Clearing the Smoke: The Science-backed Health Benefits of Cannabis
January 28th, 2019
Being prescribed pot by a doctor back in the ancient times was not exactly a rarity. The cannabis plant’s medical history dates back to 2900 B.C. in China. It was also included in the U.S. pharmacopeia throughout the 1800s, prior to its classification as a ‘Schedule 1’ narcotic.
Since the plant has been hailed for its medicinal potential, ignorantly stuffing it into the same category as addictive and dangerous illicit substances – like heroin and LSD – is pretty barbaric. Thankfully, today’s doctors are waking up to the medical potential of cannabis.
Scientists and researchers are digging up the true facts about this unique green plant’s bundle of therapeutic uses. In September of last year, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) rescheduled medicines containing CBD (cannabidiol) to Schedule 5, so long as they don’t contain more than 0.1 percent of the psychoactive cannabinoid known as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
This allowed for the sale of the first non synthetic, cannabis-derived medicine to gain federal approval – Epidiolex. It was created by a company called GW Pharmaceuticals. GW is based in the United Kingdom, where medical cannabis legalization has also spread to.
Cannabis: A beneficial addition to everyone’s life?
Are you thinking about introducing cannabis into your life? Perhaps you’re not a consumer, but are considering an investment in the legal weed space? With the global sector forecast to rake in $146.4 billion by the end of 2025, it’s safe to say that the plant is piquing everyone’s curiosity.
After considering the below science-backed benefits of cannabis and its derivatives, e.g. oils and extracts, you’re sure to consider at least one of the above two options:
Numerous studies have cited the pain-relieving benefits of cannabis for chronic pain. Indica strains tend to be stronger painkillers than sativa strains. Combining the psychoactive compound THC with the non-psychoactive compound CBD will stimulate a synergistic effect for long-lasting relief.
Anxiety and/or Depression
Vaping cannabis oil or consuming infused edibles could help to relieve anxiety and depression, with this study stating how low doses of THC proved more effective at promoting relaxation. Start low, go slow is the method advised by healthcare practitioners who prescribe cannabis for anxiety and/or depression.
Anti-tumor and Anti-Cancer Properties
Cannabis’ antitumor properties have been studied in-depth, and the American Cancer Society has even admitted that cannabis kills and inhibits the growth of cancerous cells. Although it cannot be claimed a “cure” for cannabis as such, the plant’s active compounds can help manage a bout of cancer symptoms, including pain, nausea and insomnia.
Contrary to what you might think, cannabis has the potential to treat and prevent psychosis. Studies in animal models expose the plant’s antipsychotic effects. Researchers stated how, in regards to CBD, “laboratory rodents and human studies have shown that this cannabinoid is able to prevent psychotic-like symptoms induced by high doses of Δ(9)- THC.”
A popular treatment for athletes seeking relief from inflammation caused by sports injuries, cannabis boasts anti-inflammatory effects that make it an ideal treatment for people who suffer from arthritis.
Reduces Seizures in Epilepsy
Cannabis-derived medicines – like Epidiolex – are helping to relieve seizures caused by severe forms of epilepsy in children, including Dravet syndrome and lennox-gastaut. Various studies have proven this, with researchers from one study confirming that “both Δ9-THC and CBD can prevent seizures and reduce mortality in animal models of seizure with low toxicity and high tolerability.”
Lowers Risk of Diabetes
A research paper from the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis (AAMC) purported that cannabis can stabilize blood sugars, provide neuroprotective effects, improve circulation, reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, and relieve arterial inflammation experienced by people with diabetes. A separate study revealed a decreased prevalence of diabetes amongst cannabis consumers.
Helps Treat Substance Abuse
Addictive substances, like opioids (e.g. heroin, codeine) can be substituted with cannabis. A study on “Cannabidiol as an Intervention for Addictive Behaviors” demonstrated how CBD influenced the intoxication and relapse phase of opioid addiction.
Cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy will usually experience nausea and vomiting. Lack of appetite and weight loss are also two side effects experienced by people with AIDS. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is well-known for its appetite-stimulating properties, but this study concluded that another cannabinoid called cannabigerol (CBG) is “a novel, well-tolerated appetite stimulant in pre-satiated rats”.
Protect the Brain and Treats Trauma
The U.S. government owns the original patent on cannabinoids and lists them as “Neural Protectants.” In addition to brain protection, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) possesses promise in the treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI) pathology, according to this study.
Promote a Good Night’s Rest
One in four Americans develop insomnia every year. That’s about 25 percent of the U.S. population. A study conducted using the Releaf App showed an average symptom severity reduction of −4.5 points on a 0–10 point visual analogue scale. The study assessed 1056 medical cannabis administration sessions from 409 people suffering with insomnia.
It might still be illegal in many parts of the globe, but the cannabis plant did not sprout out of Planet Earth’s fertile lands by mistake. Even in its purest form, the plant can deliver the human body with a wallop of natural goodness. Heck, our bodies are even equipped with something called an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that triggers various therapeutic responses when exposed to cannabinoids!
A growing body of successful clinical trials and preclinical research are emerging to spotlight cannabis’ therapeutic potential. As legalization spreads, this is sure to restore cannabis’ suitability as a pharmaceutical medicine. Add to this the fact that cannabis legalization has contributed to a steep decline in opioid misuse and, well… let’s leave you to ponder over what you’ve just absorbed, shall we?
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