The benefits of marijuana have been known to humans for many centuries. The Chinese have known about it since 2737 B.C. References to marijuana were documented in the times of the Emperor Shen Nung as a powerful treatment for rheumatism, malaria, and painful conditions like gout. It was more popular for its healing properties than the psychoactive benefits. From China, the knowledge was passed down to India, then North Africa and Europe, several centuries later. It was only in the mid-19th century that marijuana reached the United States pharmacies to reduce pain, nausea and rheumatism.
Benefits of Medical Marijuana
Marijuana was classified as a Schedule 1 drug in the United States as illegal trade and consumption increased over time, along with potent drugs such as heroin, cocaine, LSD and others.
The decision remains a matter of controversy in several parts of the USA but since legalization in Canada, the medical benefits of marijuana has once again come to the forefront. However, government sponsored studies in North America have revealed that the cannabinoids in marijuana have a long list of benefits from reducing nausea after chemotherapy to treat pain from a number of conditions such as arthritis and migraine, treats Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and Epilepsy.
In 1996, California led the way in the U.S. to legalize medical marijuana. After Canada’s legalization, now 24 U.S. States have followed suit. As a result, more funds are being poured into research on marijuana and increasingly, new health benefits are coming to light. Here are some:
Alzheimer’s: THC, the psychoactive substance in cannabis, has been found to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in seniors. The study was conducted in 2006 at the Scripps Research Institute. THC was found to reduce amyloid plaques by blocking an enzyme in the brain that produces them.
Epileptic Seizures: THC has been reportedly found to control seizures, anxiousness and relax patients with epileptic seizures by binding the brain cells that trigger them. The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics published the results in 2003.
Glaucoma: Glaucoma is vision loss caused by increasing pressure in the eyeball that injures the optic nerve. Smoking marijuana was found to lower the intraocular pressure (IOP) in those with glaucoma, in participants with normal pressure.
Arthritis: In 2011, researchers of rheumatology at a few hospitals discovered that the pain killing marijuana-based medicine, Sativex, reduced inflammation and pain, promoting sleep in arthritis patients.
Cancer: In 2007, researchers at California Pacific Medical Centre in San Francisco reported that Cannabidiol (CBD) in cannabis may prevent the spread of aggressive cancer cells. It was found to slow down the growth of tumours in the brain, breast and lungs.
Medical marijuana has been seen to reduce adverse neurological effects and muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis, control tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease, treat Crohn’s disease (inflammatory bowel disorder), and Dravet’s Syndrome (severe developmental delays in children), decrease anxiety, depression, treat Lupus (an autoimmune disorder) stimulate appetite and help in lung health.
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