Cannabis: Therapeutic Uses That Are Proven or Under Investigation

In the US, so far only one prescription CBD drug Epidiolex is authorized by the FDA. It is prescribed for patients that suffer from severe seizures due to epilepsy (Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome).

Syndros and Marinol are two other FDA approved prescription drugs that contain a cannabis-based molecule dronabinol (delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) a psychoactive component in cannabis). Syndros and Marinol are prescribed to patients suffering from anorexia that is associated with AIDS.



Cesamet is another  FDA approved cannabis-based prescription drug. The active ingredient in Cesamet is nabilone a molecule that is used to curb nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.

Keep in mind though that although cannabis is legal in many states in the US it still remains illegal under US federal law.  In other words only the FDA approved versions of cannabis are legal in the US.

Read Also: University of Arkansas: In High Doses, CBD May Be Toxic to the Liver

It is estimated that more than 94 million people between the ages of 12 and 75 have already used cannabis in the US. Still cannabis remains a sensitive issue as its legality is still not clearly defined in the USA. Additionally this narcotic is the subject of numerous studies with contradictory conclusions.

Numerous studies have investigated the effectiveness of therapeutic cannabis and its compounds, including THC and CBD. Here are the benefits of cannabis that are frequently mentioned in the scientific literature; it should be noted that not all of them have been formally proven in humans.

It is believed that cannabis prevents epileptic seizures

A 2003 rat study showed that cannabis could prevent epileptic seizures. Cannabis compounds are considered anticonvulsants. As a result the FDA recently approved a CBD based drug Epidiolex for the relief of epileptic seizures in adults and children.

To stimulate appetite

In the US dronabinol is a drug approved for the treatment of AIDS-related anorexia. Dronabinol contains delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychotropic cannabis drug. The molecule binds to a cannabinoid receptor, which increases appetite.

Cannabis to treat the side effects of chemotherapy

In the US Cesamet (nabilone) is prescribed to limit the side effects of cancer treatments, particularly nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. THC reduces vomiting by binding to cannabinoid receptors of type CB1.

Treatment for depression

According to a 2015 study by the University of Buffalo, cannabis compounds could help stabilize mood and combat depression. However, further work is needed to confirm these findings in humans.

For chronic pain

In January 2017 the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine published a report on the therapeutic use of cannabis. According to the authors, there is substantial evidence of the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis in the treatment of chronic pain in adults.

Did you know?

Some electronic cigarettes can vaporize cannabidiol or CDB. Cannabidiol is a Cannabis molecule that works in the brain to promote the body’s endocannabinoid response. Products containing cannabidiol are authorized for sale in the US. To be legal the plant must have a THC content of less than 0.2 percent, depending on the location. This is however the area that is attracting the most attention from online supplements sellers.

Unfortunately a lot of the CBD based products that are sold online are not FDA approved. Needless to say not all products are bad just do your research before committing to any products out there.   For those considering CBD based Products in the UK a popular brand would be vsavi while in the US CBD Pure seems to be a dominant player. NB: Gilmore health in no way endorses any of these brands but merely is offering a starting point for your search.

For Parkinson’s tremors

Israeli research has shown that cannabis reduces pain and tremor in Parkinson’s patients. Ruth Djaldetti of Tel Aviv University said in Medpage Today: “I would recommend to my patients to use marijuana as a last resort when nothing else has worked for them or when they are in pain.”

Read Also: Latest CBD Laws: Everything You Need to Know About the Legality of CBD Oil

Could limit the progression of Alzheimer’s disease

A study by the Scripps Research Institute suggests that cannabis reduces the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. It is believed that THC contained in cannabis limits the formation of amyloid plaques in the brain by inhibiting an enzyme responsible for its formation. These amyloid plaques are associated with patient symptoms and nerve cell destruction.

Is it effective against the pain of multiple sclerosis?

Cannabis is believed to relieve the pain associated with multiple sclerosis (MS). A study published in 2012 examined 30 patients suffering from painful muscle contractions associated with MS. Although these people did not respond to other treatments, their pain was relieved with cannabis. Cannabis is believed to reduce muscle spasticity in MS.

Cannabis and glaucoma

Cannabis could lower intraocular pressure in glaucoma. In a small clinical study, intraocular pressure was reduced two hours after oral administration of cannabis preparations.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is believed to have anti-cancer properties.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is believed to limit cancer progression by inhibiting the expression of the Id-1 gene in breast cancer cells. After treatment with cannabidiol, these cancer cells appeared to be less aggressive (research published in 2007).


The Endogenous Cannabinoid System Regulates Seizure Frequency and Duration in a Model of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

RIA neuroscience study points to possible use of medical marijuana for depression

The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research (2017)

Smoking Pot Eases Tremors in Parkinson’s

Marijuana’s Active Ingredient Shown to Inhibit Primary Marker of Alzheimer’s Disease

Smoked cannabis for spasticity in multiple sclerosis: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial

Effect of Sublingual Application of Cannabinoids on Intraocular Pressure: A Pilot Study

Cannabidiol as a Novel Inhibitor of Id-1 Gene Expression in Aggressive Breast Cancer Cells



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