Sometimes it seems like everytime we turn around there is new scientific evidence that medical marijuana effectively treats all kinds of qualifying conditions.
For example, a recent peer-reviewed study in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry found evidence that medical marijuana is an effective treatment for anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders.
In the words of the study’s lead researcher, University of South Carolina doctoral candidate Erin Martin, “Medicinal cannabis products, especially products high in CBD, may help to treat symptoms of depression, improve sleep, and increase quality of life.”
Hasn’t Research Already Shown that Medical Marijuana Treats Depression, Anxiety, and Sleep Disorders?
Absolutely. We’ve already told you that medical marijuana can treat anxiety, and numerous studies have shown that it can also effectively treat depression and sleep disorders as well.
But as we’ll see, each new study that produces findings like these is a big win for medical marijuana, getting us closer to the day when everyone everywhere who wants the relief only cannabis can provide is able to access it.
Medical Marijuana Could Help Relieve Millions of Anxiety, Depression Sufferers
Martin pointed out another reason why findings like these are so important. Millions of people suffer from these conditions, and yet pharmaceutical treatments are sometimes worse than the conditions themselves.
“Anxiety and depressive disorders are highly prevalent,” Martin told psychology website PsyPost. “Traditional antidepressants may effectively treat these disorders in a lot of people, but they do not work for everyone and can have unpleasant side effects.”
Indeed these conditions are common. Worldwide, more than thirty million people live with depression. As many as nine million Americans have generalized anxiety disorder. And the CDC estimates that “About 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep problems.”
Sadly, these widespread conditions don’t come with great pharmaceutical treatment options. Antidepressants, for example, can take months to produce results and are associated with numerous and significant side effects. Medical marijuana, on the other hand, can show antidepressant effects in mere moments and with fewer, and more tolerable, side effects.
So Why Yet Another Study to Support What We Already Knew?
We think findings like these are important for two reasons: First, they can help stimulate more marijuana research, and second, they can help spur political change to bring more relief to more people. Let’s start with the research issue.
Medical Marijuana Research is Stymied by Federal Law
Even though medical marijuana is legal in thirty-six states, and despite the growing body of evidence indicating its safety and efficacy, the federal government continues to recognize cannabis as a Schedule I drug, meaning it has “no currently accepted medical use” and a “high potential for abuse.” As a result, medical marijuana research is “bottlenecked because of limitations on studying the Cannabis sativa plant.”
But as we’ve seen, as medical marijuana research has begun to catch up to pharmaceutical studies, marijuana prohibitions nationwide have begun to relax, leading to more research. Hopefully, this positive research cycle will help offset the current “vicious cycle” under which marijuana studies currently are conducted, which brings us to the political benefit of marijuana studies that only support findings that have already been reported.
Cannabis Research’s “Vicious Cycle”
The relative lack of marijuana research as compared to pharmaceutical findings leads to what one scientist has called a “vicious cycle,” where medical progress becomes hampered by legislative bodies who buy into stigmas and fears. That’s another reason why cannabis studies verifying the results of earlier research are important politically.
By adding more and more evidence on top of what is already there, legislators may be inclined to be more supportive of medical marijuana.
The vicious cycle of cannabis studies and the need to break it in order to improve marijuana laws was described by Dr. Staci Gruber, a Harvard researcher and the head of the nonprofit Marijuana Investigations for Neurological Discoveries.
According to Dr. Gruber, lawmakers often turn to expert testimony to help them craft health and medicine related legislation. Unfortunately, due to the bottlenecked, limited nature of current cannabis research, scientists are often less comfortable making conclusive claims about medical marijuana than they are about much more widely researched pharmaceuticals.
So legislators want complete scientific proof before loosening marijuana prohibitions, but researchers need marijuana prohibitions loosened before they can find complete scientific proof.
And that’s the real big story here. We already knew medical marijuana can effectively treat depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. But the more times researchers verify findings like these, the more it will encourage more research. And the more research there is to support medical marijuana’s safety and efficacy, the more pressure there is on lawmakers in states without medical marijuana markets to get with the time, and for those with markets to expand access.
Speaking of Pressuring Legislators…
Unfortunately, Texas does not recognize depression, anxiety, or sleep disorders as qualifying conditions. However, if you have one of the recognized conditions, you can get medical marijuana and treat your depression or anxiety as an unintended benefit.
But what about people who suffer from depression or anxiety and none of the state’s recognized conditions? Why shouldn’t they also be entitled to a safe, natural, non-pharmaceutical treatment for their relief?
To those Texans, we say contact your legislators. Let them know about your conditions and struggles, and encourage them to expand the state’s Compassionate Use Program so that more Lone Star State residents can enjoy the relief of medical marijuana.
And if You Do Qualify for a Texas Marijuana Card, Why Not Get One Now?
If you don’t already have a Texas Marijuana Card, why not get one now?
One of the other encouraging findings of this study was that while there were statistically significant improvements in depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders for both groups, those test subjects who were new to cannabis showed the biggest leaps in those regards.
The findings showed that those participants who were already medical marijuana users entered the study with lower levels of anxiety and depression, better sleep quality, and better self-reported quality of life than did the nonusers, which may explain why the nonusers showed the most improvement.
So if you don’t already have your card, why not get it? You might benefit from medical marijuana more than many other patients! Reserve a medical marijuana evaluation online today with one of our doctors, and we’ll book an appointment for you just as soon as we’re cleared to.
You’ll meet with your new doctor virtually, using your smartphone or computer for a telemedicine appointment. Together you’ll discuss your qualifying condition and how you might benefit from medical marijuana, all without leaving your home. You’ll even save $25 off the cost of your evaluation!
Doctors Who Care.
Relief You Can Trust.
Helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.