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Jun 8, 2020
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10 Medicinal Uses For Marijuana

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The first direct reference to cannabis’ medicinal is thought to have been found in China in the writings of the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung in 2737 B.C. In the writings, the focus was mainly on cannabis’ power as a medication for rheumatism, gout, malaria, and ironically enough, for absent – mindedness. Gradually its use spread from China to India, and then to North Africa, and reached Europe as early as AD 500. Marijuana was listed in the United States Pharmacopeia from 1850 till 1942. It was prescribed for different medical uses such as labor pain, nausea, and rheumatism.

From the 1850s to 1930s cannabis began to grow famous for its recreational purposes. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classified it as a schedule 1 drug. Thereafter, discussions surrounding the medical use of marijuana were very controversial. To make studying marijuana’s medicinal usage more palatable, in 1966 its active ingredient THC was synthesized and finally approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1985.

A 1999 U.S. government – sponsored study by the Institute of Medicine discovered the beneficial properties of marijuana in certain medical conditions such as nausea caused by chemotherapy and wasting caused by AIDS. Since 1999, several studies have been done to show that marijuana is effective in pain reduction. In 1996, California became the first state to legalize the use of marijuana for medical objectives. Currently, about 40 states have some sort of medical marijuana legislation.

Medical Uses of Marijuana

1. Slow and stop cancer cells from spreading

A study, published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, found that Cannabidiol is capable of turning off a gene called Id – 1. In 2007, researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco reported that CBD may prevent cancer from spreading. The researchers experimented on breast cancer cells, that had a high level of Id – 1, and treated them with cannabidiol.

The outcome was rather positive, the cells had decreased Id – 1 expression, and became less aggressive spreaders. In fact, the American Association for Cancer Research has found that marijuana works to slow down tumor growth in the brain, breast, and lungs considerably.

2. Prevent Alzheimer’s

A 2006 study led by Kim Janda of the Scripps Research Institute found out that THC, the active ingredient present in marijuana slows the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. THC slows the formation of amyloid plaques by blocking the enzyme in the brain that makes them. These plaques kill brain cells, and can potentially lead to Alzheimer’s disease.

3. Treat Glaucoma

Marijuana can be used to treat glaucoma, a disease that increases the pressure in the eyeball, injuring the optic nerve and causing loss of vision. “Studies in the early 1970’s showed that marijuana, when smoked, lowered intraocular pressure (IOP) in people with normal pressure and those with glaucoma.” These effects of the drug can prevent blindness.

4. Relieve Arthritis

In 2011, researchers reported that cannabis reduces pain and inflammation, and promotes sleep, which may help relieve pain and discomfort for people with rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers in the rheumatology units at several hospitals gave their patients Sativex, a cannabinoid – based pain – relieving medicine. After two weeks, patients on Sativex had a significant reduction in pain, and better sleep quality compared to placebo users.

5. Control Epileptic seizure

A 2003 study showed that marijuana use can control epileptic seizures. Robert J. DeLorenzo, of Virginia Commonwealth University, gave marijuana extract and synthetic marijuana to epileptic rats. The drugs stopped the seizures in about 10 hours. The THC controlled the seizures by binding the brain cells responsible for controlling excitability and regulating relaxation. The results were published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

6. Ease the pain of multiple sclerosis

Marijuana works to stop the negative neurological effects and muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis. A study published in the Canadian Medical Association suggests that marijuana may ease painful symptoms of multiple sclerosis. In a study of 30 multiple sclerosis patients with painful contractions in their muscles that didn’t respond to other medications, after smoking marijuana for a few days, they reported that they were in less pain. The THC in the pot bonds the receptors in the nerves and muscles to relieve pain.

7. Soothe tremors for people with Parkinson’s disease

An Israeli study shows that smoking marijuana remarkably reduces pains and tremors and improves sleep for Parkinson’s disease patients. An impressive factor about the research is the improvement of fine motor skills among patients. Israel made medical marijuana legal, and a lot of research into the medical uses of weed is done there, supported by the Israeli Government.

8. Help with Crohn’s disease

Cannabis may be helpful with curing Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disorder that causes pain, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and more. A recent study in Israel showed that smoking a joint considerably reduced Crohn’s disease symptoms in 10 out of 11 patients, and caused a complete cancellation of the disease in five of those patients. While, this is a small study, other researches have shown similar results. The cannabinoids from cannabis seem to help the gut control bacteria and intestinal function.

9. Decrease the symptoms of Dravet’s Syndrome

Dravet Syndrome causes seizures and severe developmental delays. A five years old girl, who has Dravet’s Syndrome, is being treated with a medical marijuana strain high in cannabidiol and low in THC. During the research for his documentary “WEED”, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a renowned doctor and CNN correspondent interviewed the family, and according to the film, the drug decreased her seizures from 300 a week to just once every seven days. Forty other children are using the same medication, and it has helped them too. Doctors say that the cannabidiol in the plant interacts with the brain cells to quiet the excessive activities in the brain that causes the seizures.

10. Lessen side effects from treating Hepatitis C, and increase treatment effectiveness

Treating Hepatitis C infection has severe side effects. The effects are so severe that many people are unable to continue their treatment. Side effects range from fatigue, nausea, muscle pains, loss of appetite, and depression – and they last for months. A 2006 study in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology discovered that 86% of patients using marijuana successfully finished their therapies, while only 29% of the non – smokers completed their treatments, possibly because marijuana helped to lessen the treatments’ side effects. Cannabis also seems to help to improve the treatment’s effectiveness. However, 54 % of the Hep C patients smoking marijuana got their viral levels low, and kept them low, compared to the only 8% of the non – smokers.

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