Research after research uncovers marijuana benefits. From the treatment of rare epileptic disorders to the control of PTSD, labor pains, rheumatism, you name it. And of a truth, the results have been remarkable. Hence, this makes cannabis an excellent addition to the medical ammo against a host of medical conditions. Correspondingly, the acceptance and use of medical marijuana have dramatically spiked over the years. But what is this talisman tool that we are just beginning to scratch the surface of?
Marijuana, also known as cannabis, is a psychoactive drug from the cannabis plant. It is a substance mainly for recreational and medical purposes. You can use it by smoking, cooking, or as an extract. It is essential to know that the benefits of marijuana are deeply rooted in the potency of active ingredients, cannabinoids. Chief cannabinoids of consequence are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). They are chemicals that act on the brain cells to modulate their functions. Today, marijuana is reassessed on a cultural, medical, and legal level after classified as an illegal substance. With the discovery that it could do lots of goods, this is a chance to take a giant leap in medicine. Furthermore, it is poised to become a breakthrough area in modern medicine.
Medical Uses of Marijuana
The cannabis plant became famous for its recreational use from the 1850s all through to the 1930s. Then, as more people began to use it, The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 listed it as a Schedule I substance. This classification as a Schedule I drug brought about many arguments on the medical use of marijuana.
Fast forward to 1985. Synthetic THC received FDA approval, and that made it more welcoming in the medical field. Also, in 1999, the U.S government sponsored a study by the Institute of Medicine. During this research, they discovered the benefits of marijuana in treating conditions, such as nausea and wasting. Subsequently, many studies carried out on marijuana also showed its pain-reducing effects.
The first state to legalize the medical use of marijuana was California in 1996. After that time, other states followed suit. Today, about 24 states have medical marijuana legislation.
12 Fantastic Health Benefits of Marijuana
Suffice to say at this point that marijuana is not a panacea or a cure-for-all. The world of marijuana is still a murky one. As such, it is best only to take after an explicit medical prescription. This is because risks and benefits are both faces of the marijuana coin. Meaning that sometimes, the benefits may outweigh the risks. And at other times, it is the other way round.
Marijuana has been used to take care of patients of whom conventional therapy has failed. That is a final roll of the dice for their conditions. And the results for a significant number of ailments were fantastic.
1. Chronic Pain
Chronic pain from a host of medical conditions is a significant cause of disability in millions the world over. Cannabinoids are linked to providing relief of chronic pain due to their chemical makeup. Researches in Rheumatology in 2011 showed that cannabis reduces pain and inflammation as against placebo. It was reported to improve discomfort and to help people sleep like babies, unplugged from the world. For this reason, cannabis is pretty handy when dealing with difficult patients.
What makes marijuana an excellent treatment for chronic pain?
Marijuana works on a system in the body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). It exists in the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system.
The chemicals, cannabinoids, chiefly THC, in marijuana acts on ECS. They modulate its function and consequently blocking out pain perception.
Accordingly, medical marijuana is excellent for the treatment of:
- Arthritic pain
- Pain from endometriosis
- Pains from cancer, particularly the end-stage variety
- Pains from chemotherapy
2. Improves lung capacity
According to a published study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, in January 2012, the lung function of marijuana smokers came along just fine. If anything, the lung function was improving.
This improvement is unlike the cigarette smoking counterparts, whose lung function diminish over the years. But those attributes were linked to the deep breaths taken before inhaling cannabis and not to any therapeutic process.
3. It helps to lose weight
Another of the marijuana benefits is to help individuals lose weight. There is necessarily not a need for any research to make a case here. The evidence is all around us. Unless you have been living under a rock, you will notice ardent cannabis users are hardly overweight. Cannabis is linked to helping regulate insulin. In turn, modulates fat metabolism, summing up to regulation of the bodyweight.
4. It Relieves Arthritis Discomfort
According to a 2011 report, cannabis helps in reducing pain and inflammation. It also promotes sleep. People with rheumatoid arthritis may benefit from these effects. Sativex is a cannabinoid-based medicine for pain relief.
Researchers at rheumatoid units in different hospitals gave their patients this drug. They noticed an improvement in pain and quality of sleep after two weeks.
5. It fights cancer
And now, the biggest eureka revelation of cannabis: it can also help fight certain types of cancer. This includes lungs, brain, and breast cancer. In a study published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, Cannabidiol showed the ability to stop cancer by turning off pro-cancer genes.
Furthermore, in a 2007 research, researchers in San Francisco reported that Cannabidiol could prevent cancer, including breast cancer, from spreading. In essence, cannabis is a safe treatment option for controlling cancer but not curing it.
Cannabis can aid in managing severe pains, loss of appetite, and painful nausea. It also reduces vomiting in administering chemotherapy.
