Medical Marijuana; 10 Little Known Facts and Health Benefits
Almost 2.3 million Canadians are estimated to have used marijuana at least once while 2,250,005 individuals ranging from ages 12 – 17 use it on a daily basis. Taking the total marijuana smoking population in consideration, only 10 percent of regular smokers become dependent of the drug over time.
Marijuana smokers are usually frowned upon because it’s usage is linked to severe consequences in terms of the user’s health, safety, behavior and academics. But after years spent on doing research on medical marijuana and the two most important chemical compounds found in it; cannabinoids (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC), marijuana is known to possess some amazing medicinal properties. Below are 10 little known facts about medical marijuana that most people are not fully aware of.
Medical Marijuana May Eradicate Cancer
Medical marijuana is not only effective in dealing with the nausea symptoms that occur during chemotherapy but it can actually kill brain cancer cells. A medical study carried out in Spain claims that the psychoactive agent found in medical marijuana called tetrahydrocannabinol can destroy brain cancer cells. The co-author of the study, Guillermo Velasco further explained that cancer cells were completely destroyed leaving the health cells intact when tetrahydrocannabinol was applied to the cancerous brain tissue.
Another study carried out by the California Pacific Medical Centre in San Francisco showed that cannabinol present in medical marijuana has the potential to prevent metastasis in many kinds of malignant cancers. Metastasis is the process in which an aggressive cancer starts to spread and attach itself to other organs of the body. Most of the population however, is not quite aware of this shocking medical breakthrough due to the lack of media coverage.
Responsible For Neurogenesis
While the above mentioned studies claim that medical marijuana could kill cancerous brain cells leading to brain cancer, another study suggests that marijuana plays a vital role in the growth of new brain cells for which the medical term is neurogenesis.
Back in 2005, a medical study was carried out to determine the medicinal properties of cannabinoids. The study led to the discovery of cannabinoids’ ability to promote the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus of the brain. The study also shed light on the antidepressant and anti anxiety properties of cannabinoids.
This is one of the reasons why people living in the marijuana friendly states like Colorado, Washington and California often smoke marijuana to boost their mood rather than turning to pharmaceutical drugs. It has also been noticed that medical marijuana significantly improves the cognitive function in individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Marijuana Smokers Are Less Likely To Commit Suicide
An analysis of the statistical trend of suicide was done in the state of Denver to determine if any changes occurred after medical marijuana was introduced. It turns out that once medical marijuana was legalized in Denver; there was a significant drop in the aggregate suicide rate of almost 5 percent. The suicide rate of males in the age bracket of 20 – 29 went down by 11 percent while the risk of suicide in males of ages 30 – 39 reduced by 9 percent after the medical marijuana law was passed.
Replacement of alcohol by medical marijuana also lowered the total suicide risk level of males in their late 20s and early 30s. Therefore, medical marijuana also showed promising results as an effective drug for suicide prevention.
No Links Found Between Marijuana Usage and Lung Damage
While many people hold the view that smoking marijuana is dangerous, there is absolutely no scientific evidence found to prove that marijuana damages the lungs. Ingesting marijuana using the vaporization method is believed to be the safest method as compared to smoking and oral consumption.
One of the largest studies done on marijuana by a UCLA Medical Doctor Donald Tashkin proved that it played no part in damaging the lungs while tobacco severely damages the lungs and causes lung cancer. It was expected that marijuana would possibly be one of the risk factors contributing towards lung cancer but the herb turned out to be completely cancer free.
In fact, it was noticed that marijuana could reverse the harmful carcinogenic effects that damage the lungs of heavy tobacco smokers.
Different Types Of Marijuana Offer Different Health Benefits
Almost 100 different kinds of strains exist out of which some of them fall under the ‘Indica’ category while some belong to the ‘sativa’ category. Sativa strains are considered to have a positive effect on the individual and are recommended for day time use. Individuals suffering from anxiety and panic disorders, PTSD, depression and fatigue may use medical marijuana to enhance the overall experience of time spent in nature, listening to music or attending social events.
On the other hand, there are marijuana strains that originate from the ‘Indica’ category. These strains are known for their narcotic effect; making it ideal for use in treating nausea, pain and anxiety. This makes indica strains perfect for night time use.
The Ability to Treat Various Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
Findings of latest studies suggest that ingestion of medical marijuana could benefit patients diagnosed with inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. In 2012, researchers of the University of Nottingham found that medical marijuana strains rich in tetrahydrocannabidiol and cannabidiol interacted with the gut function at a cellular level and generated positive immune responses.
The study published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics further indicated that compounds with similar properties to THC were produced by the body that increased the permeability of the intestine and allowed the bacteria to flow in. The body cannabinoids were blocked out by the cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant; promoting the healthy bonding process of intestinal cells.
Improvement in Symptoms of Lupus
Systematic Lupus Ertyhematosus is an autoimmune disorder in which the body begins to attack itself for no apparent reason. Currently, medical marijuana is found to be effective in treating symptoms of autoimmune disorders like lupus because there are certain chemical compounds in marijuana that trigger a calming effect in the hyperactive immune system. However, this study is still in its initial experimental stages and lacks scientific evidence.
May Eliminate Crohn’s Disease
One of the recent medical studies conducted in Israel show that smoking medical marijuana could actually eliminate Crohn’s disease. Classified as an inflammatory bowel disorder, Crohn’s disease is responsible for causing severe pain, diarrhea, and vomiting along with rapid weight loss. 11 patients suffering with Crohn’s disease were made to smoke marijuana to test if medical marijuana usage could ease the painful symptoms.
Upon regular marijuana ingestion, 10 patients claimed to experience a significant change in the severity of the symptoms. Regular use of medical marijuana also went on to cause a complete remission of Crohn’s disease in five of those patients under study.
The reason behind how marijuana helps in easing the painful symptoms of Crohn’s disease is that the cannabinoids present in the marijuana promotes regulation of the gut bacteria and also improves the overall intestinal function.
May Protect the Brain after a Stroke
Another study done on marijuana by researchers at University of Nottingham claim that marijuana has certain protective properties that could reverse the severe damage caused to the brain cells after a stroke. The experimental study conducted on rats, monkeys and mice resulted in the reduction of the size of the affected area.
Various other studies are currently being conducted on marijuana to highlight its neuroprotective abilities. One such study suggests that the medical marijuana plant may be the wonder drug that can protect the brain from concussions and other traumatic events.
Usage of Marijuana May Help In Overcoming Alcohol Addiction
Marijuana is definitely safer as compared to alcohol that causes irreparable damage to the liver and causes heart diseases. Even though marijuana also poses certain health risks, it can still be used in controlled quantities to help treat alcoholism since alcohol addiction disrupts the endocannabinoid system.
A research published in the Harm Reduction Journal claimed that marijuana posed fewer threats to the human body as compared to alcohol and other illicit drugs. The reason why marijuana is a less dangerous substitute to other recreational drugs is because withdrawal symptoms are not as severe as the ones with other prescription and illegal drugs.
However, it is important to note that excessive marijuana use can make an individual psychologically dependent on the drug and cannot be endorsed as an appropriate treatment for curing substance abuse. But smoking marijuana can definitely help from a harm reduction point of view.
Despite the many health benefits that marijuana offers, the high risk of abuse cannot be ruled out which is why most countries have banned the use of marijuana and classified it as a Schedule I drug.