The Gittens Clinic - November 2019





Medical cannabis has been a topic of discussion for decades. The conversations typically revolve around questions like“Has its effectiveness been proven? What conditions is it useful for? Is it addictive?”As of late, with 29 states legalizing its use, more research has been brought to light to answer these pending questions. Here are some of the recently proven benefits of medical marijuana. Muscle Spasms A recent study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that cannabis can treat a variety of muscle spasms, including multiple sclerosis and diaphragm spasms. It’s especially helpful for those suffering from diaphragm spasms, as other prescribed medications show few benefits. Lung Capacity One of the common concerns with smoking anything is the damage done to lung capacity. A study conducted by the American Medical Association found that marijuana does not impair lung function. In fact, it may even increase lung capacity. When looking into risk factors for heart disease, researchers tested the lung function of over 5,000 young adults over 20 years. Tobacco smokers lost lung function over time; however, cannabis users showed an increase in lung capacity. Seizures In a study published just a couple years ago by the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found how medicinal marijuana can help victims of Dravet syndrome. In a double-blind trial, they took 120 children and young adults and studied the effects marijuana had on half of the control group. What they had found was that patients’seizures decreased from 12.4 to 5.9 per month with cannabidiol. They even found that 43% of the patients who used cannabidiol had at least a 50% reduction in seizures. In fact, 5% became completely seizure-free. Pain While it’s not recommended for severe pain, like from a broken bone or post- surgery, it is highly effective for chronic illnesses. The biggest draw of using cannabis is that it’s much less risky than using opiates — it’s far less addictive and impossible to overdose on. It can also replace the need for nonsteroidal anti- inflammatory drugs like Advil or Aleve. Marijuana is an excellent replacement for these drugs, especially for those with kidney, ulcer, or GERD issues.

Cannabis is shown to help treat multiple sclerosis

and nerve pain in general. These are issues where few treatment options exist, and the available options, like Neurontin and Lyrica, are highly sedative. Patients who have made the transition

to cannabis claim that it enables them to resume their general activities without feeling wholly disengaged.

While patients can see significant improvement in chronic pain, seizures, and muscle spasms, those are just some of the benefits. Doctors have also recorded improvements in patients with fibromyalgia, endometriosis, and interstitial cystitis. Since the increase of cannabis legalization, the CDC investigated its risk of addiction, which is a concern for many. The CDC found that only one in 10 individuals become addicted, while the Journal of Harm Reduction found that it does not hinder the success of patients in drug rehabilitation. If you have

any further questions or concerns about the benefits of medicinal cannabis, feel free to call anytime at 1-833-448-8367 or visit our Stuart, Miami, or Palm Beach Gardens offices.

-Dr. Carl Gittens


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