There has been a lot of talk over the past years about the health benefits of marijuana and CBD products. Many people believe that there are a lot of health benefits from the substance and that it can help with a number of different health and medical conditions.
However, on the other side of the coin are a number of people who are against the legalization of marijuana and believe that it can lead to an increase in social disturbances and other issues.
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The history of marijuana
There is written evidence of cannabis being used as far back as 2700 B.C. in China, where they were mentioned in the writings of Emperor Shen Nung. The writings focused on the product as a form of medication that helped conditions such as malaria, rheumatism and even gout. Though there was some mention of the psychoactive properties of the cannabis plant, the writings of the Emperor were more dedicated to the medicinal benefits.
The use of the plant spread from China to India and Korea, North-East Africa and then into Europe. An ancient papyrus from Egypt dating from 1500 B.C. includes a reference to cannabis as a way that inflammation could be treated. Between 800 – 1000 A.D., it was beginning to be mentioned in the Arab world.
During the 1500s, cannabis was brought over to what is now known as America, where it was intended that it would be grown for the hemp values and used for products such as bags and also clothing.
Cannabis for medical purposes
During the second half of the 1800s and the early part of the 1900s, cannabis started developing a reputation as a recreational drug, and something that gave users a high sensation. The use of it for recreational purposes continued to grow and soon you could start finding various accessories for the drug including things such as grinders, and in the United States, it was classified as a Scheduled 1 Drug by the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.
Marijuana for medical purposes is a similar product to that of recreational marijuana, and the plant and chemicals that it produces is used to help treat a number of medical conditions and diseases. The plant actually contains over 100 different cannabinoids, which are chemicals that have a different effect on our bodies. The main chemicals that are used in medicines are THC (Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).
California was the first US state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes back in 1996, and since then a large number of other states have all passed legislation for the use of medical marijuana.
Medical benefits from marijuana
There have been a large number of studies and research carried out over the past few decades to determine just what type of benefits to our health can be derived from medical marijuana. Out of all the various cannabinoids that come from marijuana, cannabidiol (CBD) is probably the most widely studied.
CBD only contains very small amounts of THC, which is the compound that can give you the high and have hallucinogenic effects. It is said that there may be up to 40% CBD in cannabis plants and as it is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties that can affect our bodies nervous system, there are potentially many benefits that it can have.
In the rest of this article, we will take a look at some of the benefits of medical marijuana.
Many people use medical marijuana to alleviate pain. Some research has shown that the pain perceptions pathways in and around the brain can be modified by the cannabinoids in medical marijuana, and as such, can help individuals who are suffering from chronic pain by conditions such as arthritis, endometriosis and fibromyalgia.
Medical marijuana has proven to be very successful at reducing pain and discomfort in people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. The marijuana can help to reduce inflammation, and is also known to promote sleep, which is a great way to relieve pain.
It has also been shown to be effective with people that suffer from multiple sclerosis, and medical marijuana can have an affect on the muscles spasms and neurological effects caused by the condition.
Finally, it is also worth mentioning that it has also been used successfully to help individuals that suffer with Parkinson’s disease. Studies have shown that pain levels and tremors have been reduced with medical marijuana, as well as being able to improve the quality of sleep for sufferers.
Fights against cancer
One of the major medical benefits of marijuana is said to be that it can help reduce the spread of cancer cells in the body. A number of studies have shown, such as that at the California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) in 2007, that cannabinoids have helped to slow down and even stop some forms of cancer cells from spreading around the body.
In addition to tests on breast cancer cells that were used in the studies by the CPMC, there were also others carried out by the American Association for Cancer Research, that showed that marijuana also had a positive effect in slowing down other types of cancer including lung cancer and brain tumors.
Mental health benefits
In addition to issues such as cancer and other illnesses that cause individuals to suffer from chronic pain, there are also many people around the world who have mental health issues.
Marijuana is known to help with reducing stress and anxiety and has shown to be able to improve the overall mood of the individual, through the stabilizing effects from the endocannabinoid compounds found in cannabis. It can also be used in low doses as a sedative.
However, it is important to note that high does may actually have the reverse effect and lead to an increased state of anxiety and also paranoia.
Some final thoughts
Though there have been a great number of studies that have taken place over the past few decades, there is still some debate as to the overall benefits of medical marijuana.
The fact that there have been some very positive and successful studies and research has shown that there is a great deal of potential in terms of health benefits and medical marijuana, though many more studies and much more research is going to be needed when it comes to the effects on very serious health issues such as cancer.