Now in 2016 the times are definitely changing in regards to marijuana policy in the United States, something that would please Dylan and his ilk. Four states have completely legalized the use of cannabis for both recreational and medicinal uses, with 12 more states giving the go-ahead for medicinal purposes. The green crusade marches on, with other states voting on partial or total legalization in the coming election.
But the United States Federal Government still classifies Marijuana as a Schedule-1 drug, which is defined as a psychoactive substance with no documented medicinal value. Cannabis is a notoriously tricky plant to study, but some of the most prestigious and respected scientific research institutions in the world have uncovered potential health benefits of marijuana.
We have assembled the best research done so far, with the caveat that new research is always emerging and conclusive proof remains elusive. We also add the disclaimer that we do not promote nor endorse the use of any illegal drugs. We are just reporting the research as it is now.
1. May slim you down
Studies have shown that marijuana users are generally slimmer than non-users. Marijuana lowers fasting insulin levels which may promote weight loss. According to a study published in The American Journal of Medicine, researchers have found marijuana users to have smaller weight circumferences, lower BMI’s, and lower obesity rates.
2. THC may decrease the progression of Alzheimer’s
Molecular Pharmaceutics published in their journal that the active chemical in marijuana, THC, slows the process of amyloid plaques by blocking the enzyme in the brain that makes them. Results published in an article by Maria L. de Ceballos, PhD, Group Leader in the Department of Neural Plasticity at the Cajal Institute in Spain, favor cannabis use in the treatment of Alzheimer’s. She claims that “cannabinoids succeed in preventing the neurodegenerative process occurring in the disease.”
3. May treat the inflammatory bowel diseases
University of Nottingham researchers found that chemicals in marijuana, including THC and cannabidiol, combine with cells in the body that play an important role in gut function and immune responses. THC-like compounds made by the body increase the permeability of the intestines, allowing bacteria in. The plant-derived cannabinoids in marijuana block these body-cannabinoids, preventing this permeability and making the intestinal cells bond together tighter.
4. May protect the brain after a stroke and from bouts of epilepsy
Research from the University of Nottingham shows that marijuana may help protect the brain from damage caused by stroke, by reducing the size of the area affected by the stroke. Some research shows that the plant may help protect the brain after other traumatic events, like concussions. There is also research from proving that there are anti-convulsant benefits in patients that suffer from epilepsy.
5. May reduce some of the pain and nausea from chemo and stimulate appetite
Research has shown time and time again that marijuana use has helped reduce nausea in chemotherapy patients. Cancer patients being treated with chemotherapy suffer from nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. Marijuana can help reduce these side effects, alleviating pain, decreasing nausea, and stimulating the appetite.
6. May ease the pain of sclerosis
The THC in the pot binds to receptors in the nerves and muscles to relieve pain. Jody Corey-Bloom researched 30 sclerosis patients with contractions in their muscles. These patients didn’t respond to other treatments, until smoking marijuana within a few days they felt less pain. Patients that participated in this study reported improved spasticity, muscle spasms, and quality of sleep.
7. May relieve arthritis pain
There is evidence stating the effect that those without cannabinoid receptors were more likely to develop osteoporosis. Marijuana alleviates pain which may help relieve pain and discomfort for people with rheumatoid arthritis as researchers announced in 2011. Researchers from rheumatology units at multiple hospitals gave their patients Sativex, a cannabinoid-based pain-relieving medicine. After a short time, people on Sativex had a major reduction in pain and improved compared to placebo users.
8. May be used to treat Glaucoma
Marijuana use can be used to treat and prevent the eye disease glaucoma, which increases pressure in the eyeball, damaging the optic nerve and causing loss of vision. According to the National Eye Institute: “Studies in the early 1970s showed that marijuana, when smoked, lowered intraocular pressure (IOP) in people with normal pressure and those with glaucoma.”
- Chemical found in Marijuana may help prevent cancer from spreading
Cancer is the number one killer in the United States, with lung cancer leading as the most deadly form. There has also been significant research proving that cannabinoids such as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) has anti-tumor effects against brain cancer, leukemia, lung cancer.
Researchers at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco reported in 2007 that cannabidiol, or CBD, a chemical found in marijuana, may help prevent cancer from spreading. Cannabidiol stops cancer by turning off a gene called Id-1, the study, published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, found. Cancer cells make more copies of this gene than non-cancerous cells, and it helps them spread through the body.
Researchers studied breast cancer cells in the lab that had high expression levels of Id-1 and treated them with cannabidiol. After treatment, the cells had decreased Id-1 expression and were less aggressive spreaders.
10. May have The Power To Fight The Spread Of HIV
Marijuana and the chemicals present within the plant have multitudes of medicinal benefits. A recent study has even depicted that tetrhydrocannabinol (THC, the active ingredient in marijuana) can even help stop the spread of HIV, a deadly retrovirus which can develop into a life-threatening autoimmune disease called AIDS. It is even said that the utilization of this chemical can assist those who are within the late stages of AIDS. Research has also proven that cannabinoids, which are marijuana-like compounds, have yielded powerful anti-viral effects against HIV infection. These compounds also lessened nausea, neuropathic pain, and bodily weakness in patients suffering from the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Another study by UCLA, however, does state that smoking marijuana could harm HIV patients because the smoke could cause airway injury and suppresses the immune or exposes patients to an added burden of pathogens, but the marijuana smoke versus cannabinoids is unknown. Therefore, using cannabis in the treatment of HIV should be exercised with caution and monitored by a health professional.