Randy Astaiza~ Business Insider
While recreational marijuana is controversial, many people believe that the drug should be legal, especially for medical uses.
Psychiatrist Tod H. Mikuriya, who helped develop Proposition 215, the state ballot that allowed doctors to recommend marijuana for patients in California, began researching marijuana’s therapeutic possibilities in the 1960s.
He believed the symptoms of over 200 ailments could be treated with marijuana including stuttering, insomnia, premenstrual syndrome, and writer’s cramp. Even the National Cancer Institute agrees with Mikuriya — specifically the use of marijuana for treatment of side effects of chemotherapy, preventing nausea and vomiting, increasing appetite, relieving pain, and improving sleep.
While the benefits and risks of smoking pot may be overstated by advocates and opponents of marijuana legalization, the new legalization will help researchers study the drugs’ medicinal uses, and better understand how it impacts the body.
Marijuana can be used to prevent blindness from glaucoma.
Marijuana use can be used to treat and prevent the eye disease glaucoma, which increases pressure in the eyeball, damaging the optic nerve, causing loss of vision.
Marijuana decreases the pressure inside the eye, according to the National Eye Institute: “Studies in the early 1970s showed that marijuana, when smoked, lowered intraocular pressure (IOP) in people with normal pressure and those with glaucoma.”
These effects of the drug may slow the progression of the disease, preventing blindness.
It’s better for your lungs than tobacco.
According to a study published in Journal of the American Medical Association in January, marijuana does not impair lung function and can even increase lung capacity.
Researchers looking for risk factors of heart disease tested the lung function of 5115 young adults over the course of 20 years. Tobacco smokers lost lung function over time, but pot users actually showed an increase in lung capacity.
The increased lung capacity may due to taking a deep breaths while inhaling the drug.
It controls epileptic seizures.
Robert J. DeLorenzo of Virginia Commonwealth University, gave marijuana extract and synthetic marijuana to epileptic rats. The drugs rid the rats of the seizures for about 10 hours. Cannabinoids like the active ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (also known as THC), control seizures by binding to the brain cells responsible for controlling excitability and regulating relaxation.
The findings were published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
A chemical found in marijuana stops cancer from spreading.
One chemical found in marijuana, called cannabidiol, prevents cancer from spreading, researchers at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco reported in 2007.
Cannabidiol stops cancer by turning off a gene called Id-1, the study, published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, found. Cancer cells make more copies of this gene than non-cancerous cells, and it helps them spread through the body.
The researchers studied breast cancer cells in the lab that had high expression levels of Id-1 and treated them with cannabidiol. After treatment the cells had decreased Id-1 expression and were less aggressive spreaders.
It may decrease anxiety.
Medical marijuana users claim that the drug helps relieve pain and suppress nausea — the two main reasons it’s often used to relieve the side effects of chemotherapy.
In 2010, researchers at Harvard Medical School suggested that that these benefits may actually be from reduced anxiety, which would improve the smoker’s mood and act as a sedative in low doses. Beware, though, higher doses may increase anxiety and make you paranoid.
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