The first direct reference on the use of cannabis was in a written text from the writings of ancient Chinese Emperor Shen Nung in 2,737 BC. In the writings, the Emperor made the first description of the use of cannabis as a psychoactive agent. Though the writing was made 4,000 years ago, many scientists believe that the use has preceded this text back to antiquity since the plant is not native in China. Therefore, many scientists believe that prior to the texts, the use of cannabis has become so common that travelers and merchants have actually purposely brought it to the Middle Kingdom.
The spread of the use of cannabis, however, was not concentrated in China. As early as 500 AD, cannabis has been seen to reach North Africa and Europe. From 1845 to 1942, cannabis was included in the United States Pharmacopeia as an excellent remedy for different health and medical conditions such as labor pain, nausea, and rheumatism.
From then on, the use of cannabis in North America and the world throughout. However, in the 1970s and succeeding years, cannabis use was heavily vilified after it was classified as a prohibited drug. Cannabis became a taboo in most mainstream conversations. Even in an academic setting, scientists who pursued to study the plant and its effects on the human body were heavily criticized.
The good news, in recent years, more and more studies are being conducted on the medical benefits of cannabis. This renewed interest was due to the growing understanding and acceptance of cannabis by society.
Many of the studies that have been done on cannabis were an exploration of the various healing and medicinal properties of this plant. In fact, scientists now believe that different strains of cannabis can have different medicinal benefits. Some weed helps with one kind of ailment, and then one with another type of disease. Here is a list of medical benefits of cannabis you probably have never heard of before.
CANNABIS CAN STOP OR SLOW THE SPREAD OF CANCER CELLS
In the study published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, the active compound found in cannabis, Cannabidiol, can help in suppressing the growth of cancer. Cannabis can stop the spread of cancer among many people by turning off the genetic codes that compel the cancer cells to metastasize by working on the gene that affects cancer expression. This gene is called Id-1.
In another study conducted by researchers at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco in 2007, the effect of cannabis on gen Id-1 was reaffirmed. It was found that CBD can prevent cancer from spreading after the researchers experimented on CBD injected into breast cancer cells that were grown in a petri dish in the lab. The showed that the introduction of CBD has effectively suppressed the expression of the gene Id-1.
CANNABIS PREVENTS ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
The medical uses of cannabis are often attributed to the action of CBD. However, in one study led by Kim Janda of the Scripps Research Institute I 2006, THC was found to slow down the progress of Alzheimer’s disease. In the study, the scientists found that THC actually slows down the formation of amyloid plaques. THC does this by blocking the enzyme in the brain that create the amyloid plaques, which kills the cells of the brain and leads to progressive memory loss.
CANNABIS CAN BE USED AS A TREATMENT FOR GLAUCOMA
The US National Eye Institute itself has announced that indeed cannabis can lower the pressure inside the eye that causes glaucoma. The disease is caused by increased intra-orbital pressure in the eye. The pressure inside the eyeball can injure your optic nerve and may cause progressive loss of vision. In the 1970s, a study was conducted on the use of cannabis for various diseases when smoked. The study team found that cannabis is effective in lowering intraocular pressure (IOP) in people.
The medical benefits of cannabis are being discovered left and right. Scientists are now learning more and more about this plant and the discoveries being made are really outstanding. It is just very unfortunate that even today medical cannabis is still not legal in many more countries. In certain areas of the world cannabis use can even get you killed. Hopefully as people around the world learn more about the health benefits of cannabis, governments will one by one open up to the idea of legalizing it. In the near future, the research done by scientists can help continue bringing to light other health benefits. With new knowledge, hopefully prohibitions on cannabis will be lifted.