Top 5 Health Benefits of Medical Marijuana - Continued
When looking at the whole plant, cannabis can justly be considered the plant of our time. This one plant singly holds the potential to transform our resource scarcity into a resource abundance. It delivers carbon neutral fuel for our cars, while its fibres could stop deforestation and are strong enough to even build a house with. But in our time of spreading disease, its medicinal qualities become ever more important.
The health benefits of marijuana are many, and new applications are discovered by the day, but it is important to note that the method of application can have a degree of impact on its effectiveness. Any plant matter that is burned will produce tar, and so does smoking cannabis. While studies have not linked long term cannabis smoking to an increase in lung cancer - or any cancer at all - it stands to reason that carbon monoxide and other harmful combustion by-products should be avoided to reach the best possible health effects.
To take full advantage of the medicinal benefits of cannabis, many alternatives to smoking have been developed. Vaporisation and ingestion stand out, but also the various forms of concentrates, such as tinctures or the Simpson oil, are a viable alternative.
Here are our top 5 medical benefits of medical cannabis:
1. Cannabis profoundly affects cancers
There are well over 100 studies that show the tumour-fighting abilities of cannabinoids. Most research is based on in-vitro experiments, and first studies on humans are only slowly being rolled out. But what is certain so far is that cannabinoids have the ability to shrink tumours and reverse cancers. Both THC and CBD have shown to slow down, halt and kill cancerous cells, sometimes completely curing cancers.
The large amount of anecdotal reports, and the mountain of positive results gained from research on animals and human tissue have led to the start of human based clinical research into the matter, with the first batch of trials underway as this is written.
The pioneer in cannabis based cancer treatments is Canadian Rick Simpson, who developed an ethanol based full-spectrum extract that is now being used all over the world to fight cancers. Due to his activity, Simpson had to flee Canada and is currently continuing his research and treatments across Europe.
2. It helps relax and treat insomnia
Within our bodies we have something called the endocannabinoid system. It is this system that reacts with the cannabinoids within cannabis, causing many of the effects experienced with its use. Recently, scientist have identified that the endocannabinoid system plays a part in helping regulate sleep, and not only does it help maintain a healthy sleep pattern, it can also be harnessed to reduce and control the symptoms of insomnia – helping people overcome it.
Recent research even suggests that endocannabinoid act to induce sleep, and that abnormalities in the system may actually be what causes insomnia. By adding cannabinoids into the system, it gives the body extra “fuel” to work with, allowing sleep to be a viable option again. In one study, it was shown that 20mg of THC made a huge difference to insomniacs who were already in bed trying to get to sleep, but higher concentrations caused them to become too stoned. On top of this, sleep was more stable, with insomniacs waking fewer times throughout the night – all this with no harmful or debilitating side effects.
3. It reduces the frequency and severity of epileptic seizures and causes neurogenesis
One propaganda driven myth about cannabis is that it rots your brain, damaging cells beyond repair. However, recent studies have found the opposite; the active compounds of cannabis can trigger the growth of new brain cells.
One way in which it benefits is by reducing the effects of epilepsy. CBD has been shown to dramatically reduce the impact and frequency of seizures. It stops the irregular brain activity that causes the fits, making them occur less often and with reduced severity.
A case that became famous is Charlotte from Colorado. Charlotte is a young girl who suffers from severe epilepsy – to the point where she could not function at all. A group of brothers set out to test the theory of CBD’s ability to heal, and bred a CBD rich cannabis strain, with only 0.5% THC but 17% CBD . Upon giving it to Charlotte, it was so effective that she can now lead a normal life, feeding herself and playing with other children. She no longer exhibits the autistic behaviour she once did, and is now clear headed, focused and happy.
It was such a profound difference that the brothers called the strain after the child - Charlotte’s Web. Parents now emigrate to Colorado from the rest of the US in order to obtain these strains for their children, to the point where the brothers cannot keep up with demand. Their newest strain is called “Hippie’s Disappointment”, referring to the fact that CBD doesn‘t show any psychoactive effects - it doesn‘t get people high at all.
Studies have shown that cannabis also triggers neurogenesis, benefiting the brain further - and completely contradicting the myth of brain damage. Neurogenesis is the process of creating new brain cells. That’s right, it creates, not destroys brain cells, possibly proving to be a valuable treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and alcohol damage.
4. Suicide rates drop where medical marijuana is available
A study titled “High on Life: Medical Marijuana Laws and Suicide” has recently concluded that US states where medical marijuana is legal suffer from dramatically reduced suicide rates in young males compared to states where it isn’t. The study notes that moderate and sensible use of marijuana acts as an anti-depressant, thus reducing the likelihood of suicide. It also notes how states that have legalised the use of cannabis sell less alcohol to young males – with alcohol being a known and recognised depressant that contributes significantly to suicidal tendencies.
What this suggests is that not only does cannabis itself act to elevate mood, but also lessens the reliance on alcohol as more people turn to marijuana.
5. It reduces pain and inflammation from arthritis
A study from Nottingham University, UK has backed up the many anecdotal reports that the symptoms of arthritis are reduced by cannabis use. The study aimed to look further into the endocannabinoid system and establish what happens to CB2 receptors, and how their well described anti-inflammatory effects helped with osteoarthritis. It was found that in both animal and human tissue, that there was a significant change to the expression of cannabinoid pathways, suggesting that the body actually embraces and facilitates the medicinal properties of cannabis.
As can be seen from these five benefits, the use of medical cannabis show a lot of promise, and is improving the lives of many the world over. This is just the surface as well, there are many, many more medical benefits to cannabis. However, if you are thinking of harnessing its potential for your own benefit, we strongly recommend you do your own research further into the matter, and make yourself aware of the legal situation of using cannabis within your country.