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Legalizing Weed: 4 Most Overstated Health Benefits Credited to Medical Marijuana and Cannabinoids

By    |   Saturday, 07 November 2015 10:25 PM

Proponents of legalizing weed for medical purposes point to benefits that have been portrayed as near-miraculous and individual stories of marijuana being at least helpful in managing symptoms of various diseases. However, some skeptical voices say those claims have little science to back them up.

The New York Times noted that marijuana
is still largely illegal, and getting access to it for research is tightly controlled.

Here are four health benefits to marijuana and its cannabinoid compounds that critics claim are overstated:

Urgent: Should Marijuana Be Legalized in All States?

1. Seizure Control
Marijuana, and in particular a non-psychoactive compound in it, are credited with calming anxiety, seizures and other abnormal body movements that characterize diseases such as Huntington’s disease, Tourette syndrome, and epilepsy. However, the American Academy of Neurology said side effects are potentially too dangerous to be worth the benefit. The Academy specifically mentioned mood change and suicidal thoughts, already a danger to patients with multiple sclerosis. Though medical marijuana in pill or oral spray form helped with some symptoms of MS, “in general, medical marijuana is prescribed as a treatment for use only when standard treatment has not helped,” AAN said.

2. Arthritis Pain Management
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis qualified for marijuana treatment in three states as of mid-2014, The New York Times reported. However, the paper quoted Dr. Mary-Ann Fitzcharles, a pain specialist at McGill University in Toronto, as saying there was “zero evidence” that marijuana in herbal form worked. “Unfortunately this is being driven by regulatory authorities, not by sound clinical judgment,” she told the paper.

3. Glaucoma Treatment
Stories of medical marijuana’s effectiveness in reducing the internal fluid pressure of the eye have been extensively documented in recent years, but the American Glaucoma Society is not convinced. The drug lowers eye pressure, the Society said, but only for a few hours at a time and the side effects of marijuana mean that repeated use of it would mean the patient was in no condition to drive or perform many other tasks of daily life. Daily eye drops are more practical, the Society said. Of more concern, according to the Society, is that marijuana’s effect of lowering blood pressure might reduce blood supply to the optic nerve and lowered blood supply is thought to be another contributing factor to glaucoma.

Vote Now: How Do You Feel About Marijuana Legalization?

4. Cancer Pain Management
Though there’s much evidence that medical marijuana has short-term benefits for patients suffering from nausea and loss of appetite that are side effects of cancer chemotherapy, recently developed drugs might be even better at that, according to Scientific American, “so marijuana is not considered a first-line treatment for these symptoms.”

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Proponents of legalizing weed for medical purposes point to benefits that have been portrayed as near-miraculous. However, some skeptical voices say those claims have little science to back them up.
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Saturday, 07 November 2015 10:25 PM
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