At the federal level, medical marijuana has only been approved to treat two disorders: Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Because medical marijuana has still not been approved at the federal level (33 states have legalized the use of medical marijuana), research has been limited. However, the DEA has initiated additional research on the use of medical marijuana for the treatment of diseases.
Preliminary research suggests that medical marijuana may reduce anxiety, reduce inflammation, reduce pain, slow some tumor growth, and, stimulate appetite and increase weight gain. It is also being studied in the treatment of chronic pain.
Recently, Epidiolex, which is derived from CBD was approved by the FDA for use in the treatment of seizure disorders.
Countries, such as Canada, have legalized the use of cannabis and are conducting research of the drug on Canadian patients, so there is a growing body of research from which physicians and practitioners can refer.
Organizations which have issued statements in support of the use of medical cannabis include the American Nurses Association, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Epilepsy Foundation and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
While research has been limited, cannabinoids have been found to exhibit anti-cancer effects in lab experiments and other studies have shown promise that cannabinoids have antitumor effects.
Medical marijuana prescribed by a physician and dispensed by a medical cannabis facility is tailored to different “formulas”. Some formulas are higher in CBD (cannabinoids) and other formulas are higher in the THC-component.
These separate formulas are particularly helpful for physicians and patients, as the patient can tailor their morning dosage to decrease side-effects, such as drowsiness, or the patient can start on a higher CBD formula, as they adjust to the use of medical marijuana.