In 2018, 29 states have legalized marijuana for at least medical purposes. Despite the popularity of legalizing medical marijuana, many people still don?t understand the health benefits.
Here are some seldom discussed and often surprising benefits of medical marijuana.
Improving lung function
This may sound like a claim in an article from The Onion. However, a 2012 article in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that marijuana smokers actually have better long function than nonsmokers.
Researchers are still trying to understand the link. It may be due to the fact they need to take deeper breaths to inhale cannabis, which increases lung volume, rather than a chemical property of cannabis.
Minimizing the risk of epilepsy
A 2003 Study from Virginia Commonwealth University discovered an inverse correlation between marijuana use and the risk of epileptic seizures. The research found that cannabinoids can trigger the CB1 receptor, which is located in the part of the brain used for storing memory and regulating the nervous system. This protein plays an important role in regulating the flight or fight responses most people experience.
The study further showed that cannabis therapy could play an important role in minimizing the risks of seizures by suppressing excitability tendencies in patients with epilepsy. Dr. Robert J. DeLorenzo M.D., Ph.D. with the VCU Department of Neurology, said that the research could be a medical breakthrough in epileptic treatment, but would require further follow-up research.
“This study indicates that cannabinoids may offer unique advantages in treating seizures compared with currently prescribed anticonvulsants,” DeLorenzo said. “It shows not only the anticonvulsant activity of exogenously applied cannabinoids but also suggests that the brain’s cannabinoid system works to limit seizure duration by activating the CB1 receptor. Understanding the factors that contribute to seizure initiation and termination has important implications for our ability to treat epilepsy and for the potential development of novel anticonvulsant agents.”
Mild benefits in patients with Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a vision disorder caused by damage to the optic nerve. It affects 1.9% of the population over the age of 40, which is over 2.7 million adults in the United States. Recent research has shown that smoking marijuana can minimize swelling of the optic nerve and reduce pressure on the eye, which minimizes dangers caused by glaucoma.
However, medical marijuana cannot be used as a substitute for other glaucoma treatments. The Glaucoma Research Foundation states that patients would need to smoke marijuana 6 to 8 times a day to continuously receive the benefits of it, as the benefits only last for 3 to 4 hours after ingesting cannabinoids.
Slowing the progression of cancer
In 2007, a team of researchers from San Francisco discovered that Cannabinol, a chemical property in cannabis could slow the spreading of cancer by deactivating the Id-1 gene. The research specifically focused on the use of cannabis to combat breast cancer, but the findings could be easily transferable to treating other forms of cancer as well.
The authors stated that this was a profound breakthrough. They said that open till that date, virtually all cancer treatments required invasive surgeries, radiation therapy and other treatments that causes trauma to the rest of the body. Their treatment was the first non-toxic and non-invasive alternative. It could have substantial health benefits for cancer patients trying to avoid the side effects of more aggressive cancer treatments.
Medical marijuana has many surprising health benefits
There are more health benefits of medical marijuana than the average person realizes. Patients should speak with their doctor to learn more about the latest research on medical marijuana and see if they can pursue it as a treatment.