After the rise of the recreational use of marijuana in the early 20th century, The Controlled Substance Act of 1970 listed it as a Schedule 1 drug. The active ingredient THC was responsible and possession meant you would be arrested. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration finally approved THC for research in 1985. This lead the way for government-sponsored studies to investigate THC’s effect on conditions like nausea and appetite-loss for chemotherapy patients. More studies followed, and today research points to at least five health benefits of what’s now called cannabis in the medical world that may surprise you.
1. Slow or Stop the Growth of Cancer Cells
One study found the cannabis derivative cannabidiol can turn off a gene known as Id-1 found in cancer cells. Researchers at San Francisco’s California Pacific Medical Center experimented on breast cancer cells in a lab treating them with cannabidiol. The outcome was positive, and today the American Association for Cancer Research reports that cannabis actually slows tumor growth at least in the breasts, brain, and lungs.
2. Treat Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a condition in which eye-pressure damages your optic nerve to the point of blindness when left untreated. The National Eye Institute says that cannabis lowers the pressure. Their conclusion was the result of studies done in the 1970s.
3. Relieve Arthritis
By 2011 researchers reported that cannabis can ease the pain and inflammation of arthritis and promote sleep. They gave patients a drug called Sativex, a cannabinoid-based pain reliever. Patients placed on the drug noted significant pain reduction in two weeks compared to a placebo.
4. Treat Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
Studies suggest that sufferers of Crohn’s and other inflammatory bowel diseases can benefit from cannabis. The chemicals in it interact with cells that play a role in the digestive and immune systems. Your body naturally makes a chemical similar to THC that makes the intestines more susceptible to bacteria. The plant-derived THC in cannabis works to block this harmful “body-THC.”
5. Healing for the Brain
Cannabis shows possibilities of helping heal the brain after TBI. An experiment using mice showed it lessens brain bruising. A study done in 2003 proved cannabis can control epileptic seizures. Cannabis extract was given to epileptic rats and their seizures stopped. Cannabis has also been shown to slow the formation of amyloid plaques which can lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
If you suffer from a condition or disease that cannabis can help, you’ll find it interesting that marijuana was used as a medicine in Europe as early as 500 AD. It was used in the United States for labor pains, nausea, and rheumatism from 1850 to 1942. Currently, there are about 24 states that have adopted some type of medical cannabis legislation.