What Conditions Can Medical Marijuana Help?

Medical Marijuana

With several states in the U.S. having legalized the medical and recreational uses of marijuana in recent years, many people are relieved, while just as many others continue to warn of its danger. The divisiveness about this topic makes it very difficult to separate facts from myths, despite increasing reports about the benefits of using medical marijuana products to offset symptoms of certain mental or physical health conditions.

To help clarify the confusion and as a way to continue opening up the dialogue around the pros and cons of marijuana use, Dr. Rebecca Siegel, a psychiatrist with Amen Clinics New York, has written an engaging and informative book entitled, The Brain on Cannabis: What You Should Know about Recreational and Medical Marijuana. As a certified prescriber of medical marijuana, Dr. Siegel has witnessed the positive response many of her patients have had with it when traditional treatments have failed them.

Along with key educational, including that marijuana is made from the dried flowers and leaves of the cannabis sativa plant, Dr. Siegel addresses almost any question the reader might have on this topic. In addition, she includes a captivating look at the historical journey cannabis has made through diverse cultures over the course of human history.

The Surprising History of Medical Marijuana

Most people aren’t aware that the medicinal use of cannabis did not evolve with the decriminalization of marijuana in recent years. Rather, this plant and its derivatives have been utilized throughout much of human history.

In her book, Dr. Siegel weaves together a fascinating timeline going back 6,000 years when cannabis was known to have been a farm crop. In 2737 B.C., China’s Emperor Shen Neng recognized its efficacy as medicine and permitted it to be used for hundreds of ailments, including malaria, gout, pain, and rheumatism. Eventually, cannabis was utilized in many other cultures as well for a variety of problems, ranging from nausea and coughs to tumors, jaundice, and more.

During the 1700s in what is now the U.S., certain health problems were treated with the seeds and roots of the hemp plant. Through the early part of the 1900s, cannabis was medically endorsed for many health issues, including incontinence, inflammation of the skin, and labor pains. Its wide-ranging acceptability was such that it could even be ordered through the Sears, Roebuck, and Co. catalog!

Well…that is until the tide turned in response to an increase of opiate and cocaine addictions in the U.S. (both substances were also legal at the time) and the hammer came down as laws changed. Subsequently, the use of cannabis for medicinal or other purposes became a crime.

The ensuing hysteria was well characterized in the fear-mongering 1936 film, Reefer Madness, as public attitudes made a dramatic U-turn in the forthcoming decades. The perception became that marijuana use was relegated to hippies and stoners who followed the Grateful Dead.

Health Conditions that May Benefit from Medical Marijuana

Now in 2021, while the unflattering stereotype remains in the minds of many, the use of medical marijuana has slowly gained traction again. Clinical experience and ongoing research show promising discoveries about its potential to provide relief of symptoms caused by a variety of health problems. These include:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
  • Chronic pain and nerve pain
  • Epilepsy
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Spasticity from spinal cord injury

Dr. Siegel also cautions that although medical marijuana can help to alleviate certain symptoms and improve patients’ quality of life, any long-term consequences of it remain unknown at this time.

Although medical marijuana can help to alleviate certain symptoms and improve patients’ quality of life, any long-term consequences of it remain unknown at this time. Click To Tweet

Marijuana: Caution Required

To be very clear, Dr. Siegel does not endorse the recreational use of marijuana for several reasons. As a physician, she recognizes the potential short-term consequences, such as mood changes, cognitive difficulties, and the possibility of psychosis as well as the long-term risks like impaired brain function and the risk for lung disease.

Throughout The Brain on Cannabis, Dr. Siegel uses a straightforward approach to address this complex topic. In the process, she provides many details and facts that help to educate readers so that they can make informed choices for their own life when it comes to using marijuana or not.

If you’re seeking validated information about the benefits and risks of marijuana, Rebecca Siegel, MD, a psychiatrist and certified prescriber of medical marijuana has written a comprehensive guide that addresses both sides of this issue. With a relatable style and easy-to-understand language, The Brain on Cannabis: What You Should Know about Recreational and Medical Marijuana untangles the confusion around the ever-evolving discussions on marijuana and its appropriate uses. Click here to order your copy now.


