The use of marijuana has been extremely controversial through the years and largely the drug has been considered illegal in most parts of the country. However, recent legislation has seen changes and some states in America now permit the possession and use of marijuana on a restricted basis. The drug has also undergone intensive research for a very long period, and it appears that there are a number of benefits associated with the use of marijuana. However, many of the findings remain contentious, and readers are advised to seek appropriate professional medical advice before attempting any treatment with marijuana.
Glaucoma is an ailment of the eye wherein the pressure inside the eyeball increases and can result in loss of vision due to the resultant optic nerve damage. According to the National Eye Institute, the use of marijuana lowers the intraocular pressure and the use of the drug may thus prevent blindness as it can slow down the progress of glaucoma.
Improvement of Lung Health
A January 2012 report in the Journal of the American Medical Association observes that the use of marijuana not only improves the health of lung but also improves its capacity. Thus users of tobacco who are known to lose lung capacity may actually benefit by smoking pot. The 20-year study of over 5000 young adults has been countered with a view that it is not therapeutic effect of marijuana but the improvement in lung capacity may actually be due to the practice of taking deeper breaths while inhaling marijuana smoke.
Epileptic Seizure Control
A study conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University and published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics showed that epileptic rats when given marijuana extract did not get epileptic seizures for around 10 hours. The presence of some active ingredients in marijuana such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), supposedly bind to the cells in the brain that are responsible for regulating relaxation and controlling excitability thereby controlling seizures.
Decreases Symptoms of Dravet's Syndrome
A study in the US with children has demonstrated the efficacy of marijuana in reducing the incidence of seizures associated with Dravet's Syndrome. Apparently the cannabidiol content of marijuana interacts with the cells of the brain to subdue the excessive activity causing the seizures. However, both the FDA and the American Academy of Pediatrics do not endorse the therapy.
The cannabidiol content of marijuana, according to the a 2007 study by California Pacific Medical Center is effective in arresting cancer by stopping the progression of Id-1, a gene in the human body. There are some studies that report that the chemicals in weed can even kill off the cancerous cells.
Users of medical marijuana have claimed that the practice helps them to suppress nausea and relieve pain. Due to this, marijuana has often been used to give relief to persons who have undergone chemotherapy. A 2010 Harvard Medical School research suggests that reduced anxiety levels may actually be the drug’s benefit.
Alzheimer's disease Slowdown
A 2006 study conducted by the Scripps Research Institute that was published in the Molecular Pharmaceutics journal seeks to establish that the THC content in marijuana is responsible for slowing down amyloid plaque formation as it blocks the enzyme that makes it in the brain. Alzheimer’s is caused when brain cells are killed by these plaques.
Easing of Pain of Multiple Sclerosis
A research paper in the Canadian Medical Association Journal suggests that the many painful symptoms of the disease of multiple sclerosis can be relieved by the use of marijuana. A 30-patient study of patients who suffered from painful muscle contractions indicates a better relief from pain when they smoked marijuana for a small period. Marijuana is also helpful in treating other types of spasms in muscles.
Aids Treatment of Hepatitis C
There are numerous and harsh side-effects associated with the treatment of hepatitis C. These include nausea, muscle ache, fatigue, appetite loss and even depression. The severity of the side-effects often forces patients to discontinue treatment. A European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatologystudy conducted in 2006 establishes that an overwhelming majority of patients who smoke marijuana were able to successfully complete the therapy due to their being able to overcome the side-effects. Also, the marijuana treatment seems to improve the efficacy of the treatment with more than half the patients reporting lower viral levels.
Helps Treating Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
Studies suggest that the use of marijuana can assist in the treatment of ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. The THC and cannabidiol contained in marijuana interact with body cells that play a vital role in the function of the responses of the gut and the immune system. The intestine permeability is increased by the THC-like compounds manufactured by the body but the cannabinoids chemicals in marijuana are able to block them.
Author bio: Dr. June Thomasson has conducted extensive research on the impact of marijuana and other addictive plant-based substances on human health. She has been a strong advocate for liberalization of the regulations governing the use of medical marijuana Colorado.