Support for medical cannabis has spiked in recent years, thanks to new research that proves its therapeutic value for a range of medical conditions. In fact, it has been shown to lessen symptoms for a variety of severe complaints  including cancer, epilepsy and HIV/AIDS.

It’s essential to note that the FDA has not recognized or approved the marijuana plant as a form of medicine. However, physicians often prescribe medical cannabis as a treatment for certain ailments.

Read on to learn more about the various medical conditions with which marijuana may be able to assist.

The term medical marijuana refers to using the whole, unprocessed cannabis sativa plant or its natural compounds contained within it, such as CBD and THC.

Medical marijuana can be consumed in a variety of ways, including smoking, sprays, tinctures, edibles and topical ointments.

The latter is a recent method for managing chronic pain related to arthritis — a condition in which the immune system releases inflammatory proteins in the joints. Chemicals in the marijuana plant may help reduce the swelling associated with this ailment. While there are few human trials, one study found that topical application of CBD had the potential to relieve pain and inflammation associated with arthritis in rats.

If you’re considering cannabis for medical use, check your state’s regulations. You may qualify for a medical marijuana card if you meet certain requirements. For more ways that medical marijuana can improve the symptoms of various medical conditions, see the accompanying infographic created by Performance Card Service.