Marijuana frequently gets a bad rap. But how much of it is deserved?
After my previous post, “Should Marijuana Be Legalized?“ I conducted research to understand the benefits and risks of marijuana. Here are just ten of the many health benefits attributed to the plant, as well as some of the problems associated with its use:
Marijuana may be able to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, according to research by the Scripps Research Institute published in “Molecular Pharmaceutics.”
Harvard Medical School found that marijuana may have anti-anxiety effects. Of course, keep in mind that high doses may increase anxiety and paranoia.
Marijuana can alleviate pain and inflammation linked to arthritis.
Research published in the journal “Molecular Cancer Therapeutics” suggests that cannabidiol, a chemical compound found in marijuana, turns off the “ID-1″ gene, which cancer cells use to spread.
Studies conducted by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University indicate that marijuana may stop seizures.
Researchers are working to develop new cannabis-based drugs to treat glaucoma pain after determining marijuana’s effectiveness for treating the condition. Glaucoma is a condition that increases pressure inside the eyeball and can lead to vision loss.
7. Lung health
Research in the “Journal of the American Medical Association“ found that marijuana can increase lung capacity – not decrease it, as many people have long believed.
8. Multiple sclerosis
A study published in the “Canadian Medical Association Journal” found that cannabinoids significantly reduced multiple sclerosis pain.
Marijuana contains a minimum of 60 cannabinoids. THC is the primary chemical associated with its mind-altering effects. THC has been used in the treatment of nausea, including drug- or chemotherapy-induced nausea.
10. Parkinson’s Disease
Research published in “MedPage Today” found that marijuana use eased tremors and improved fine motor skills in patients with Parkinson’s disease.
Despite these health benefits, it’s also important to consider the potential health risks of marijuana use:
- Addiction can cause uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms in people who discontinue marijuana use.
- In high doses or in sensitive individuals, marijuana can cause anxiety and paranoia.
- Marijuana may impair memory.
- Mind-altering effects are particularly evident among young and first-time users.
- One study found an increase in risk of heart attack within the first hour of smoking marijuana.
Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty & Cooking.