Benefits of Cannabis
The cannabis industry continues thrive as more studies reveal its extensive therapeutic uses. We’ve also seen greater support from the scientific community and the general public to further investigate the potential health benefits of cannabis. Studies have discovered cannabis can be used as an appetite stimulant, anti-spasmodic, anti-emetic, and an analgesic, and its list of treatment uses continues to grow. Some researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco have even reported that CBD may prevent cancer from spreading by slowing its growth. The American Association for Cancer Research has backed this finding, showing that marijuana considerably slows down tumor growth in the brain, breast, and lungs.1
It has also been shown that THC slows the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. A 2006 study performed by Kim Janda’s lab of the Scripps Research Institute demonstrated a decrease in the formation of amyloid plaques (commonly associated with the progression and development of Alzheimer’s disease) by blocking the enzyme in the brain that makes these plaques. According to the authors, such data provides a “previously unrecognized molecular mechanism through which cannabinoid molecules may directly impact the progression of this debilitating disease.”2
It has also long been evidenced that marijuana is a useful tool in treating glaucoma, as it aids in decreasing the intraocular pressure of the eyes caused by the disease. Left untreated, it can lead to optic nerve damage and vision loss. In 2011, another study found that cannabis could also be used as an anti-inflammatory agent, a means of reducing pain in arthritic patients, and in the promotion of sleep. The anti-inflammatory properties of the cannabis plant can assist patients suffering with digestive disorders, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and other autoimmune-based illnesses. THC-like chemicals that are produced naturally in the body commonly increase the permeability of the intestines, allowing bacteria to enter. This may then cascade into an immune response and cause issues such as colitis. The plant-derived cannabinoids found in marijuana block these body-cannabinoids, decreasing this permeability and making the intestines less vulnerable to such bacteria. Without the presence of such bacteria, inflammation is decreased. In terms of digestive health, marijuana can also serve as an appetite-stimulant and an anti-emetic, which may help reduce painful nausea and vomiting, plaguing chemotherapy patients.
In addition to the digestive benefits of cannabis, researchers from the University of Nottingham have shown its effectiveness in treating a variety of nervous system issues. They’ve even found that cannabis might help protect the brain from damage caused by a stroke. This neuroprotective feature has been cited in several scientific investigations, and it’s exhibited by reduction in areas of the brain affected by trauma caused by concussions, strokes, and other traumatic brain events.3 Marijuana has also been approved to treat psychological disorders/issues such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, chronic nightmares, epileptic seizures, and mood swings. The recent discovery of cannabidiol being used to treat seizure-like symptoms further supports proper testing of cannabis.
Studies have shown disorders of the muscular system may also be helped using cannabis. For example, marijuana can aid in decreasing or stopping individuals suffering from muscle spasms. Cannabis therapy may also decrease the constant, painful spasming of the abdominal muscles brought on by Leeuwenhoek’s Disease. Both the neurological effects and painful sensations of multiple sclerosis have shown improvement by using marijuana to bind to receptors of the nerves and muscles. Even Parkinson’s patients may benefit from a similar treatment to decrease tremors.
While cannabis can treat specific systemic disorders, it can also increase the well-being of a patient suffering from the symptoms or treatment of a disease. For example, common Hepatitis treatments can cause patients harsh side effects, including fatigue, nausea, muscle pains, loss of appetite, and depression. Cannabis allows these patients to continue their traditional treatment without suffering from the typical side effects.
Both natural and synthetic cannabis are available as treatment options. Marinol – a synthetic version of THC successfully tested on cancer patients – has shown us that the benefits apply to both synthetic or naturally grown cannabis. The applications for medicinal marijuana are vast and has the potential to serve as a useful treatment for many patients. As the industry flourishes, more investigations will be performed to further support its therapeutic uses for a plethora of issues.
Other Benefits of Cannabis
- Mcallister, S. D., Christian, R. T., Horowitz, M. P., Garcia, A., & Desprez, P. (2007). Cannabidiol as a novel inhibitor of Id-1 gene expression in aggressive breast cancer cells. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 6(11), 2921-2927. doi:10.1158/1535-7163.mct-07-0371
- Eubanks LM, Rogers CJ, Beuscher AE, et al. A Molecular Link Between the Active Component of Marijuana and Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology. Molecular pharmaceutics. 2006;3(6):773-777. doi:10.1021/mp060066m.
- England TJ, Hind WH, Rasid NA, O’Sullivan SE. Cannabinoids in experimental stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism. 2015;35(3):348-358. doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2014.218.