  1. I have been trying medical MJ since last December but am not able to report any positive results. I do not like the way my head feels and it does not help my pain.

    Comment by barbara f pereyra — October 1, 2021 @ 4:59 AM

  2. Marijauna is not good for individuals with Largino Esphogeal Reflux

    Comment by Devon — October 1, 2021 @ 5:01 AM

  3. As the victim of 5 car accidents with a lumbar injury x2, TBI diagnosed by the Atlanta Amen Clinic, migraines, and Fibromyalgia, I’ve been trying to find help for my pain etc for the last 27 years. Dr Amen said during a talk that smoking marijuana cuts of oxygen to the brain but edibles would be ok. I haven’t found the gummies to help with my pain, only sleep. Are there any other suggestions? Thank you.

    Comment by Wendy — October 1, 2021 @ 5:17 AM

  4. What about bipolar anxiety and depression?

    Comment by Lorraine Gunst — October 1, 2021 @ 5:34 AM

  5. I am interested in looking back to a post that Dr. Amen had on how marijuana caused damage to the temporal lobes of the brain as compared to alcohol with the cerebral cortex damage as seen on scan. Is this still true?

    Comment by Margaret J McKivergin — October 1, 2021 @ 6:29 AM

  6. Thanks so much for this information. I have debated this issue for years. I am 78 years old and not a retired hippie. lol. I appreciate the fact that I can discuss the issue now with medical back up.

    Comment by Sue Conley — October 1, 2021 @ 7:08 AM

  7. Is it good or bad for brain injuries?

    Comment by Tim — October 1, 2021 @ 7:08 AM


    Comment by margaret dill — October 1, 2021 @ 8:07 AM

  9. I found THC-RICH tincture using 10-20 drops in a poltice of Orange Metamucil effective for pain relief in two tooth extractions. DC

    Comment by Charles Close — October 1, 2021 @ 8:53 AM

  10. What is the verdict on gummies with thc for insomnia. I take about 10mg.
    Prescription drugs have bad side effects or don’t work.

    Comment by Debra — October 1, 2021 @ 9:07 AM

  11. Is this article a deviation from your previous position that Marijuana damages brain cells?

    Comment by Sima Bakva — October 1, 2021 @ 9:53 AM

  12. I’d love to see long-term marijuana users/Amen Clinic brain scan participants agree to be part a study (with full disclosure of who funds the research). I trust any research that comes out of this facility since brain health is the primary focus. Thank you for the consideration!

    Comment by Shea — October 1, 2021 @ 12:15 PM

  13. I have had such difficulty getting enough sleep..this has been going on for years..now I am taking Tylenol pm, but would prefer something other than drugs. Also, I take i/2 dose otherwise I am so groggy in the morning I cannot function. Also, I am not remembering dreams which troubles me, I wonder if it is the tylanol, and if Cannibus would help or hinder dream remenbering.

    Comment by Arlene Williamson — October 1, 2021 @ 6:08 PM

  14. Hello Margaret, thank you for reaching out. Here is the previous article related to our published research study on marijuana: https://amenclinics.com/blog/amen-research-marijuana-affects-blood-flow-brain/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — October 1, 2021 @ 7:10 PM

  15. I have a very serious TBI and i really need to know if it will damage my Brain further if i use it instead of keppra for epilepsy

    Comment by Deborah — October 2, 2021 @ 2:32 AM

  16. I’ve been smoking sativa for years and it helps me concentrate and get my reading and test completed. It also helps me get on my feet when I’m suffering from arthritis. I wouldn’t be able to work two jobs without it. And I love the way it makes me happy.
    Sincerely Camaro Caro

    Comment by Carol Miller — October 2, 2021 @ 3:23 AM

  17. I have depression, mood swings, spinal stenosis, and no appetite. With cannabis I’m trying to get off opiates. So far so good

    Comment by Laura — October 2, 2021 @ 3:42 AM

  18. Thank you for another interesting article.

    Comment by Timothy Lee — October 2, 2021 @ 5:44 AM

  19. While legalized marijuana here in DC doesn’t seem to have had as significant an impact on teens (access/usage though illegal for them – it was just so pervasive/accessible already); I appreciate that it has been WONDERFULLY helpful per pain & help with hunger per some cancer patients with whom I’ve worked.

