSD. Though PTSD is most commonly associated with military service in the public consciousness, anyone who suffers from PTSD might be a suitable candidate for medical marijuana treatment.

Understanding Your Options

If you’re dealing with any of the above symptoms, diseases, or underlying medical issues, medical marijuana could be a good treatment option for you. However, not all states have the same laws governing who can and can’t get this medical treatment. It could be that the condition you have isn’t considered a valid justification for medical cannabis use. Additionally, the side effects of medical marijuana use may not be suitable for some patients, particularly on a long-term basis. Talking to a qualified, compassionate doctor can be helpful in determining whether this treatment method is both available to and a good option for you.

Jason Duke

As a disabled veteran I have been through years of therapy and treatment and I have seen the toll prescription pain medications can take on you and your family. Now years later and an advocate for Medical Marijuana I'm the founder of a website dedicated to providing accurate information on Medical Marijuana uses, the laws, and the strains. I'm a firm believer that marijuana can help millions of people and deserves its proper place in mainstream medicine.