As marijuana becomes increasingly accepted as an alternative to pharmaceutical treatments, it has also been opened up to greater scrutiny by the scientific community. But recent studies have shown that cannabis isn't as dangerous as many conservative pundits would have us believe. In fact, it might provide significant relief to patients with a wide array of diseases and conditions.
1. CBD prevents breast cancer tumors
Marijuana has been used to effectively help cancer patients for decades, but it was only recently that science suggested it can do much more than prevent nausea and boost appetite. In 2015, research by the Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University showed that the CBD found in marijuana can actually help prevent the growth of tumors in breast cancer patients. This is especially important information, as aggressive breast cancer subtypes have limited therapeutic options and low survival rates.
2. Marijuana prevents epileptic seizures
There has been anecdotal evidence that marijuana has helped epilepsy patients for decades, but in 2013, UK researchers were able to back up these claims with hard science. They discovered that when CBD attaches itself to CB1 receptors, it helps to ease convulsions.
3. THC helps protect the heart
It's been a fairly common practice to give low doses of Aspirin to patients with heart disease as a means to prevent heart attacks, but it seems THC might also do the trick. A 2013 U.S. study indicated that low doses of THC (three to four times lower than the average medical dose) decreased the likelihood of tissue damage following a heart attack.
4. Medical marijuana helps prevent overdoses and addiction
Building on evidence that shows marijuana helps to ease chronic pain, new research suggests that replacing traditional opioid-based painkillers reduces the risk of addiction and ultimately death from overdose. In a study published in 2014, U.S. researchers determined that states with medical marijuana laws had lower rates of overdose and addiction than states that didn't. While further research is required, this does provide support for the legalization of marijuana in other states.
5. THC can reverse cognitive deficits and aid memory
Smoking marijuana and short-term memory loss have a long and storied history, but according to research by South Florida scientists, small amounts of THC can actually help maintain long-term memories by preventing the buildup of toxic plaques. At the same time, CBD can help to reverse the cognitive deficits of Alzheimer's and aid in protecting social recognition.
6. Marijuana keeps you slim
It sounds counter-intuitive to anyone who's had a case of the munchies before, but a 2015 Canadian study found that smoking cannabis might actually help keep you slim. While it's true that marijuana does help patients maintain a healthy appetite, these are only short-term cravings. In the long run, those who consume cannabis are less likely to be obese than non-users.
7. Marijuana aids those with IBS, colitis and Crohn's
We may not like to talk about it, but everybody poops. Problems like Crohn's and irritable bowel syndrome can interfere with a healthy gut and a happy life. A 2010 UK study provided evidence that cannabinoids can aid in proper motility by relaxing the intestines and reducing inflammation.
These studies' findings are highly important to the growth of the medical marijuana community as they show the effectiveness of the bud in treating a wide range of serious conditions. They also add weight to the anecdotes that have been circulated within the marijuana community for years. And, ultimately, research is the key to changing public perceptions of this controversial substance.
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