Benefits of Marijuana: All You Ever Wanted To know About Medical Marijuana
To smoke or not to smoke marijuana has long been the topic of debate in the medical field. While most people deem marijuana to be the ‘gateway drug’ that makes smokers daring enough to try drugs with more potent highs, there are others who think marijuana when used for medical purposes can work wonders for those individuals who are diagnosed with certain diseases.
As more and more medical research is being carried out on marijuana, it turns out that medical marijuana plants have many great health benefits to offer rather than just the ‘high’ that comes with it. Much recently, the chief medical correspondent of CNN, Sanjay Gupta was compelled to change his opinion regarding marijuana use and the prevailing ban on marijuana after reviewing the outcome of medical studies conducted on marijuana to determine how it helps in maintaining and restoring health and treating a wide range of health conditions as well.
The ongoing studies revealed that cannabinol and tetrahydrocannabinol found in marijuana can be used as a pain reliever and can be singled out to cure certain rare diseases as well without giving off a high. However, abusing medical marijuana is nevertheless dangerous for it has some addictive properties as well which can cause an individual’s emotions and memory functions to go haywire. But this blog is dedicated to highlighting some of the shocking medical facts about marijuana that makes it not just a ‘gateway drug’ but a ‘lifesaver’ for many.
Health Benefits of Marijuana #1: Glaucoma
Glaucoma is quite a rare hereditary disease that affects the eyes. It tends to increase the intraocular pressure in the eyes that causes severe damage to the optic nerve resulting in permanent blindness if not treated on time. But the risk of permanent loss of vision can be put to a halt by the use of medical marijuana. According to the National Eye Institute, there were several studies carried out to test the effects of marijuana on individuals with glaucoma and it turned out that medical marijuana successfully decreased the intraocular pressure in individuals, the ones suffering from glucoma as well as the ones who had stable pressure.
In the 1970s, other medical researches confirmed that medical marijuana could prevent the disease from causing extensive degeneration of the eyes leading to permanent blindness as well as preventing high risk individuals from developing glaucoma in the long run.
Health Benefits of Marijuana #2: Improves and Restores Lung Health
It goes without saying that smoking tobacco damages the lungs and affects the functioning of the lungs. But marijuana can actually prevent the carcinogenic effects of tobacco and shows promising results in terms of restoring lung health in heavy smokers. In January 2012, a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association stated that medical marijuana usage considerably increased lung capacity rather than impairing lung function as expected.
This is great news for heavy smokers who want to prevent damage caused to their lungs by smoking tobacco. Researchers carried out this experiment on a total of 5,115 young individuals over 20 years of age to determine the risk factors contributing towards heart disease. It turns out that marijuana does more good than it is given credit for. While smoking tobacco cigarettes causes deteriorating lung functions over time, smoking pot frequently boosted lung capacity.
On the other hand, some scientists have ruled out the chemicals contribution of marijuana that increases lung capacity for it is very likely that the deep breaths taken when smoking pot is what boosts lung capacity.
Health Benefits of Marijuana #3: Controls Epileptic Seizures
A study carried out at the beginning of 2003 by a Virginia Commonwealth University Professor, Robert J. De Lorenzo claimed that epileptic seizures could be temporarily treated by controlled marijuana intake. The study was carried out on epileptic rats which showed that their seizures were controlled successfully for almost 10 hours after they were fed synthetic marijuana and marijuana extract.
The reason why marijuana successfully helps in eliminating epilepsy is that it contains active ingredients like cannabinoids and tetrahydrocannabinol. Both these active ingredients work together to bind the haywire brain cells that control excitability and regulate relaxation. This successful experiment was published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
Health Benefits of Marijuana #4: Course of Treatment for Dravet’s Syndrome
Dravet’s syndrome is a rare disorder that is responsible for causing frequent seizures and severe developmental delays in children. Sanjay Gupta, the chief medical correspondent of CNN shed light on this rare syndrome and how one family successfully controlled their daughter’s frequent seizures with consistent use of medical marijuana in his documentary ‘Weed’. The medical marijuana strain used in treating the five year old girl battling Dravet’s Syndrome was low in tetrahydrocannabinol and rich in cannabinoids.
The five year old that suffered almost 300 seizures a week now only suffers from one seizure in a week; thanks to medical marijuana. The documentary also highlighted that almost 40 children in the same state suffering from Dravet’s syndrome were also being treated with the medical marijuana strain of the same composition. Doctors suggested medical marijuana as an effective course of treatment for controlling this barely known disease because the haywire brain cells responded well to cannabinoids that slowed down the excessive activity in the brain resulting in seizures.
Health Benefits of Marijuana #5: Halts Cancer from Spreading
According to researchers at the California Medical Research Center, marijuana contains a chemical called CBD that may successfully call a halt to cancer from spreading and metastasizing itself to other parts of the body. This research was done in 2007 which concluded that cannabinol worked as an active agent in stopping the overall process of cancer spreading by eliminating a gene called Id-1. This study made its way into the Journal of Molecular Cancer
Therapeutics showed that cancer cells having an abnormally high level of Id-1 was successfully treated with cannabinol found in marijuana. After rigorous treatment, the expression level of the Id-1 gene had diminished considerably and the cancer cells were a lot less aggressive in nature post treatment. The informative documentary ‘Weed’ by Dr. Sanjay Gupta highlighted this study and the fact that highly advanced studies in countries like Spain, Israel and United States claimed that chemical compounds found in marijuana could destroy cancer cells permanently.
Health Benefits of Marijuana #6: Slows Down the Progress of Alzheimer’s
A revolutionary study 2006 led by Kim Janda from the Scripps Research Institute claimed that marijuana rich in tetrahydrocannabinol had the ability to slow down the speed of progression of Alzheimer’s disease. This study was published in the Journal of Molecular Pharmaceutics and showed that THC in marijuana played a vital role in slowing down the formation of amyloid plaques by blocking out the enzyme in the brain that is responsible for its production. When these amyloid plaques build up in the brain, they destroy healthy brain cells leading to Alzheimer’s disease.
Health Benefits of Marijuana #7: Marijuana for Relieving Pain Associated To Multiple Sclerosis
Patients suffering from multiple sclerosis undergo excruciating pain and use of medical marijuana can now put an end to their misery. A groundbreaking study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal led by Jody Cory-Bloom suggested that marijuana could be used for an effective method for managing pain in individuals living with multiple sclerosis. The study was conducted on 30 individuals suffering from unbearably painful contractions in their muscles.
The outcome was unbelievably positive for their bodies responded quite well to marijuana when nothing else did. Patients who smoke pot regularly find medical marijuana to be an excellent medicinal drug that reduces the painful muscle spasms better than any other drug. What makes marijuana an effective method of treatment for multiple sclerosis patients is that the THC relieves shooting muscle pain by binding the pain receptors in the nerves. Similar studies carried out to understand the effect of smoking pot on multiple sclerosis suggested that THC plays an active part in controlling painful muscle spasms.
Health Benefits of Marijuana #8: Arthritis Pain Management
Another great advantage that medical marijuana has to offer is that it relieves the pain and discomfort experienced by arthritis patients. Researchers in 2011 agreed on the notion that marijuana could alleviate pain, inflammation of the joints in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and help them sleep better. A cannabinoid based pain medication called Sativex was given to rheumatoid arthritis patients by researches operating rheumatology units in various hospitals.
After using it for two weeks, it was determined that rheumatoid arthritis patients who were on Sativex experienced significant relief in pain, more than the ones who were slipped placebos. These are the 8 amazing health benefits that medical marijuana has to offer.