Even though medical marijuana is finally gaining wide acceptance in much of the West, researchers are still finding new and surprising therapeutic uses for cannabis. One of the reasons for these new discoveries is that medical researchers couldn’t conduct proper medical marijuana studies on humans until recently. The new research is showing that medical marijuana has powerful healing effects for victims of trauma. It helps patients deal with both the physical and mental aspects of severe trauma.
Physical and Mental Trauma
While trauma is often thought of as just a mental health issue, many forms of trauma have a strong physical component as well. Think about traumatic brain injuries where the brain has been physically damaged by one or more severe blows to the head. This physical damage can cause a range of emotional and cognitive issues.
Often physical pain and injury can also trigger emotional or mental trauma disorders like PTSD and depression. Even though the causes of these different types of trauma vary, researchers have found that cannabis is surprisingly effective at treating both mental and physical trauma.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Researchers at the U.S. based National Institute of Health (NIH) first discovered the benefits of cannabis as a healing agent for some types of brain trauma as far back as 1998. This rodent-based study showed that THC has neuro-protective properties and reduced inflammation throughout the damaged part of the brain.
Since then other studies have confirmed that not only does marijuana help reduce inflammation in human brains, but it is one of the only effective treatments for the long-term emotional and cognitive effects of the physical traumatic brain injury. The most recent research is even showing positive links between cannabis and the reversing of the physical effects of Alzheimer’s disease in the brain.
PTSD and Depression
However, some of the most powerful and controversial work is being done on PTSD patients. Medical marijuana is increasingly seen as an almost essential treatment for many sufferers of PTSD and depression. Many of these victims are combat veterans. Medical marijuana soothes the worst of their symptoms without many of the nasty side effects traditional pharmaceutical drugs have.
Marijuana does more than just relax patients with mental health disorders brought on by trauma. Research from Europe shows that cannabis actually works to heal parts of the brain where the neuro-processing functions have been damaged. Instead of just being a way to relieve symptoms, Marijuana is actually a healing agent.
As medical marijuana grows in acceptance, scientists and doctors are likely to continue to discover additional benefits. It is crucial for patients throughout Canada that the list of conditions cannabis is used to treat not be limited to a select handful of diseases. Already, there is data to show that medical marijuana can actually lower healthcare costs in some populations. With this new research showing the power of cannabis to treat and even heal trauma patients, wide access to medical marijuana is more important than ever.