    Comment by James — October 2, 2021 @ 6:50 AM

  20. I have used it in the past for pain and sleep from lyme disease . It worked wonderfully. I used 10 mg micro dose gummies.

    Comment by Lisa Overstreet-Capuano — October 2, 2021 @ 7:34 AM

  21. Multiple Sclerosis spasms make it hard for people to eat without being hurt.
    Pot is better than pills & alcohol. ” if they can take the high out of it and put it in pill form they would let me take it”. (20 years ago ) my husband’s words.

    Comment by Becky Glover — October 2, 2021 @ 7:42 AM

  22. I’ve had a stroke, I also have bone density problems. Marijuana is the only way I can relax enough to sleep because I am not a fan of pain pills. I am ex Air Force and I was totally against it for years until my chronic pain started. Pain pills made me sick and addicted. MJ does not. I was also hospitalized for insomnia, that’s no longer a problem. I only do it at night before bed. It is a definite help. I’m not against it at all. The positive out weighs the negative in my case.

    Comment by Daryll Rosado — October 2, 2021 @ 8:28 AM

  23. I also fully trust the Amen Clinics information on the brain and cannabis, having quoted it often during my professional life as a substance abuse counselor and educator. I see something missing here in the information about “medical marijuana” and that is the facts about THC content versus CBD content–THC being the hallucinogenic property (that affects the brain) and CBD being the medical property in marijuana. True medical grade marijuana would have little to zero THC content and high CBD content but I don’t see many folks separating the two facts in marijuana legalization discussions. My understanding is that “smoking pot” for medical issues is not true “medical use” of marijuana and an entirely different topic that needs addressing separately on the basis of the benefits of CBD vs negatives of THC……. Complicated and often misunderstood topic.

    Comment by Martha Steiner, MS, MAC, CDC II — October 2, 2021 @ 8:40 AM

  24. To the pain sufferers:
    I have found red/near infrared light helpful for my chronic back pain without the cognitive effects of thc. Cbd oil was ineffective as well. I also use H2 water and a liposomal herb mixture both of which seem to help.

    Comment by Edward Chastka — October 2, 2021 @ 9:13 AM

  25. What is your thoughts on pot for bipolar my daughter has adhd gen anxiety Newky diagnosed bipolar 1 & ptsd. Currently on olanzapine and gabapentin. Her Psychiatrist is set against it. But she feels it helps her. She wants to get a green card. Any feedback would be appreciated thx

    Comment by Raina — October 2, 2021 @ 9:50 AM

  26. I smoked a lot of marijuana after waking up from a coma. It helped me recover much faster. I did not take any prescription drugs even though I awoke a quadriplegic. Street marijuana was the main drug that helped me heal.

    Comment by Darryl Sequeira — October 2, 2021 @ 5:45 PM

  27. For those seeking to beat inmsomnia , I am taking Vit. B 12. At bed time, 1000mg. It works for me !

    Comment by Ec from Florida — October 3, 2021 @ 8:13 AM

  28. Would like to participate

    Comment by Belinda mercer — October 4, 2021 @ 6:21 AM

  29. Hello Deborah, thank you for reaching out. Each brain is unique, therefore each treatment plan is unique. Amen Clinics currently has 9 locations: https://amenclinics.com/locations/. For more information about scheduling, please contact our Care Coordinators: https://amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — October 4, 2021 @ 3:51 PM

  30. “A convergence of evidence shows that use of Cannabis sativa is associated with increased risk of developing psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia, and earlier age at which psychotic symptoms first manifest. Cannabis exposure during adolescence is most strongly associated with the onset of psychosis amongst those who are particularly vulnerable, such as those who have been exposed to child abuse and those with family histories of schizophrenia.”

    Comment by Kathy — October 4, 2021 @ 6:02 PM

  31. If CBD has been in use for 6000 years how can we still not know the long term effects?

    Comment by Kathy — October 4, 2021 @ 6:14 PM

  32. High quality Copaiba essential oil has more effective properties than medical marijuana without the effects on the Brain!

    Comment by Alicia Baughman — October 4, 2021 @ 10:59 PM

  33. My experience with marijuana in college was that it caused panic attacks and paranoia. And weight gain because it makes me soooo hungry. I will never try it again. Gabapentine has worked wonders for me with nerve pain, especially migraines.

