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  • Christopher D.

Arkansas Patients Reaping Long-Term Benefits of Medical Marijuana


For many debilitated Arkansas residents suffering from a variety of approved qualifying conditions, accessing the state's legal medical marijuana program has provided profound and sustained improvements to their overall quality of life. A newly published study from researchers at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine reinforces this finding - that patients able to use medical marijuana report meaningful positive impacts on their physical, emotional and social well-being that endure over time.


The comprehensive 90-day analysis focused specifically on patients enrolled in Pennsylvania's medical marijuana program. However, its core findings align with the experiences being shared by an increasing number of Arkansans who have gained access to regulated marijuana products to help manage their chronic health issues.


Long-Lasting Relief and Wellness Gains  

To conduct their quality of life assessment, the research team recruited patients who had obtained a physician's approval to use medical marijuana through the Pennsylvania program. Over the course of three months, participants periodically completed surveys designed to measure any improvements or setbacks across various aspects of their health and daily functioning.


According to the results, many of the patients experienced significant benefits within just the first 30 days of beginning medical marijuana treatment:


  • 40% reduction in reported pain levels

  • 45% decrease in fatigue and energy drain

  • 32% improvement in social and physical functioning abilities 

  • 26% boost in emotional well-being scores


Perhaps most impressively, the study found that these substantive quality of life gains were sustained consistently throughout the entire 90-day observation period. In fact, the authors noted some slight continued improvements in certain areas like emotional health over the longer term.


"It's clear from our findings that when administered safely and responsibly, medical marijuana has strong potential to significantly improve an individual's overall quality of life across multiple domains," said Dr. Sarah Kelley, the study's lead researcher. "Participants reported both rapid and lasting positive impacts on their health and daily functionality that persisted for the duration."   


Why Medical Marijuana Provides Relief  

So what exactly is it about using medical marijuana that seems to provide such impactful, long-lasting symptom relief and wellness enhancement for patients? According to experts, a few key factors unique to marijuana likely drive the observed benefits:


  • Diverse Therapeutic Effects - Unlike conventional pharmaceutical drugs designed to target specific conditions, marijuana's complex chemical makeup and mechanisms produce a broader range of therapeutic effects that can simultaneously address different symptoms like pain, nausea, anxiety, inflammation and insomnia.  

  • Ability to Microdose - With medical marijuana's flexible delivery methods and product formulations, patients can carefully control and adjust their consumption levels to find the optimal individualized dose. This allows maximizing benefits while limiting potential side effects.

  • Synergistic Benefits - The various active compounds in marijuana like THC and CBD work in synergy to produce an "entourage effect" that amplifies efficacy compared to using isolated components. This biochemical harmony is difficult to replicate synthetically.    

  • Improved Bodily Function - Medical marijuana's proven ability to restore bodily functions like appetite, sleep cycles, muscle control and mood regulation helps treat both primary conditions and associated secondary symptoms.


Of course, access to medical marijuana alone isn't a panacea. Patients also frequently cite other key benefits like gaining legal protections, safe access to consistent products, and personalized care from specialized providers that collectively contribute to an elevated quality of life.   


Arkansas' Approved Qualifying Conditions

While research shows marijuana can help treat a wide range of ailments like depression, anxiety disorders and insomnia, Arkansas' current medical marijuana program only covers patients suffering from a limited list of 18 qualifying conditions.  


These approved conditions considered legitimate qualifying cases for doctor recommendation and legal treatment with medical marijuana in Arkansas currently include:


  • Cancer

  • Crohn's Disease

  • Tourette's Syndrome  

  • Positive Status for HIV/AIDS

  • PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

  • Severe Arthritis

  • Peripheral Neuropathy

  • Intractable Pain 

  • Alzheimer's Disease

  • Severe Muscle Spasticity 

  • Cachexia/Wasting Syndrome

  • Glaucoma

  • Hepatitis C

  • Severe Nausea

  • Seizures/Severe & Persistent Muscle Spasms

  • Severe & Intractable Symptoms of Certain Conditions


With proposals to expand the list further under consideration, more Arkansas residents will gain access to alternative treatment options through the state's medical marijuana program.


Why Get an Arkansas Medical Marijuana Card?

In Arkansas, patients with approved medical conditions can significantly benefit from obtaining a state-issued medical marijuana card. This card offers legal protection against arrest and penalties for marijuana use within state guidelines and ensures access to safe, regulated products from licensed dispensaries. 


The card also exempts patients from the taxes applied to recreational marijuana, making medical use more affordable. Plus, it facilitates specialized care from medical providers and dispensary staff who guide patients in integrating marijuana into their treatment plans. The $50 annual card fee is offset by the advantages of treatment efficacy, legal safety, tax savings, and overall cost-effectiveness compared to other medications.


Caregiver Susan Brooks notes the life-changing benefits for her clients, including regained independence and relief from legal concerns, highlighting the card's value in enhancing patients' quality of life.


Maintaining Forward Momentum in Arkansas  

As stories of the real-life benefits of legal medical marijuana gain traction, it's anticipated that public pressure on Arkansas legislators will intensify to both broaden the list of eligible conditions and enhance access to the program. Since its inception in 2019, the program has shown considerable promise, with many patients reporting significant improvements from marijuana treatments, further cementing its status as a viable medical alternative.


Dr. Jason Russell, Director of the national Patient Access Alliance, emphasizes that with proper oversight, sensible regulations, and extensive patient education, Arkansas' program demonstrates the potential of medical marijuana to provide safe and effective relief for those not adequately served by conventional medicine. Positive outcomes from patients not only help to reduce stigma but also fuel momentum for progressive reforms, similar to those seen in other states.


Future efforts by advocates and officials are expected to push for the inclusion of more conditions eligible for treatment, as well as initiatives aimed at making medical marijuana more accessible and affordable. These include permitting patient cultivation, lowering taxes and costs, expanding research collaborations, enhancing dispensary access in rural areas, and developing stronger social equity measures.


Although challenges persist at the federal level regarding marijuana's classification and legality, there's a growing consensus across party lines at the state level towards facilitating access for medically justified use. With ongoing positive research into the impact on patients' quality of life, Arkansas' medical marijuana program is poised for further development and refinement going forward.


Get Your Medical Marijuana Card Today!

Medical marijuana is legal in Arkansas, and we can help you renew your medical card TODAY! If you qualify for your renewal, give us a call and we can help!


You need your medical card to access any of Arkansas’ medical dispensaries. Not to worry, because it is now easier than ever to renew your card with Arkansas Marijuana Card!


Telemedicine makes it easy for you to renew your card from the comfort of your own home!

Schedule an appointment with one of our physicians to get started today!


 

  Doctors Who Care

Relief You Can Trust


Here at Arkansas Marijuana Card, we aim to help everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.


Call us at (844)-249-8714 today, or book an appointment here.

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