Medical benefits of using marijuana
Cannabis is quite famous for its recreational use. Less is known about its several medical benefits which have before now been largely unexplored as it was deemed illegal across the US. With the increase in the number of states legalizing the use – recreational and medical – of marijuana, people in these states can explore the use of marijuana for medical treatment.
Medical conditions like AIDS and cancer usually cause a loss of appetite. Using cannabis can lead to an increase in appetite which can help patients maintain their body mass index (BMI). Recreational users tend to binge eat due to an increase in appetite called ‘the munchies’.
Those with feeding disorders like anorexia can also take advantage of the appetite-boosting effect of cannabis.
Some experts are of the belief that cannabis can protect the brain in the event of a stroke. Researchers at the University of Nottingham reviewed the benefits of cannabis in the treatment of stroke victims in 2013. The study showed that cannabinoids held a promise to help reduce the effect of stroke due to its neuroprotective ability.
So far, trials have been restricted to animals. Evaluations on humans will still need to be made.
There are a few studies that show a direct effect of cannabis on diabetes. However, researchers are looking into the treatment of type 2 diabetes with chemical compounds found in cannabis.
Recreational users of cannabis had lower insulin levels, lower cases of obesity compared to non-users. There were also fewer cases of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease among users. Also, a 2012 study showed that cannabis users had lower rates of diabetes mellitus when compared to non-users.
Nausea and vomiting among cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy are common. The use of cannabis reduces this among patients. Research carried out on mice showed that cannabinoids could target cancer cells and kill them.
In a similar research conducted in 2007 at Harvard University concluded that THC might also reduce sizes of lung tumor implants in lab rats. Reported reduction in sizes was found to be as high as half the initial weight.
Glaucoma is caused by an intraocular pressure in the eye that results in partial or total loss of sight. A study carried out in 1971 showed that cannabis reduced the pressure in the eyes of some of the patients by 30%. This can be traced to the antioxidant and neuroprotective properties found in cannabis. Scientists also believe that these compounds, owing to their neuroprotective capabilities, can help protect the optic nerve.
Pains and tremors are commonly associated with Parkinson’s disease. A 2013 research conducted in Israel gave results of a decrease in symptoms for a 2-3 hours after administering cannabis.
A separate survey conducted in 2004 by the Movement Disorder Society showed that the use of cannabis among patients suffering from the ailment was quite common.
Cannabis may also be useful for particular liver disorders according to a 2011 study which showed the benefits of CBD, a compound found in cannabis.
CBD is believed to help target hepatic stellate cells that cause liver scarring to reduce the severity of the scarring.
THC was used to test three patients with cholestatic liver disease during a 2002 study. Although there were noticeable improvements, the study had few test subjects and excluded a control group.