The history of cannabis has references dating all the back to 2737 BC, more specifically in the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung’s writings.
The writings emphasized on marijuana as a powerful form of medication for the treatment of malaria, gout, and rheumatism. What is interesting is that it was also used to treated ‘absent-mindedness’. Marijuana was highly revered for its medicinal value rather than its intoxication properties.
Slowly and gradually, marijuana made its way from China to India, and then North Africa. It finally reached Europe in 500 AD. Marijuana was also found in the United States Pharmacopeia between 1850 and 1942 and was prescribed for treating rheumatism, labor pain, and nausea.
Seeing how there is so much history associated with marijuana, it is not hard to see what people think and believe is beneficial for their health. Of course, there are some medical benefits, but there are a few exaggerations as well.
Since a ton of studies have been conducted on the herb over the years, it is easy to separate fact from fiction. In this case, let’s take a look at all the proven medical benefits which cause people to hold in such high regard.
Slows Down and Cures Cancer
In a study published in the Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, it was concluded that Cannabidiol cures cancer. This is made possible by its ability to turn off the ld-1 gene.
Researchers from the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco reported that CBD may have the potential to stop cancer from spreading. Researchers conducted experiments on breast cancer cells with high levels of lead-1 using Cannabidiol.
The results were promising, as the ld-1 expression had decreased in the cells, making them less aggressive as spreaders than before. If that is not enough, the American Association for Cancer Research also found that marijuana works well in slowing down tumor growth in the lungs, brain, breasts considerably.
Marijuana’s active ingredient, THC, prevents further development of Alzheimer’s diseases, as concluded by Kim Janda’s study from the Scripps Research Institute in 2006.
How THC works in preventing Alzheimer’s is that it slows amyloid plaque formation by blocking the enzyme responsible in the brain for making them. These plaques damage the brain cells, which eventually leads to Alzheimer’s disease.
Helps in Dealing with Crohn’s’s Disease
Marijuana is extremely helpful in tackling Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s disease is a bowel disorder that causes weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting, pain, and more.
A study in Israel, regarding the treatment of inflammatory bowel disorder, saw a reduction of symptoms due to marijuana in 10 out of 11 patients. Moreover, 5 patients benefited from a complete cancellation of the disease.
There is no denying the fact the study is small, but other researchers have drawn the same conclusion. The cannabinoids improve gut functionality, which in turn controls intestinal function and removes bacteria.
Controls Epileptic Seizures
Marijuana can control epileptic seizures, as shown by a study from 2003.
Synthetic marijuana and marijuana extract was given to epileptic rats by Robert J. DeLorenzo, from the Virginia Commonwealth University. Surprisingly, the seizures came to a halt in 10 hours due to the drugs.
It was discovered that THC controlled the seizures by binding those brain cells responsible for regulating relaxation and controlling excitability. The results were then published in the Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
Reduces the Side Effects of Treating Hepatitis C
Treating hepatitis C has severe side effects. They are so severe that most people are unable to continue the treatment. The side effects can range from muscle pains, depression, nausea, loss of appetite, and fatigue— which can last for months.
Fortunately, the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology discovered that 86% of marijuana consumers were able to complete their treatment, while only 29% of non-smokers were able to complete theirs. This is a clear indicator that marijuana reduces the side effects of the treatment.
Hepatitis C patients saw a 54% improvement in their treatment due to marijuana consumption, while it kept their viral levels low, and kept it that way.
In 2011, it was reported that cannabis reduces inflammation and pain while promoting sleep, which is exactly what people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis need. It provides the necessary relief from pain and discomfort.
Several researchers from different hospitals in rheumatology units gave their patients Sativex. This cannabinoid-based medicine provided instant pain relief. Two weeks later, patients on Sativex were able to sleep better and had a significant reduction in pain than placebo users.
Researchers from Harvard University suggested that marijuana may also reduce anxiety, which would help an individual’s mood and serve as a sedative, in small doses.
It is worth noting though, marijuana in higher doses can increase anxiety, quite possibly also cause paranoia.
Protects the Brain after a Stroke
Based on research carried out on monkeys, mice, and rats at the University of Nottingham, it has been revealed that cannabis protects the brain from damage due to a stroke. This is possible because of marijuana’s ability to reduce the size of the area affected by the stroke.
This is not the only research of its kind to highlight the neuroprotective effects of marijuana. Some research has shown that the plant is capable of protecting the brain after traumatic events, like concussions for instance.
Aids Veterans to Combat PTSD
In some states in America, marijuana has been approved for PTSD treatment. New Mexico is one such state where most people get a license for medical marijuana for the treatment of PTSD. This is just the first of the many steps that will be taken by The Department of Health and Human Services to approve proposals regarding the consumption of vaporized or smoked marijuana.
Just like THC, cannabinoids aid in controlling the systems that cause anxiety and fear in the brain and body.
The aforementioned benefits are amongst the countless others that have people convinced it is by far the best solution for all their problems, and for good reason. What is puzzling is the fact that despite medical marijuana’s countless benefits, there is hesitance towards legalizing it. Sadly, it has a negative reputation as well, but hopefully, things will change in the near future.
As long as medical science continues to prove marijuana’s benefits, especially in other fields, it will continue to grow in popularity for the treatment of various ailments.