Research on medical cannabis seems to be moving ahead by leaps and bounds. There have been so many recent discoveries in the field, it’s almost impossible not be excited about the promises cannabis research holds.
What else will be discovered about medical cannabis? Some great news arrived in 2016 and 2017, but it looks like there will be even more to come. Here are just a few of the studies happening right now.
Treatment of Neuropathic Low Back Pain
Back pain is common and often difficult to treat. Some patients may have a clear cause, such as an injury or poor posture. Others may not have an identifiable cause but experience pain nonetheless. In fact, low back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
Medical marijuana is reported to be an effective painkiller, making it a potential treatment option.
Neuropathic low back pain is difficult to treat, much like other nerve pain. Research on medical cannabis in medical forms is happening right now at the University of California’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research.
The research study is a randomized trial, so the results should give good insight into how effective medical marijuana is when it comes to treating this form of back pain in the population at large.
Tests on HIV Neuropathic Pain
This is another study from the University of California’s CMCR. Under investigation is the effect of medical marijuana and endocannabinoids on neuropathic pain in HIV patients.
This is a long-term study seeking to discover more about how acute cannabis administration affects HIV patients living with neuropathic pain. Since this is a major cause of disability among HIV-positive persons, this study could determine whether cannabis is a safe and effective long-term treatment.
It’s already known cannabis stops HIV from replicating. If it can also relieve neuropathic pain, it may become one of the most effective tools modern medicine has for treating HIV.
Cannabis Use and Bipolar Treatment
This study isn’t underway just yet, but it is one area researchers are turning their attention to. Previous research on medical cannabis has suggested it may be effective for treating a number of different mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, and ADHD.
Bipolar disorder is another relatively common mental health condition. Many bipolar patients already self-medicate with cannabis, and they report it helps them. This study would investigate whether these self-reports have any neurobiological basis in reality. If they do, it’s possible there may soon be new treatments for those with bipolar disorder.
Another study at the University of British Columbia is also investigating the effects of cannabis use on bipolar disorder.
Cannabis as a Treatment for Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is another mental health condition, although it seems to be an inherited disorder and is marked by large changes in the brain structure, unlike some of the other conditions mentioned here.
Nonetheless, researchers are now investigating the use of cannabis and cannabinoids as part of a treatment for schizophrenia. One current study is a four-week trial in Germany, while another is being conducted in the United States.
Ongoing Research in Other Areas
Research on medical cannabis can’t stop with one or two studies showing cannabis does or doesn’t have an effect on a particular health condition. Like any other area of investigation, researchers follow up with more in-depth studies. They want to be able to repeat the results to better determine whether cannabis really does have this effect.
Research continues in the areas of chronic pain, PTSD, depression, ADHD, HIV, cancer treatment, epilepsy, dementia and Alzheimer’s, and so much more. Over time, research on medical cannabis will shed light on what this medicine might be able to do.