March 28, 2018

The Health Benefits of Marijuana

March 28, 2018
green-cannabis-plant-3536257
With marijuana now more accessible than ever, more researchers are weighing in on its health effects.

The image of marijuana use has come a long way from the days of Cheech & Chong and the hippie movement. It has even come a long way since the modern stoner movement seen in Seth Rogen comedies like “Pineapple Express”. Those movies are good for a laugh but the current push to decriminalize and legitimize marijuana use has led to a movement of people advocating for its use in medicine.

Despite the fact that marijuana is still listed as a Schedule 1 drug—the most serious classification, ahead of even cocaine—research is being done on the health benefits of marijuana use. So far, the research being done on marijuana indicates that the negative stigma surrounding its use may have stunted the acceptance and use of a plant with many advantageous applications.

Marijuana in Epilepsy Treatment

When it comes to marijuana, there are two abbreviations you need to know; they are THC and CBD. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is what causes the euphoric, high feeling in marijuana users. CBD, or cannabidiol, does not cause any psychoactive effects and is associated with the beneficial effects of marijuana. One of those benefits is as an epilepsy treatment, especially in young children.

People who suffer from epilepsy often have frequent and debilitating seizures. Studies have been conducted on epilepsy sufferers who tried other antiepileptic drugs without success. They were provided with CBD and the result was that the majority of them showed an improvement in the frequency and duration of their seizures, namely, a reduction in both. Other studies have shown that CBD can function as an effective anticonvulsant and even as an anxiolytic. More study needs to be done but the results so far have been promising.

Marijuana and CTE

Even people who don’t watch or care about sports knows about the NFL’s concussion crisis. In particular, the prevalence of the degenerative brain disease, CTE, that is caused by repeated concussions and blows to the head. CTE means Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and its effects are devastating, they include:

  • impaired judgement
  • confusion
  • unwarranted aggression
  • memory loss
  • depression
  • suicidal tendencies
  • Parkinson’s Disease-like symptoms
  • progressive dementia

CTE can also affect people in other professions who are at risk of repeated head injury, such as soldiers, or athletes who play other contact sports like soccer or hockey.

Needless to say, no one wants to suffer from this disease and medical marijuana could prevent that from happening. The reason is that cannabis works as a neuroprotective agent, which means that it can protect the brain from injury and trauma. Cannabis can also help restore blood flow to the brain. This is important because brain injuries can cause the release of chemicals that cause vasoconstriction, which inhibits the brain’s blood supply, exacerbating an already dreadful condition. The restoration of blood flow can help to heal an injured brain. Strains like the Laughing Buddha weed bud is excellent to treat depression and stress.

With so much promise shown, one would expect the NFL to embrace the potential of medical marijuana. Unfortunately, they are reluctant to support the use of marijuana in any form. Hopefully that will change sometime soon because athletes should not have to suffer for the sport they love.

Marijuana and Your Pets

So far, all we’ve shown you so far has dealt with how marijuana affects humans but did you know they can be helpful to your pets as well? Yes it’s true, the CBD from cannabis can be beneficial to most animals. It can help them with anxiety problems, age related aches and pains, seizures, anxiety, and arthritis. You can administer these via tinctures or CBD infused food. You should absolutely not let animals ingest the marijuana plant directly. This could cause extremely serious problems, up to, and including, death. So keep Fido away from any herb you may have lying around, it’s not for him.

The Future of Medical Marijuana

So what does the future hold for marijuana as a prescription drug? It has already been tentatively accepted as marijuana laws have loosened to allow the use of medical marijuana in some states. However, it has not yet reached widespread acceptance and the future of marijuana research and acceptance is in doubt because the current Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, is staunchly anti-marijuana.

Fortunately, Congress has approved a spending bill that includes protection for legal medical marijuana patients and businesses until September 30, 2018. There is also a move by bipartisan members of Congress to include protections for medical marijuana in the fiscal year of 2019. So medical marijuana is protected for now. The next step is getting it removed from its Schedule 1 classification so that research can be conducted on all the potential benefits it can offer to patients across the nation.

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