Cannabis Medical Effects
In the modern age of prescription pills and their nasty side effects being pushed on the populous in large quantities to help alieve simple ailments many have looked away from this trend and have started to explore the old medicines. Arguably the most promising of these medicines has surprisingly been the simple, if sordid, plant Cannabis. Chronic pain sufferers feel less of a need for prescription pills, multiple sclerosis patients report less severe muscle spasms, even those with inflammatory bowel disease can eat again while using Cannabis. Many more patients of various mental and physical disorders report positive effects on their health while using Cannabis. Though it is still illegal in many countries, Cannabis research goes on.
The discovery of a system in the human brain that responds to 60 different chemicals found in Cannabis, called the endocannabinoid system, has spurred researched on for nearly 20 years as this system plays many roles in the regulation of all the body’s different systems. The hope is that by researching Cannabis and its effects on the body they will be able to fine tune some of the chemicals in Cannabis to be able to target specific conditions. This area of medical Cannabis research can be seen as a bit of a combination between the pharmaceutical companies wishing to keep things measured and dosed in pill forms, while still seeing the benefits of medical Cannabis. There is, however, plenty of research backing up regular old Cannabis use as medically beneficial to many different patients.
Famously, Cannabis has been used in great success to help treat glaucoma sufferers. Glaucoma patients suffer from a condition in which pressure builds up behind their eyeballs causing damage and pain to the optic nerve eventually causing loss of vision. As early as the 1970s evidence became available through testing done within the US government that showed, when smoked, Cannabis lowered intraocular pressure (IOP) in both people of normal pressure and those with glaucoma. The use of Cannabis may be effective in slowing the progression of glaucoma, helping sufferers to maintain their sight longer.
Another benefit to the smoking of Cannabis, which may come as a surprise for many, is that there is no study that has proven any link between Cannabis smoke and lung damage. In fact, the opposite has been shown; that Cannabis use actually has the effect of increasing lung function in tobacco smokers even going so far as to reverse some of the damage caused by Tobacco smoking. Interestingly, there were many cases of increased lung capacity in the Cannabis users even versus the non-smokers in the study. It is not entirely clear what the process is that this increase comes from, possibly just the simple deep breathing exercise that constitutes smoking, but the results were consistent.
Epileptic seizure sufferers and sufferers of the sever Dravet’s Syndrome seizure disorder have shown to have a tremendous decrease in the frequency and severity of their seizures while under the effects of Cannabis. In the case of epileptic seizures Cannabis completely rid epileptic rats of their seizures for around 10 hours per dose. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is the chemical at play here which controls seizures by binding to cells in the endocannabinoid system that control relaxation and excitability. However, with the suffers of Dravet’s Syndrome the chemical involved in actually Cannabidiol (CBD). This works by slowing down and quieting the over-activity involved in the patient’s brains bringing their seizure counts, which can be as high as multiple hundreds per week, down to much more manageable levels.
Many aggressive forms of metastatic cancer can actually be slowed, or even stopped, with the help of Cannabis. Cannabidiol or CBD is the non-psychoactive compound in Cannabis, meaning there is no “high” involved with its use. However, it has shown to have the ability to turn off the gene, Id-1, responsible in cancer cells that allows them to make more copies versus non-cancerous cells and spread throughout the body. Breast cancer cells treated with this substance became less aggressive and their expression of this gene had decreased.
THC is known to have a few negative stereotypes about its use, namely paranoia and anxiety. Interestingly enough, though, is that testing of low doses of THC have been incredibly beneficial to those suffering from anxiety issues. This study actually came about while studying chemotherapy patients who were using Cannabis for pain and nausea suppression, it showed that some of the pain and nausea relief actually came about through lowered anxiety levels. High doses still have the risk of anxiety, so one must use caution if using for this purpose.
Amyloid plaques formation is the main cause of Alzheimer’s disease. When these forms they kill brain cells, eventually leading the patient into the sad state of advanced Alzheimer’s disease. Cannabis, again, has been shown to be useful here as the THC in it help slow down the advancement of these plaques as well as reduces any inflammation aids in the body’s repair process of the brain allowing the sufferer to maintain clarity longer into their life.
One of the largest debilitations of modern living is the constant bombardment we have of sugary products. Yet, despite the munchies that Cannabis is famous for regular users of Cannabis tend to be skinnier than the average population. Research into this odd dichotomy turned up that Cannabis use is actually very good for your metabolism. They have a more consistent and healthier metabolic rate and their insulin hormone levels while eating sugar products show a healthier response.
There are many more benefits Cannabis has to offer from headache relief to simple relaxation help, but it’s easy to see now why our body has developed the ability to react to this plant. It offers a world of relief for all types of patients and sufferers from severe cases of life threatening diseases to the less so. Many people may benefit from medical Cannabis given the opportunity to do so as the legalization effort marches ever more forward.