Benefits of Marijuana
The medicinal benefits of marijuana were known to humans long before the modern era. For almost 5000 years mankind has been using weed to treat malaria, rheumatism, gout, absent-mindedness, and especially inflammation. The herb’s medicinal value throughout the ages is mostly linked to its psychoactive properties, which is also what fueled the war on cannabis in most of the world oddly enough.
Eventually, the use of cannabis spread from China into India, and from there to Arabia and North Africa. From what we know, it reached Europe as early as 500AD. The benefits of marijuana as medicine were written in the United States Pharmacopeia from 1850 right up to 1942. It was mostly prescribed in the U.S. for medical conditions such as rheumatism, nausea, and labour pain.
Then, all of a sudden it was decided that marijuana was evil, and with that came prohibition. This in turn erased marijuana from the list of proven and effective medicines and rescheduled it to the same category as heroin. It was also villainized and removed from pharmacological literature claiming its medicinal value.
After decades of bad press and the resulting bad image, it’s no wonder some people may raise their eyebrows when you tell them about the medicinal value of weed. Now with new research and more involved pharma industry, the stigma is starting to disappear. People see it as medicine now, especially when they see grandma taking CBD for her arthritis.
Below we will discuss some of the benefits of cannabis you probably didn’t know about.
1. Stops the Spreading of Cancer Cells
Cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabinoid found in abundance in some strains of marijuana has the ability to inhibit cancer spread by turning off a gene called LD-1.
A California study done by researchers at Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco experimented with breast cancer cells in patients with high levels of LD-1 — and gave them CBD.
The results showed that CBD reduced the spread of cancer cells by reducing the concentrations of LD-1 genes in the cancer cells.
In fact, the American Association for Cancer Research claims that both THC and CBD in cannabis can significantly slow down tumour growth in the lungs, brain, and breast.
2. Prevents Alzheimer’s Disease
THC, the most prevalent cannabinoid in most modern marijuana and also the psychoactive constituent, slows the progression of Alzheimer’s. It can even prevent the disease as shown by a study conducted by Kim Janda of the Scripps Research Institute.
THC can help block the formation of amyloid plaques by blocking the enzyme responsible for their production. These plaques are what destroy cells in the brain and are the main cause of Alzheimer’s.
3. Helps People with Parkinson’s Disease
According to recent studies, and endless anecdotal evidence, consuming weed remarkably eases pain and reduces tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease. Even more remarkably the patients who consumed cannabis had some returned motor skills that they had lost to the disease. Medical marijuana is legal in many countries which have helped make advancements in Cannabis as a medicine to treat Parkinson’s.
4. Enhances the Effectiveness of the Hepatitis C Treatment
It had been noticed and then confirmed by a study in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology that 86% of patients using cannabis regularly succeeded in their hepatitis C treatment. Compare that to only 29% of the non-cannabis users who underwent the same treatments.
What’s even more incredible, weed also improved the Hepatitis C treatment’s effectiveness. In the patients using cannabis, 54% kept their viral levels consistently low, while those not using cannabis only saw 8% succeed to reduce and maintain them.
5. Curbs Anxiety
While CBD is a potent anxiolytic agent(A drug used to treat symptoms of anxiety.) it also appears that THC may help to reduce anxiety when administered at low-to-moderate doses.
Harvard University actually did a study in 2010 and concluded that one of the health benefits of THC is the reduction in anxiety and improvement of the user’s mood at low dosages. High dosages will have the opposite effect in many anxiety sufferers, so consume in low doses if used to treat anxiety.
6. Improves Lung Health in Smokers
Being a former tobacco smoker this one kind of surprised me. A study written in January 2012 in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that weed can actually increase lung capacity and lung functions.
Researchers who were investigating risk factors associated with heart disease observed over 5,000 young adults over a period of two decades. This extended study showed that only weed users had an improvement in lung capacity while consuming tobacco as well. Those who didn’t use cannabis but still smoked cigarettes lost more function in the same period of time.
7. Helps Put an End to Nightmares
While cannabis won’t give you dreams of butterflies and rainbows, some find it very useful to keep away the bad nightmares. It has also been used quite extensively to treat PTSD in veterans returning from the battlefield. Cannabis works by interrupting the stage of sleep where nightmares occur, the REM stage of sleep. It has been proven to significantly decrease the number of nightmares experienced by PTSD patients.
8. Assists with Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s disease, a well-known inflammatory bowel disease that causes excruciating pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and weight loss.
A study from Israel, a leader in medical marijuana pointed to weed as a potent medication for Crohn’s disease symptoms. Ten out of eleven sufferers of Crohn’s reported a dramatic decrease in the frequency of their painful symptoms, while five of the eleven patients reported a complete reversal of the disease.
9. Relieves Arthritis
Cannabis has been long known to reduce inflammation and pain so it’s no surprise that it is an effective medicine to treat the debilitating condition. That ease of inflammatory symptoms promoted a more restful sleep for patients as well, furthering its usefulness for people with rheumatoid arthritis.
A study was conducted where researchers at the rheumatology departments of a number of hospitals provided their patients with a cannabinoid-based analgesic medicine. After two weeks of the treatment, patients using the cannabis-based medicine experienced a huge drop in pain levels and slept better than patients in the placebo group.
Other Remarkable Benefits of Marijuana
There are more benefits of medical marijuana than the ones we explained above. Here are a few other conditions that have evidence to support them as a cannabis treatment:
Many governments are now starting to take a second look at cannabis after seeing the success of the plant in other countries. With more acceptance will come more research and better medicine. I think with the introduction of new and exotic strains, scientists will find new ways to use marijuana for conditions we never even thought of.
What do you use medical marijuana for?