Marijuana use is becoming more accepted in mainstream medical treatment, but where is it most useful? “Many patients find themselves in the situation of wanting to learn more about medical marijuana, but feel embarrassed to bring this up with their doctor,” says Peter Grinspoon, MD. “This is in part because the medical community has been, as a whole, overly dismissive of this issue. Doctors are now playing catch-up and trying to keep ahead of their patients’ knowledge on this issue. Other patients are already using medical marijuana, but don’t know how to tell their doctors about this for fear of being chided or criticized.” Here is the number one reason to smoke medical marijuana, according to experts. NOTE: Only consume the substance legally, and under the guidance of a doctor. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.

sad woman near window thinking

Medical marijuana can help with anxiety, but the correct dosage is key. “Effects of marijuana on anxiety disorders are complex,” says Susan A. Stoner, Ph.D. “The endocannabinoid system appears to play an important role in responses to stress and anxiety. The two primary active ingredients of marijuana, THC and CBD, appear to have differing effects with regard to anxiety. Pure THC appears to decrease anxiety at lower doses and increase anxiety at higher doses. On the other hand, pure CBD appears to decrease anxiety at all doses that have been tested.”

man sleeps peacefully in comfy sheets

Medical marijuana can be useful as a sleep aid, studies show. “Older adults tend to use it for physical ailments… Insomnia is another big one, too. Older people have a hard time sleeping, and there aren’t a lot of other safe options,” says Dr. Grinspoon.

Sad man sitting on a bed, girlfriend in the background.

The right dosage of marijuana can help with sexual issues, experts say. “I’ve had several patients come to me and say, ‘I have low libido. Can you help me? And, oh, by the way, if I use marijuana, I can orgasm, no problem,'” says Dr. Becky K. Lynn, sexual medicine and menopause expert and the founder of Evora Women’s Health in St. Louis. “They also tell me that low libido improves with marijuana.” 

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Marijuana can help ease symptoms of menopause, although more research is needed. “Midlife women within the menopause transition period of their life are using cannabis, and they’re using it for symptoms that tend to overlap with menopause,” says Katherine Babyn, a graduate student at the University of Alberta in Canada.

woman dealing with chronic pain at home

“The most common use for medical marijuana in the United States is for pain control,” says Dr. Grinspoon. “While marijuana isn’t strong enough for severe pain (for example, post-surgical pain or a broken bone), it is quite effective for the chronic pain that plagues millions of Americans, especially as they age. Part of its allure is that it is clearly safer than opiates (it is impossible to overdose on and far less addictive) and it can take the place of NSAIDs such as Advil or Aleve, if people can’t take them due to problems with their kidneys or ulcers or GERD… In particular, marijuana appears to ease the pain of multiple sclerosis, and nerve pain in general. This is an area where few other options exist, and those that do, such as Neurontin, Lyrica, or opiates are highly sedating. Patients claim that marijuana allows them to resume their previous activities without feeling completely out of it and disengaged.”

Ferozan Mast

Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more

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