    Comment by Sharon Jones — October 5, 2021 @ 1:49 AM

  34. It was very informative to know that medical marijuana can be a way to alleviate pain caused by cancer. My friend’s mother has cancer and I’m trying to educate myself on several facts so that I can support my friend better. I’ll make sure to recommend him to see a medical marijuana doctor for consultation.

    Comment by Luke Smith — December 26, 2021 @ 8:48 PM

  35. Phew! You don’t even know how relieved I am as soon as you told us that medical marijuana is great in alleviating nerve discomfort. My cousin has been experiencing a similar occurrence since last week. In my opinion, it would be better if he consults a doctor first so he’ll take the right medicine afterwards.

    Comment by Amy Saunders — February 6, 2022 @ 6:05 AM

  36. I have been making my own edibles and I started “micro dosing” in an attempt to relieve anxiety and feel happy and calm. It has been working quite well. It also seems to help me focus a little better (ADHD) I would be happy to be a test subject if Dr Amen were to do a study.

    Comment by Wendi Poole — March 4, 2022 @ 2:58 PM

  37. It is interesting that medical marijuana can help with arthritis. My mom has severe arthritis in her hands. I’ll suggest she look into getting medical marijuana from a good doctor.

    Comment by Charlotte Fleet — April 27, 2022 @ 4:21 PM

  38. The best part of your blog for me is when you said that marijuana has the potential to provide relief from medical problems like epilepsy and chronic pains. This sounds like a good deal for me because I have been suffering from epilepsy for the past decade. Also, I have been dealing with multiple sclerosis for the past four months, so I will surely see a professional to acquire a medical cannabis card.

    Comment by Shammy Peterson — May 4, 2022 @ 1:42 PM

  39. It sure was helpful when you said that chronic pain and nerve pains could be treated by marijuana based on the clinical experience and ongoing research done. This is something that I will share with a close friend of mine who has been suffering from chronic low back pains since he had an auto accident 5 months ago. He wants to be free from the pains and be able to do exercises and outdoor activities with ease again.

    Comment by Ava Murphy — May 23, 2022 @ 2:31 PM

  40. What caught my attention was when you said that Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, PTSD, and other diseases could benefit from the use of medical marijuana. I will ask my best friend to consider this because he wanted to consider an MMJ service next week. He has been suffering from multiple sclerosis. For the past two years, he has been unable to go on trips because of his condition.

    Comment by Jeana Hughes — May 31, 2022 @ 12:16 AM

  41. I found it interesting when you said that the use of medical marijuana has gained traction again in 2021. As you said, it could help you with arthritis and epilepsy. This is something that I will share with a friend whose daughter has been suffering from epilepsy. She wanted to find a holistic treatment for her, so I will ask her to consider getting a cannabis card for her.

    Comment by Kia Netherland — June 2, 2022 @ 5:12 PM

  42. Really depends on how you administer cannabis. If you smoke there are downsides. Topical can work if the quality is higher, but edibles are the best way for me to take it. It helps with pain, lack of focus, and even helps with my anxiety. Sativa is more thinking, but indica will make me really sleepy and a bit munchie for a snack. I try to stay away from that one. CBG really helps when it’s added in. My pain goes away and I can think and function. It’s amazing!
    You have to find a good company and a good formula for YOU! Takes a while but with some trial & error you can get the right strain and edibles to help your condition.

    Comment by Dawn — June 13, 2022 @ 5:36 PM

  43. Thanks for mentioning that recreational marijuana is not usually recommended. My doctor has prescribed medical marijuana for me, but I'm a little nervous to start taking it. this article helped me feel more confident knowing the benefits it will have on my specific condition. http://fardotter.com/

    Comment by Eve Mitchell — June 28, 2023 @ 10:24 AM

  44. Thanks for sharing this amazing post! It's important to approach medical marijuana use with caution and under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Regulations and legal status vary by location, and the potential side effects and interactions with other medications should be carefully considered. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider to determine if medical marijuana is an appropriate and safe option for a specific medical condition.

    Comment by Jason Harvey — December 4, 2023 @ 6:22 AM

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