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  • D.H. Reilly

MUSC Student Leads Study Finding Medical Marijuana Treats Anxiety, Sleep Disorders

We’ve got three new reasons why you should get a South Carolina Marijuana Card just as soon as you can, and they come to us via a researcher from right here in the Palmetto State!

The peer reviewed journal Frontiers in Psychology recently published a study that found that medical marijuana may help treat depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. And the study’s lead researcher is a doctoral candidate at the Medical University of South Carolina, who, despite not having her PhD. yet, has already been the primary author on a number of scientific studies.

Soon-to-be-Doctor Erin Martin summarized her findings to the psychology and neurology website PsyPost by saying “Medicinal cannabis products, especially products high in CBD, may help to treat symptoms of depression, improve sleep, and increase quality of life.”

And those findings are great news, not just for people suffering from those conditions, but also for everyone who’d like to see medical marijuana access expanded!

Lack of Research Motivated New Study

Martin told PsyPost that her study was motivated by the relative lack of cannabis research in general and medical marijuana research specifically.

“People are increasingly using medicinal cannabis products, especially products high in CBD, to try to treat symptoms of anxiety and depression,” she said, “even though scientific research in this area is both limited and shows mixed results.”

“Mixed Results?” Hasn’t It Already Been Established that Medical Marijuana Can Treat These Conditions?

We’re glad you’ve been paying attention! Yes, we’ve already told you that medical marijuana can help treat sleep disorders. And yes, numerous studies have also found that it can help treat depression and anxiety.

But science demands high levels of certainty before researchers make conclusive statements about a medicine’s efficacy, and unfortunately there is very little marijuana research at all relative to the body of literature dedicated to various pharmaceuticals. Consequently, scientists are generally less willing to make conclusive statements about medical marijuana’s efficacy than they are about traditional medications.

And so knowing that innumerable Americans are using medical marijuana for these conditions, and that science isn’t settled on its efficacy for treating them despite the encouraging findings that are already out there, Martin and her team decided to put medical marijuana to the test once again.

“We conducted this study to determine if people that used medicinal cannabis products to treat symptoms of anxiety and depression reported improvement in these symptoms, as well as in other important areas like sleep and quality of life, relative to people that did not use medicinal cannabis,” she told PsyPost.

Study Author Notes Importance of Her Findings

While more marijuana research in general is needed, Martin noted that this study was especially important, because these conditions are so common, and yet patients often find current pharmaceutical treatment options to be unsatisfactory.

“Anxiety and depressive disorders are highly prevalent,” she said. “Traditional antidepressants may effectively treat these disorders in a lot of people, but they do not work for everyone and can have unpleasant side effects.”

Anxiety and Depression are Common, as is Patient Dissatisfaction with Pharmaceuticals

Martin wasn’t exaggerating when she called anxiety and depression “highly prevalent.” In fact, worldwide there are more than thirty million people suffering from depression. And here at home, as many as nine million Americans are living with generalized anxiety disorder, and the CDC reports that about 70 million Americans have chronic sleep issues.

As for traditional antidepressants, they can take months to show results, and often come with a host of negative side effects. That’s millions of people struggling with conditions that can be effectively treated with medical marijuana, and fighting to endure unwanted pharmaceutical side effects when cannabis’ side effects are much more mild and better tolerated.

And that’s why studies such as Martin’s are so important, even when they only confirm findings from earlier studies. With each new confirmation of medical marijuana’s safety and efficacy, we get closer to breaking up what has been described as the “bottleneck” in cannabis research, which in turn could lead to more and more legislators embracing making medical marijuana more accessible.

Federal Law “Bottlenecks” Marijuana Research

Despite the growing body of scientific evidence showing that medical marijuana is safe and effective, and even though it is legal in thirty-six states, the federal government still considers cannabis a Schedule I drug. That means Uncle Sam thinks it has “no currently accepted medical use” and a “high potential for abuse.”

Consequently, there are legal obstacles for researchers who choose to study marijuana, and so that limits the number of studies dedicated to the medicine. In the words of Harvard researcher Dr. Staci Gruber, cannabis research is “bottlenecked because of limitations on studying the Cannabis sativa plant.”

Gruber told Discover Magazine that lawmakers usually want impeccably conclusive findings regarding medical marijuana before they’ll act to ease marijuana restrictions. But thanks to the legal impediments to cannabis studies, scientists are often unable to give legislators that kind of full-throated endorsement to medical marijuana.

And that’s why studies like Martin’s—studies that only reaffirm what other researchers have found—are so important. As the body of medical marijuana literature approaches the size of pharmaceutical studies, scientists, and therefore legislators, are more and more likely to accept that medical marijuana is a safe, effective treatment for numerous conditions.

What Can You Do to Support Medical Marijuana in South Carolina?

First, let your lawmakers know that you support medical marijuana, and let them know it’s because of studies like Martin’s. The more that lawmakers hear from scientists and patients alike that they believe in the medical value of cannabis, the sooner legislators will have to act.

And second, reserve a medical marijuana evaluation online today with one of our knowledgeable, compassionate doctors, and we’ll set you up with an appointment just as soon as South Carolina’s medical marijuana market is open for business.

You’ll meet with your doctor virtually, using your smartphone or computer for a telemedicine appointment. Together you’ll discuss your medical history and conditions, and whether medical marijuana might be right for you, all without even leaving your home! You’ll even save $25 off the cost of your evaluation!


Doctors Who Care.

Relief You Can Trust.

South Carolina Marijuana Card’s mission is to help everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.

If you have any questions, call us at (833) 781-6670, or simply reserve an appointment to start getting relief you can trust today!

Check outSouth Carolina Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information!

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