Marijuana is a mind-altering (psychoactive) drug. Similar to hemp, it comes from the cannabis plant. The plant’s primary drug effects originate from the chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or “THC.” Marijuana is smoked, “vaped” (inhaling the vapor), or ingested in foods or teas. Over the last few decades, the concentration of THC in the cannabis plant has been increasing. Also, the plant extracts are more potent.
In the United States, nearly 23 states, plus Washington D.C., have legalized medical marijuana. In cities like Denver and Seattle, recreational marijuana plays an important role for local businesses. However, more and more states are making an effort to learn more about the drug’s incredible benefits.
Science proves that marijuana can do wonders for improving a patient’s quality of life. For patients who endure rounds upon rounds of chemotherapy, marijuana is the only “is the only anti-nausea medicine that increases appetite.”
Cannabis as Medicine
Pharmaceutical cannabis sprays are designed for “mucosal or sublingual administration,” meaning that the patient sprays it under their tongue, and the cannabinoids are then absorbed into the bloodstream via the mucous membrane. This is quite an efficient and convenient method of administration, which allows the cannabinoids to reach the brain within 10 to 20 minutes. However, a significant amount ends up being swallowed and absorbed through the gut, resulting in a sizable portion of the medication having a delayed onset. This is far from ideal for medical users who wish to regulate their dosage accurately. Many patients report that the pharmaceutical industry’s expensive cannabis-based medications are vastly inferior to the natural product. Vaporizing organically grown cannabis buds is one of the most effective ways of self-medicating, particularly for pain relief.
For some patients the high associated with herbal cannabis use is undesirable. This applies in particular for those who need to medicate regularly throughout the day. One of the most useful cannabinoids is cannabidiol, or CBD, which unlike THC, binds poorly to the brain’s receptors and can, therefore, work without getting patients stoned.
Commercially available strains that are high in CBD are now becoming more readily accessible specially bred for medical use.
What Are The Benefits?
Marijuana may be able to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, according to research by the Scripps Research Institute published in “Molecular Pharmaceutics.” For lucid Alzheimer and dementia patients, marijuana can reduce feelings of confusion and agitation. For stroke victims, marijuana can, quite literally, shrink the damage away.
Harvard Medical School found that marijuana may have anti-anxiety effects. Of course, keep in mind that high doses may increase anxiety and paranoia. Weed kicks anxiety and depression out of user’s mind, this is one of the most noticeable impacts of the drug, and no scientific study is needed to demonstrate this. However, for the suspicious minds, a 2010 research carried out at Harvard Medical School showed that drug’s most benefits occur mainly because it helps improve the user’s mood and can even act as a mild sedative.
Marijuana can alleviate pain and inflammation linked to arthritis. While traditional painkiller drugs such as morphine and oxycodone can be useful, they are also associated with a high risk of addiction and dependence.Those drugs can be dangerous or even fatal when administered in improper amounts. Cannabis, on the other hand, offers similar palliative benefits, with the less significant risk of substance abuse and consequent health issues.
Research published in the journal “Molecular Cancer Therapeutics” suggests that cannabidiol, a chemical compound found in marijuana, turns off the “ID-1″ gene, which cancer cells use to spread.
In what could be a crucial moment for advocates of legal cannabis, the U.S. government has admitted that the drug can shrink cancer cells. In a page of official government advice, the U.S. government now says: ‘Cannabis has been shown to kill cancer cells in the laboratory.’
The site says that the effect has so far been seen in rodent studies, and cautions, ‘At this time, there is not enough evidence to recommend that patients inhale or ingest Cannabis as a treatment for cancer-related symptoms or side effects of cancer therapy.’
However, Cancer Research UK warns patients that so far, there is no evidence that cannabis extracts can be used as a treatment.
Studies conducted by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University indicate that marijuana may stop seizures.
Researchers are working to develop new cannabis-based drugs to treat glaucoma pain after determining marijuana’s effectiveness for treating the condition. Glaucoma is a condition that increases the pressure inside the eyeball and can lead to vision loss.
7. Lung health
Research in the “Journal of the American Medical Association“ found that marijuana can increase lung capacity – not decrease it, as many people have long believed. Smoking weed isn’t that bad for your lungs, and smokers have improved lung function when compared to both cigarette smokers – and individuals who have never smoked either.
This one is quite controversial: Cannabis Can Help Reverse Negative Impacts of Smoking Tobacco On Lungs
A groundbreaking study published in 2012 shocked many marijuana critics. It showed that marijuana doesn’t have any severe effects on your lungs, rather it can eliminate the side-effects of long-term tobacco smoking, provided you quit smoking cigarettes. More than five thousand subjects were involved, and the result showed that tobacco smokers’ lung health deteriorated over time. However, weed smokers showed an increase in lung capacity.
Smoking weed isn’t that bad for your lungs, and smokers have improved lung function when compared to both cigarette smokers – and people who have never smoked either.
The researchers, writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, say that the big “drags” taken by weed smokers may actually ‘train’ lungs to be more efficient.
8. Multiple sclerosis
A study published in the “Canadian Medical Association Journal” found that cannabinoids significantly reduced multiple sclerosis pain.
Marijuana contains a minimum of 60 cannabinoids. THC is the primary chemical associated with its mind-altering effects. THC has been used in the treatment of nausea, including drug- or chemotherapy-induced nausea.
Some patients experience chronic nausea or loss of appetite related to chemotherapy treatments, while others are impacted by conditions such as anorexia, depression, HIV/AIDS, or Crohn’s Disease. If you struggle to maintain a healthy appetite due to a medical issue, Cannabis may be able to help you eat and get the nutrition your body needs.
10. Parkinson’s Disease
Research published in “MedPage Today” found that marijuana use eased tremors and improved fine motor skills in patients with Parkinson’s disease. It can reduce tremors and slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease.
Be cautious if you use marijuana
In the meantime, if you do use marijuana products, do not do so before driving or operating other heavy or dangerous equipment, and stop if you are pregnant. Talk to your doctor about the safety of continued use if you have a heart or lung condition, or are concerned that you might have developed an addiction. Avoid products that are packaged as candy or other edibles if there are children in your household who are more susceptible to a toxic overdose. And talk to your kids about the potential hazards of marijuana, because the risks are particularly high in young people.
Always consider the possible health hazards of marijuana use:
- Addiction can cause uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms in individuals who discontinue marijuana use.
- In high doses or sensitive individuals, marijuana can cause anxiety and paranoia.
- Marijuana may impair memory.
- Mind-altering effects are particularly evident among young and first-time users.
- One study found an increase in the risk of having a heart attack within the first hour of smoking marijuana.
- Marijuana use during pregnancy can harm a baby’s brain development.
This guide divulges only a few of the countless medical benefits of cannabis. It’s weird how it’s illegal in most parts of the country, and still, has a stigma attached to it. However, we do hope that science will continue to explore its benefits the plant will be used to cure all the main kinds of issues humanity is facing. While the debate might continue about its long-term effects and dependency issues, but its harm-reduction potential can’t be denied.