FACT: Marijuana has been proven helpful for treating the symptoms of a variety of medical conditions. The body's endocannabinoid system may explain why.

For many seriously ill people, medical marijuana is the only medicine that relieves their pain and suffering, or treats symptoms of their medical condition, without debilitating side effects.

Marijuana’s medicinal benefits are incontrovertible, now proven by decades of peer-reviewed, controlled studies published in highly respected medical journals. Marijuana has been shown to alleviate symptoms of wide range of debilitating medical conditions including cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s Disease, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), epilepsy, Crohn’s Disease, and glaucoma, and is often an effective alternative to narcotic painkillers.

Evidence of marijuana’s efficacy in treating severe and intractable pain is particularly impressive. Researchers at the University of California conducted a decade of randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials on the medical utility of inhaled marijuana, concluding that marijuana should be a “first line treatment” for patients with painful neuropathy, who often do not respond to other available treatments.

Marijuana has been shown to be effective in reducing the nausea induced by cancer chemotherapy, stimulating appetite in AIDS patients, and reducing intraocular pressure in people with glaucoma. There is also appreciable evidence that marijuana reduces muscle spasticity in patients with neurological disorders. Marijuana has also been shown to help with mental health conditions, particularly PTSD. In 2013, both Maine and Oregon added PTSD to the list of conditions that qualifies for medical marijuana. A synthetic capsule is available by prescription, but it is not as effective as smoked marijuana for many patients. 

Our bodies contain a regulatory framework called the endocannabinoid system. This system is responsible for maintaining balance or homeostasis in the body. Some scientists theorize that a deficiency in the endocannabinoid system may contribute to certain diseases, such as Crohn’s disease, which may explain why the introduction of phyto-cannabinoids (from the marijuana plant) help alleviate the symptoms of these conditions. 

Although an overwhelming majority of Americans support medical marijuana, the federal government continues to impede state medical marijuana laws. Marijuana prohibition has also thwarted research within the United States to uncover the best and most effective uses for marijuana as a medicine, making efforts to reform medical marijuana laws particularly difficult. Learn more about medical marijuana.[7]