Bob Marley had it right: cannabis is an answer to many mental and physical problems that humans endure – although not only through the method of consumption he so frequently practiced.
We’ve seen an awful lot about cannabis in the news over the past few years. First came the medical marijuana explosion, which has since been implemented in 23 states and the District of Columbia, then Washington and Colorado became the first two states to legalize it for recreational use, and now other states are gearing up to follow in their footsteps.
More surprising still, two separate House bills were filed by two congressmen on February 20, bills that would essentially end the federal prohibition of cannabis by legalizing, regulating and taxing it. If passed, these bills would catalyze a major change in American history – the war on this powerful natural tool would end, a war that has done unbelievable financial damage to this country and ruined millions of lives as a result of unjust incarceration, and the blind demonization of a plant might finally start to dissipate.
A major factor that contributes to the widespread ignorance of this plant is stereotype; the image of unkempt college slackers with permanent grins and heavy eyelids drooping over reddened eyes are what many people envision when they think of cannabis.
While that stereotype certainly exists by the millions, it’s extremely important for people in every nation on this planet to understand just how beneficial this plant is for people suffering from mental disorders and crippling, often fatal diseases which cause them excruciating pain. Let’s take a look at some of the incredible healing properties this sacred plant has to offer.
Cannabis combats cancer
Most of us have heard that cannabis helps cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy experience far less pain, and this is certainly true. It also helps users maintain a healthy appetite and prevents nausea and vomiting.
But its power against this deadly disease goes even deeper: one of the non-psychoactive chemicals in cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD), has proven effective in shutting down the gene that makes cancer spread, called ID-1. In one study, cannabidiol stopped the cancer cells from spreading and returned them to their normal state.
In a separate study carried out by Harvard researchers, another active chemical in cannabis called THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) reduced tumor growth in lung cancer by 50%. They’re not entirely sure why yet, but they theorize that THC could inhibit angiogenesis and vascularization, which both fuel cancer growth.
Cannabis promotes the creation of new brain cells
Another stereotype most people are familiar with is that using cannabis kills brain cells. This is not true. Studies have shown that long-term use of cannabis causes little to no brain damage – and can in fact help the brain create new cells.
Another chemical in cannabis, cannabinoid, has been seen to support neuroplasticity and maintain stem cells that will create new neurons to improve memory. Cannabinoids stimulate these new neurons and take part in their movement and allocation, one of which is a system that can alleviate depression.
In another study, cannabinoids caused the death of tumor cells in a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma, which affect glia cells and lipids in the membrane. It accomplished this without harming any of the normal cells!
Cannabis can be a powerful remedy for many illnesses
Physical or mental, cannabis has proven effective against a slew of diseases: researchers from the Scripps Research Institute found that it can slow the development of Alzheimer’s disease, multiple studies have shown that it can combat glaucoma by relieving pain and reducing pressure in the eyeball, studies from the Virginia Commonwealth University show that it can significantly reduce seizures for epileptics, research in MedPage Today showed that it can reduce tremors and improve motor skills of Parkinson’s disease sufferers, and Dr. Kirsten Mueller-Vahl of Germany discovered that it can reduce the symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome for several hours.
Cannabis relaxes, soothes and inspires
Although it may not work for everyone, in many cases regular cannabis use can improve mood and reduce anxiety. Some people can tolerate higher doses than others – and in some cases it might even make things worse – but what’s clear is that cannabis very much deserves to be considered as an option for treatment of depression and anxiety.
For the creative demographic, cannabis can expand our imaginations and make them more vivid, and can motivate us to push the envelope and create things we may never have thought of otherwise. Many artists throughout human history have been avid cannabis smokers.
As I mentioned, however, for some people cannabis consumption can be detrimental, particularly those who are prone to developing depression, anxiety, or a psychotic disorder. It’s important to be cautious about trying cannabis as treatment for a mental disorder, but in many cases it has proven more effective than conventional medicine.
It’s time for humans worldwide to accept cannabis as the healing tool it really is. The more awareness about its benefits we spread, the sooner it will become legalized, and the sooner the people that need it can have safe access to it!