For thousands of years, cannabis commonly treated ailments such as rheumatism, gout, malaria, and intestinal worms. Despite the restrictions of modern day prohibition, scientists have discovered even more conditions that the plant can help. Here is a list of 20 benefits of medical cannabis that you might not have known about.
1. Cannabis kills cancer
There are many studies that have conclusively shown that cannabis not only slows down cancer, but actually kills the cells, and shrinks tumors. This happens because THC turns off the ID-1 gene, which causes the cancer cells to propagate. CBD, another cannabinoid in the plant, works to enhance this effect.
2. Prevent Alzheimer’s
THC stops the process of Alzheimer’s at the source, and can even reverse the damage the disease causes. Alzheimer’s occurs because of the buildup of beta-Amyloid plaques in the brain. These plaques block the signals of nerve cells and eventually cause them to die. THC blocks the enzyme that creates the plaques.
New studies have also revealed that THC actually holds the cure for Alzheimer’s.
One of the oldest “go-to medical excuses”, this is actually true. Glaucoma occurs from the excess buildup of pressure in the eye, injuring the optic nerve. Cannabis counters this. According to the National Eye Institute:
Studies in the early 1970s showed that marijuana, when smoked, lowered intraocular pressure (IOP) in people with normal pressure and those with glaucoma.
An old remedy in a new age, Sativex, given to rheumatology units at several hospitals, caused a significant reduction in inflammation and pain.
5. Epileptic seizures
THC binds to the brain cells responsible for controlling excitability and relaxation. It is now considered the most effective medicine for reducing or eliminating seizures.
6. Multiple sclerosis
Where other medications fail, cannabis can treat even the most persistent muscle contractions. MS sufferers in legal states have found consistent pain reduction, as well as a fast-acting agent for sudden onset symptoms.
7. Parkinson’s disease
Treating the tremors and pains of Parkinson’s disease, cannabis has made strong impressions in Israeli studies, actually improving fine motor skills among patients.
8. Crohn’s disease
Not only can it treat the symptoms, such as inflamed bowels and nausea, cannabis can actually cure Crohn’s. Cannabinoids in the plant not only normalize intestinal function, they help regulate healthy bacteria.
9. Dravet’s syndrome
A devastating childhood disease, Dravet’s is a severe epileptic condition that also causes developmental delays. Even Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN chief medical correspondent, has had remarkable success treating children who have this condition with cannabis.
By calming the excessive firing of certain neurons in the brain, cannabis helped young Charlotte Figi go from 300 seizures a week to just one. Other children are experiencing similar results. In even the most conservative states, cannabis is being hailed as a miracle medicine for this disease.
10. Hepatitis C
The side effects of Hepatitis C treatment can be so severe that some patients have to stop. Normally the pain, lack of appetite, nausea, fatigue, and severe depression last for months. With cannabis, 86% of patients completed their treatment compared to only 29% without it in a 2006 study.
In addition, it increased the effectiveness of the treatment, helping 54% of patients lower their viral levels compared to only 8% of patients who did not use it.
The relaxing qualities of cannabis offer quick and effective relief of even severe anxiety symptoms in moderate doses. This works on both general anxieties and clinical phobias. Excessive levels of cannabis can make people paranoid, increasing anxiety. For this reason, establishing a mild dose level is important.
12. Lung function
Tobacco ruins lung health. Cannabis, on the other hand, improves it. THC acts on the bronchial passage to dilate it and open up the lungs. Therefore, asthma sufferers hail it as a faster, longer lasting, and safer treatment for asthma attacks than steroid inhalers. Tobacco users benefit from its use for reversing some of the damage they have accumulated over time.
13. Overcoming chemotherapy
One of the most common uses for cannabis is to treat the devastating side effects of chemotherapy for cancer patients. It increases appetite, reduces nausea, and eases pain. Cannabis makes the treatment more effective, as it battles cancer directly.
It is so effective, that there have been several medicines made from synthetic versions of cannabis given FDA approval for the purpose. However, even these knockoffs do not work as well as the real thing.
Lupus sufferers deal with their own bodies attacking them. Cannabis helps not only with the pain, inflammation, and nausea, but acts to normalize the immune system as well, calming symptoms.
15. Traumatic brain injury
Cannabis acts as a neuroprotectant. People with even small levels of cannabis in their systems, the equivalent of once a week use, are 80% less likely to die from traumatic brain injury. The chronic damage that repeat concussions, such as those suffered by NFL players, causes can be minimized by using cannabis.
For those who have dealt with any form of PTSD, especially combat related veteran sufferers, cannabis provides incredible relief. It reduces the anxiety, stress, & depression.
Perhaps even more significantly, it reduces dreaming, allowing them to avoid nightmares.
17. Chronic muscle spasms
Leeuwenhoek’s Disease causes a fluttering of the diaphragm and abdominal muscles. These spasms are extremely painful, and can cause difficulty breathing or speaking. One spasm attack takes a toll on the body roughly equivalent to running 20 miles. Cannabis calms these spasm attacks in seconds.
Ulcerative colitis, one of a host of inflammatory bowel diseases including Crohn’s, also finds a friend in cannabis. The bodies natural cannabinoids normally regulate the permeability of the intestine lining. When IBS throws this process out of equilibrium, cannabis can help bring it back in balance.
Unlike normal bowel treatments, cannabis does not cause diarrhea or constipation, it instead returns the body to the ideal state.
19. Night terrors
Severe nightmares, or night terrors, affect millions of people. A symptom of PTSD, certain neurological disorders, or even a side effect of certain medications, this can wreak havoc on sleep. Cannabis disrupts the REM sleep cycle, giving victims deep, dreamless slumber.
Regular users of cannabis who quit for a period of time may experience more vivid dreaming, so caution may be advisable if night terrors are severe and chronic.
Cannabis helps stroke victims heal faster by reducing the area of the brain affected by the stroke. The neurogenerative properties of cannabis help to restore mental functions, by causing new brain cells to grow.
These are just 20 conditions the plant treats, there are so many more. What do you use it to treat? Tell us on social media or in the comments below.
His other positions include Co-founder and product design for Cool Vapes and Creative Director for Ergrow Systems.
He is also Founder / President / Creative Director for The Official Cannabis Book of World Records.
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