Updated: Mar 17, 2022
Cannabis isn't all about recreation, this simple plant actually has multiple applications in the medical sphere!
Recent studies have been pointing more and more to the fact that cannabis may have a lot of medical benefits. The first sightings of the uses of cannabis for medicinal purposes date all the way back to China in 2737 BC.
Gradually the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes spread to India, then North Africa and reached Europe as early as 500 AD.
From the 1850s to the 1930s, the use of cannabis for recreational purposes grew exponentially. In 1970, it was classified as a Schedule 1 drug. As a result of this much controversy regarding its efficacy as a medicinal treatment arose.
In 1996, California became the first state in the US to legalize the plant for medical purposes.
In 1999, a US government-sponsored study found cannabis to be beneficial for medical conditions such as nausea caused by chemotherapy and wasting caused by AIDS.
Medical Uses for Cannabis:
Slow and stop cancer cells from spreading – it was found in a study published in the Molecular Cancer Therapeutics that cannabidiol had the agility to stop cancer by turning off a certain gene that is reported to play a role in the aggressiveness of the spread of certain cancers.
Prevent Alzheimer’s – THC has been shown to slow down the formation of amyloid plaques, the plaques responsible for killing brain cells and potentially leading to Alzheimer’s disease.
Treat Glaucoma – Marijuana can be used to treat glaucoma, which increases pressure in the eyeball. It has been shown by the National Eye Institute of America that marijuana lowers pressure inside the eye, which may help alleviate symptoms of glaucoma.
Relieve Arthritis – it is already quite well reviewed that cannabis may help reduce pain and inflammation, and it can also be sleep promoting, which can help alleviate a lot of symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
Control Epileptic Seizure – It has been found that THC controls seizures by binding the brain cells responsible for excitability and regulating relaxation.
Ease pain – marijuana has been shown to blunt the negative neurological effects and muscle spasms that are caused by multiple sclerosis.
Soothe Tremors for Parkinson’s – Recent studies from Israel have shown that smoking marijuana significantly reduces pains and tremors for Parkinson’s patients.
Crohn’s disease – Crohn’s is an inflammatory bowel disorder that can cause pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, weight loss and more., another Israeli study showed that smoking a joint considerably lowered the occurrence of symptoms in 10 out of 11 patients. It is thought that the cannabinoids seem to help gut control bacteria and intestinal function
Hepatitis C – the treatment of a hepatitis C infection comes with a lot of unwanted side effects. So many in fact that many discontinue treatment for completion. The side effects range from fatigue, muscle pains, loss of appetite and depression that can last for months. A 2006 study in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology found that 86% of patients using marijuana in conjunction with their treatments managed to finish their therapies. They also found that marijuana helped increase the efficacy of the treatment, with 54% of smokers being able to keep viral levels low, while only 8% of non-smokers managed to do the same.
Improve symptoms of Lupus – Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is a disorder where the body starts attacking itself for unknown reasons. It is believed that some chemicals in the cannabis plant are responsible for calming the immune system, which may help deal with Lupus. The rest of the positive impact cannabis exerts on Lupus patients is a result of pain reduction and anti-nausea effects.
These are just a few of the well documented cases in which cannabis has shown potential. As more research is conducted, we may become aware of multiple medical uses for cannabis. It just goes to show that this plant isn’t all about recreational use, but helps many manage their conditions and live their lives.
^NCBI: Cannabidiol^National Eye Institute: Glaucoma and Marijuana Use^VCU: Marijuana and Its Receptor Protein^Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics: The Endogenous Cannabinoid System Regulates Seizure Frequency and Duration in a Model of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy^USA Today: Israel pushing ahead in medical marijuana industry^Harvard: Medical Marijuana and the Mind