As medical marijuana is gaining more traction in the political arena, there are more studies being done to find out just what the potential benefits of this drug are. Below are some of the areas where scientists speculate that medical marijuana may be helpful.
Alzheimer's Prevention And Possible Benefits For Dementia Patients
One of the most unusual areas to come up in the discussion of medical marijuana is the potential it has to slow the profession of Alzheimer's. This is ironic given the connotation of marijuana making people think "dopey". However, there is research to back up the case. The studies have found that the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC, can slow down the body's production of a protein called beta-amyloid. These proteins are one of the main culprits in developing Alzheimer's,
Along with Alzheimer's, scientists have conducted studies to see if THC could relieve the symptoms of dementia. There have been two contradictory studies(see above link). The first, conducted at Radboud University found no change in the patients who were administered the drug. They were looking for any improvement in aggressive tendencies, anxiousness and hallucinatory experiences. A second study, however, undertaken at Tel-Aviv University did see positive results.
Improve Lung Function
This is another benefit that seems counterintuitive, yet there is research to back it up. A study was done that tracked three types of people: marijuana smokers, cigarette smokers, and non-smokers. The scientists found that those individuals who were moderate marijuana smokers (2-3 times a week) actually had improved lung function when compared to the other two groups. The scientists admit that the findings were baffling. Both tobacco and marijuana have similar chemical properties, so the theory was that they would both be damaging to the lungs. However, the negative effects on lung health were only seen in heavy marijuana smokers (smoked twenty times a month), not in moderate smokers.
Help With Epileptic Seizures
Most people have heard of THC, the chemical in marijuana that makes it intoxicating. However, there is another chemical, CPD (cannabidiol), which is not intoxicating, yet has been shown to have major health benefits, particularly with regards to epilepsy.
The benefits of this particular chemical were so dramatic that the famous neurosurgeon, and one time Obama pick for Surgeon General, Sanjay Gupta changed his stance on legalization of medical marijuana after meeting a young girl who's life had improved with the drug.
Can Slow Late Stage Breast Cancer Cell Growth
Studies were done using the same chemical that slowed seizures (cannabidiol) to determine if they would have any effect on cancer cells in end stage breast cancer. The results were positive. There have been two significant studies (1,2), which show that there is significant evidence that this chemical helps in treating breast cancer.
Medical facilities, such as Citadel Alternative Care, can provide more information.