6. Helps Treat Depression
One of the known marijuana benefits is in helping people who are depressed. Cannabis acts on the endocannabinoid system to stabilize moods, which in turn can ease depression. A review in Clinical Psychology Review assessed all published scientific literature that investigated the use of marijuana to treat symptoms of mental depression. They discovered that medical marijuana markedly improves mood.
7. Treats Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
In comparison with placebo, marijuana can treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease better. Examples are Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
Research showed that CBD and THC modify the immune response to spur and improve the functioning of the intestine cells.
Furthermore, cannabinoids in the marijuana plant can decrease gut permeability. They block the entry of bacteria into the gut in an attempt to manage inflammatory bowel disease. They do this by antagonizing body-cannabinoids, which increases gut permeability.
8. Control Epileptic Seizures
Marijuana significantly alters seizure activity and is more effective than conventional anticonvulsants. [Journal of Pharmacology]
Research conducted at Virginia Commonwealth University showed that epileptic rats given marijuana extract recovered within 10 hours.
Consequent to the successes of cannabis in managing epileptic conditions, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of a medication containing cannabidiol (CBD) to treat the rare, severe type of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome. This condition is difficult to control with other types of drugs.
Dravet syndrome seizures are rare medical conditions. Their characteristics are prolonged, repetitive epilepsy, fever. Furthermore, epilepsy is unilateral, meaning it affects one side of the body and can be refractory to multiple medications. Approximately every 1 in 5 children affected with Dravet syndrome doesn’t see their 20th birthday.
Consequently, most affected children develop varying degrees of developmental disability.
Again, cannabis comes to the rescue. As medical marijuana remedies this condition by binding the brain cells responsible for controlling excitability. In the end, there is an increase in task performance, decision making, improvement in cognition, and quality of life.
9. Decrease Anxiety
Decreasing Anxiety is also one of the many marijuana benefits. Although it may be true that medical marijuana can lead to Anxiety, there is a way to flip the switch. And that is by taking medical marijuana in monitored, metered dosage. By doing so, it can help alleviate anxiety and soothe the users and improve mood. Backing this claim is research at Harvard University where cannabis demonstrated its effectiveness in Anxiety. It also improved the smoker’s mood.
10. Helps with ADHD/ADD
Next on our list of marijuana benefits is the ability of medical marijuana to manage attention disorders like ADHD and ADD. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and a related disorder–Attention deficit disorder (ADD) are chronic neurological disorders characterized by a range of behavioral problems such as:
- Difficulty in following instructions
- Not paying attention in class
- Difficulty in keeping up with assignments
- Striving to complete tasks and in social interaction.
In ADHD particularly, these symptoms are coupled with hyperactivity. Both ADD and ADHD can affect both adults and children alike. That said, what does cannabis do to remedy this?
Cannabis acts on the brain centers in the frontal lobe modifying their action. In the end, it improves the ability of the individual to focus.
11. Helps with PTSD Symptoms
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD] is a medical disorder characterized by failure to recover after experiencing a terrifying and traumatizing event. It is commonplace with military personnel. They experience signs such as recurring, unwanted flashbacks of the traumatic events. Nightmares about the traumatic event also occur.
These events lead to severe emotional and physical reactions.
Cannabis helps prevent the fight or flight response from going into overdrive.
12. Regulate and Prevent Diabetes
Finally, on this list, cannabis has been reported to be able to control blood sugar levels. In doing so, it reduces the incidence of arterial inflammation and high blood pressure. These incidences are complications of Diabetes.
There are only twelve marijuana benefits above. But here is a known fact: this is only the tip of the iceberg. Marijuana is emerging as a viable, competent treatment option for a plethora of disorders. These include, but are not limited to, chronic pain, seizures, inflammatory bowel disorders, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Attention deficits disorders, Anxiety. The long list of marijuana benefits grows almost yearly. Researches are going on at press time in the hope of uncovering more.
If a medical recommendation is no object, marijuana is the way to go when treating a host of medical conditions. Hopefully, there’ll be conclusive studies on the use of marijuana for more diseases in the future. Then, some countries may accept to make it legal on a federal and state level.
- Kabir, S., 2021. 20 Medical Benefits of Marijuana You Probably Never Knew. [online] Lifehack. Available at: <https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/20-medical-benefits-marijuana-you-probably-never-knew.html> [Accessed 28 February 2021].
- Railton, D., 2021. What are the health benefits and risks of cannabis?. [online] Medicalnewstoday.com. Available at: <https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320984#What-are-the-medical-benefits-of-marijuana> [Accessed 28 February 2021].
- Leo, T., 2021. [online] Available at: <https://www.healtheuropa.eu/health-benefits-of-cannabis/92499/> [Accessed 28 February 2021].