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Medical Marijuana May Help Some Conditions

Apr 15th 2015 at 12:54 AM

Marijuana has been in use for more than 5000 years. It has been a hot topic of discussion from past few years for its medicinal properties. Marijuana has some chemicals which our body produces, and these are called THC. The herb also has cannabinoids, which are also produced by our bodies. These compounds react with a series of receptors in our brains called endocannabinoid system, which affects our mood, pain sensation, memory and appetite.

Marijuana is said to have many medicinal properties. It has been used to stimulate appetite, treat nausea and vomiting, and is quite helpful for patients undergoing chemotherapy. It has shown success in easing the symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis. This discovery led to the formulation of some drugs that include THC and cannabidiol, a cannabinoid that isn’t psychoactive.

Cannabis-derived drugs have helped in the treatment of depression, anxiety, epilepsy, neuropathic pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder. However, much of the evidence is still anecdotal and under research. There are not enough evidences to support their medicinal value, but patients using these drugs have experienced relief from symptoms.

In many of the countries, it is quite difficult to get funding for the medical marijuana clinical trials. Therefore, success rate has been quite slow in gathering enough evidences in the support of medical marijuana.

Till now, there is no evidence supporting long-term damaging effects of marijuana in adults. Some preliminary data linked this product to an increased risk of schizophrenia, but it has not been supported by further studies. However, the situation is believed to be different in children and adolescents whose brains are still developing.

To date, some studies have revealed that cannabinoids arrest many kinds of cancerous cell growth. It is by promoting ‘apoptosis’ or programmed cell death in tumors. Cannabinoids also work by arresting ‘angiogenesis’ or increased blood vessel production. The compound has also been shown to restrict the spread of cancer cells in many cancer types. While conventional chemotherapy treatments work by creating a toxic environment in the body, cannabinoids work by selectively targeting tumor cells. Thus it can be a more effective cancer treatment.

The direct anti-tumor and anti-proliferation activity of cannabinoids has been demonstrated in different studies across a range of cancer types - pituitary, melanoma, brain (gliomas), leukemic, liver, bowel, pheochromocytoma, cervical, and breast. The anti-tumor activity of medical marijuana has led in laboratory animals and in-vitro human tissues to regression of tumors, suppression in secondary tumor growth and vascularisation (blood supply). It has also led to the direct destruction of cancer cells.

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