Marijuana has been met with its share of criticism in the past. Even now, people question its benefits. But a new study shows marijuana is linked to long term health improvements for people with chronic conditions. Read on to find out more.

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About the Study Finding Marijuana Linked to Long Term Health Improvements

A study conducted by the American Medical Association (AMA) and published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) Health Policy shows marijuana linked to long term health improvements. It can be especially beneficial to people dealing with conditions like insomnia and chronic pain.

Researchers analyzed studies involving 3,148 people in Australia who were prescribed cannabis for the treatment of eligible conditions.

Eight well-being indicators were looked at with mostly positive results. These included general health, bodily pain, physical functioning, physical role limitations, mental health, emotional role limitations, social functioning, and vitality.

Patients were asked to rate their levels of wellness to find how marijuana linked to long term health improvements every 45 days for a total of 15 completed questionnaires. They reported average improvements of 6.6 – 18.31 points on a scale of 1-100.  

Side effects, if any, were rarely serious.  

“These findings suggest that medical cannabis treatment may be associated with improvements in health-related quality of life among patients with a range of health conditions,” said researchers from the Swinburne University of Technology, University of Western Australia, and Austin Hospital.

The study finding marijuana linked to long term health improvements involved patients diagnosed with a variety of chronic conditions. 68.6% were dealing with non-cancer-related chronic pain. 6% were dealing with cancer-related pain. 4.8% were suffering from insomnia and 4.2% had insomnia.

“The use of cannabis as a medicine is becoming increasingly prevalent. Given the diverse range of conditions being treated with medical cannabis, as well as the vast array of products and dose forms available, clinical evidence incorporating patient-reported outcomes may help determine safety and efficiency,” the study authors wrote.

The doses and methods of consumption used in the study showing marijuana linked to long term health improvements varied making it difficult to generalize results. However, it was found that the “estimated treatment effects were very similar”.

“This study suggests a favorable association between medical cannabis treatment and quality of life among patients with a diverse range of conditions. However, clinical evidence for cannabinoid efficacy remains limited, and further high-quality trials are required,” the study concluded.

Other Research That Finds Marijuana Linked to Long Term Health Improvements

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The recent study that finds marijuana linked to long term health improvements is far from the only one of its kind. A study conducted by the University of Colorado shows that consistent use of marijuana may increase cognition and reduce pain in people with cancer and those undergoing chemotherapy.

A 2022 AMA study reveals that increased cannabis legalization has led to reduced opioid prescriptions for cancer patients. Many studies have recognized cannabis’s benefits in reducing opioid use, dependence, and related overdose deaths.

A 2014 patient survey on the benefits of cannabis showed 64% of participants experienced a decrease in pain. 50% reported feeling a 50% decrease in anxiety, 45% reported a reduction in insomnia, 12% stated their appetite improved, 10% cited decreased nausea, 9% had increased focus and concentration, and 7% felt less depressed.

An NIH review revealed that cannabis can be beneficial in relieving chronic pain. It showed evidence that it may have anti-cancer characteristics. It may also treat chemotherapy-induced vomiting. Its appetite-inducing properties make it a promising treatment for anorexia and weight loss.

The same review showed that cannabis may have promising effects for people dealing with irritable bowel syndrome, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, Tourette syndrome, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, dystonia, dementia, traumatic brain injuries, and various types of mental illness.

Can Cannabis Be Bad for Health?

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The new study finds marijuana is linked to long term health benefits. But can it also be bad for health? Research suggests that it can be detrimental to wellness.

Marijuana can be harmful to respiratory health if it is smoked. The CDC issued a warning stating that it can harm the lung tissues and cause scarring and damage to the small blood vessels. Its smoke contains many of the same irritants, toxins, and carcinogens found in tobacco.

Cannabis can also be bad for the heart regardless of how it is used. It makes the heart beat faster and causes blood pressure to rise immediately after it’s used. The irregularity increased the risk of stroke, heart disease, and other vascular diseases.

The drug may also be detrimental to mental health. It is known to cause anxiety and paranoia. Low doses of THC have been shown to decrease anxiety while high doses increase anxiety. However, it may affect different people in different ways.

CBD appears to decrease anxiety regardless of the dose that’s taken.

Marijuana may also increase the risk of schizophrenia, especially in young men.

Is Marijuana Right for Me?

If you are struggling with a medical condition and have heard about marijuana linked to long term health improvements, you may be wondering, is cannabis right for me? It’s important to start with a low dose to determine how it will affect you before moving forward. Consider the administration process to mitigate health risks.

Most importantly, talk to a doctor and consult an experienced dispensary worker before proceeding. They will be able to tell you which treatment, dosage, administration, and type of weed is right for you.

Here’s hoping that marijuana helps you achieve all your wellness goals.