For centuries, people have used marijuana for medicinal, recreational, and even religious reasons. Although there are various opinions on using cannabis, many people in the United States feel like it should be allowed to be used as a medicine. Nearly half of the states, including Pennsylvania, have already voted for medical cannabis use. With this national change of attitude, researchers are finding profound ways that cannabis can be used to treat different ailments and diseases.
There have been several studies that show great promise for marijuana in cancer treatment. Cannabis has active ingredients such as THC and CBD. Researchers found that these ingredients can affect the genetic composition of cancer cells and stop them from spreading. The anti-inflammatory characteristics of cannabis decrease the growth of blood vessels that can feed tumors. Cannabis has been effective in treating many types of cancers in the body.
Those who are taking chemotherapy for cancer usually suffer from severe nausea and loss of appetite. Many who use cannabis report that they have a better appetite and less nausea during treatment.
Epilepsy and other seizure disorders make life difficult for those who suffer with them. Many patients dislike the side effects that accompany seizure medication. In studies conducted with cannabis, patients often found relief from their seizures. THC and CBD help the body relax by affecting cells in the brain that are responsible for excitability. Patients have fewer seizures, say the reports.
Since research has shown how effective medical marijuana is for relieving pain and inflammation, it shows great potential for easing the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. Sativex, a drug that contains active ingredients of cannabis, has given arthritis patients pain relief and better quality of sleep.
Stroke can cause great trauma in the brain. Areas of the brain affected by the stroke were lessened with cannabis therapy. It also reduces bruising of the brain that is caused by concussions.
Active ingredients in cannabis can slow the progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s. In this debilitating disease, brain cells are destroyed by a substance called amyloidal plaques. Cannabis blocks the enzymes in the brain that are responsible for producing these plaques.
Studies done with patients who suffer with anxiety show that cannabis can be sedating. These effects lower anxiety and boosts mood. In controlled doses, it has helped soldiers and other trauma victims who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
• Bowel disorders
Inflammatory bowel disorders such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease have also benefited from cannabis therapy. It does so by regulating the healthy bacteria in the stomach and intestines. Cannabis can also block substances in the body that make the intestine walls thinner and permeable. Some patients have seen complete remission with Crohn’s disease after using cannabis.
• Hepatitis C
Side effects from hepatitis C treatments can be harsh. Patients often report nausea, fatigue, appetite loss, muscle pain, and depression. It can last for long periods of time. In a European study, viral levels were kept lower in patients who smoked cannabis. A majority of these people completed their hepatitis C treatments with fewer side effects.