While the Drug Enforcement Agency, or the D.E.A, categorizes marijuana as a Schedule I drug, it is still believed that marijuana should be legalized for medical use. A Schedule I drug is a drug which is viewed as having no medical use. Many individuals, however, attest that it does have medical advantages, and that it should be legalized in the medical community. In fact, 23 states and DC have legalized cannabis in small amounts for medical use. ProCon.org
Cannabis is the name of the marijuana plant; it is defined as the whole plant, from stalk to leaf. The cannabis plant has been studied in medical communities, but due to its Schedule I assignment, it is very difficult for researchers to find plants grown to the exact standards necessary for research. Despite this setback, the medical community has discovered a list of benefits coming from the plant, especially in its pill form.
Glaucoma, Arthritis, and Other Aging Symptoms
Cannabis has been found to be very effective against glaucoma by decreasing the pressure inside the eye. The National Eye Institute has presented studies conducted since 1970 which prove that smoked marijuana lowered Intraocular pressure (IOP) in those with both normal pressure and glaucoma. While pharmaceutical drugs were proven more effective, marijuana did slow the progression of glaucoma. Marijuana has also proven to protect the brain after a stroke. Specific research from the University of Nottingham proved that marijuana will reduce the size of the brain in the area where the stroke happened, protecting the brain from future strokes. Further, THC, the active chemical in the plant, might help slow Alzheimer’s disease. The Scripps Research Institute suggests that further study is needed, but current research shows that THC might be slowing the formation of plaques in the brain, possibly leading to Alzheimer’s Disease. Finally, the plant can relieve arthritis pain by reducing inflammation and promoting sleep. Both components of marijuana, THC and CBD, have anti-inflammatory properties, making the plant invaluable in inflammatory issues.
Marijuana may be able to help kill cancer cells in addition to reversing the carcinogenic effects of tobacco. There is a great amount of evidence that marijuana does not harm the lungs as much as tobacco, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Additionally, CBD may slow down the spread of cancer by combating a gene called Id-1, which is the gene cancer copies most. Studies completed by California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco found that cancer cells in the lab, treated with cannabidiol, became much less active and less likely to spread. The plant can also reduce the pain and nausea from chemo, and it helps stimulate appetite. Other studies prove that CBD could reduce brain tumors.
Marijuana has been proven to prevent epileptic seizures in rats, thanks to THC, one of the active chemicals in the plant. THC binds the brain cells responsible for excitability and helps regulate relaxation, reducing seizures. Marijuana also helps reduce the symptoms of Dravet syndrome, which is a severe seizure disorder. A strain of the plant high in CBD and low in THC seems to work best to reduce the seizures and help sufferers live a more normal life.
Marijuana could help decrease anxiety, reduce nightmares, help with PTSD, and help a person quit drinking. Anxiety may be reduced through low doses of the drug by relieving pain and helping improve mood. PTSD can also be treated with the drug, and is already approved in some states to treat the illness. New Mexico’s number one reason for citizens getting a medical marijuana card is PTSD. CBD is the active ingredient which helps calm PTSD sufferers. Additionally, while more research is necessary on the topic, marijuana might help reduce severe nightmares. The drug interrupts REM sleep, which is both bad and good news – those without severe nightmares need REM, however, those with terrible dreams can eliminate the dreams by interrupting REM sleep. Finally, marijuana can help individuals stop drinking. While marijuana is not without its side effects, it is much less addictive than alcohol and does less damage. Alcoholism involves a disruption in the endocannabinoid system, which is why some researchers believe cannabis helps patients reduce alcohol consumption.
Marijuana and its active ingredients help ease symptoms of multiple sclerosis, hepatitis C, Crohn’s Disease, and Parkinson’s Disease. A Canadian study found that marijuana might ease the pain associated with multiple sclerosis. The study found that sufferers who smoked reported less pain after only a few days. Hepatitis C treatment, as it stands now, is very harsh, with a number of side effects. Many patients cannot finish the treatment because of the side effects. However, when the treatment is paired with marijuana, Hep C patients are more likely to complete treatment and get better faster. Crohn’s Disease is also helped by marijuana, according to the University of Nottingham. Both THC and CBD interact with cells to improve stomach function and immunity responses. The THC helps improve good bacteria in the intestines, while the CBD helps bind cells together, increasing digestive processes. Finally, marijuana is believed to help stop tremors in Parkinson’s patients, according to an Israeli study.
Medical marijuana is under scrutiny, but if the DEA lifts the Schedule I ban, the drug can be researched better and could be used for future medical healing. Please contact the Vancouver Home Healthcare Agency with any questions on the topic.
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