The Physical benefits of marijuana are far-reaching, widespread, and long-term. Because of the way marijuana impacts the Autonomic Nervous System which expands the breath and relaxes the body, its potential for health and healing are enormous, and have been completely unrealized by Western Medicine.
When we balance the Autonomic Nervous System, there is an effect on the mind that is both energizing and relaxing SIMULTANEOUSLY. In other words, we can think more clearly and more efficiently.
That which enlivens is understood as the SPIRIT. In these times of secular values, when the life force is not recognized as being an expression of the holy, when in fact, the notion of a plane of existence beyond the material is not acknowledged, the search for meaning nevertheless perseveres.
Today, in these darkest of times, hundreds of millions who pursue the journey inward to the universal core values, find that marijuana facilitates the search. As a religious sacrament, intuitively recognized by all for whom the sacred beckons, marijuana has been employed for thousands of years, crossing all geographical and ethnic barriers. Marijuana not only balances the body, and enhances our mental processes, it can also help (some of) us to perceive the abiding reality by raising our consciousness.
Through various studies conducted mostly outside the United States, marijuana has been proven to be beneficial to the management and/or resolution of more than 100 different ailments. While it’s not possible to list them all here, we’ve provided some of the most notable, common conditions, afflictions and diseases that marijuana has been proven to help.
Alzheimer’s disease – In 2006, the Scripps Research Institute in California discovered that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana, can prevent an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase from accelerating the formation of “Alzheimer’s plaques” in the brain, as well as protein clumps that can inhibit cognition and memory, more effectively than commercially marketed drugs.
Epilepsy – A study performed by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University discovered that ingredients found in natural marijuana “play a critical role in controlling spontaneous seizures in epilepsy.” Dr. Robert J. DeLorenzo, professor of neurology at the VCU School of Medicine, added that “Although marijuana is illegal in the United States, individuals both here and abroad report that marijuana has been therapeutic for them in the treatment of a variety of ailments, including epilepsy.”
Multiple sclerosis – It’s long been believed that smoking pot helps MS patients, and a study published as recently as May provided yet another clinical trial as evidence of marijuana’s impact on multiple sclerosis patients with muscle spasticity. Even though the drug has been known to cause dizziness and fatigue in some users, most MS patients report marijuana not only helps ease the pain in their arms and legs when they painfully contract, but also helps them just “feel good.” How many prescription drugs can say their side effects include “happiness”?
Glaucoma – Since the 1970s, studies have called medical marijuana an effective treatment against glaucoma, one of the leading causes of blindness in the world. Researchers say marijuana helps reduce and relieve the intraocular pressure that causes optic nerve damage, but the proponents say it helps “reverse deterioration,” too.
Arthritis – Marijuana proves useful for many types of chronic pain conditions, but patients with rheumatoid arthritis report less pain, reduced inflammation and more sleep. However, this is not to say that arthritis patients should exchange their medication with pot; marijuana eases the pain, but it does nothing to ameliorate or curb the disease.
Depression – A study on addictive behaviors published by USC and SUNY Albany in 2005, whose 4,400 participants made it the largest investigation of marijuana and depression to date, found that “those who consume marijuana occasionally or even daily have lower levels of depressive symptoms than those who have never tried marijuana.” The study added that “weekly users had less depressed mood, more positive affect, and fewer somatic complaints than non-users.”
Anxiety – An article published in the April 2010 edition of the Harvard Mental Health Letter, “Medical marijuana and the mind,” said that while “many recreational users say that smoking marijuana calms them down, for others it has the opposite effect. … Studies report that about 20 to 30 percent of recreational users experience such problems after smoking marijuana.” The article did not mention which “studies” supported this fact, and most marijuana users would call this claim totally erroneous. Here’s a story from Patsy Eagan of Elle Magazine, who describes how she prefers marijuana to treat her anxiety over prescription drugs.
Hepatitis C – A 2006 study performed by researchers at the University of California at San Francisco found that marijuana helps improve the effectiveness of drug therapy for hepatitis C, an infection that roughly 3 million Americans contract each year. Hepatitis C medications often have severe side effects like loss of appetite, depression, nausea, muscle aches and extreme fatigue. Patients that smoked marijuana every day or two found that not only did they complete the therapy, but that the marijuana even made it more effective in achieving a “sustained virological response,” which is the gold standard in therapy, meaning there was no sign of the virus left in their bodies.
Morning sickness – In a peer-reviewed study, researchers at the British Columbia Compassion Club Society found that 92 percent of women found marijuana’s effect on morning sickness symptoms as either “very effective” or effective.” Read the first-hand account from Dr. Wei-Ni Lin Curry, who describes how medical marijuana saved her from a potentially life-threatening situation:
“Within two weeks of my daughter’s conception, I became desperately nauseated and vomited throughout the day and night. … I vomited bile of every shade, and soon began retching up blood. … I felt so helpless and distraught that I went to the abortion clinic twice, but both times I left without going through the with procedure. … Finally I decide to try medical cannabis. … Just one to two little puffs at night, and if I needed in the morning, resulted in an entire day of wellness. I went from not eating, not drinking, not functioning, and continually vomiting and bleeding from two orifices to being completely cured. … Not only did the cannabis save my [life] during the duration of my hyperemesis, it saved the life of the child within my womb.”
Most prospective mothers will worry about the effect of ingesting marijuana in any form on their baby’s development. The only study that showed any effect from smoking pot came from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine in 2008, which showed that heavy smoking “during the first trimester was associated with lower verbal reasoning,” while “heavy use during the second trimester predicted deficits in the composite, short-term memory, and quantitative scores.” Though this singular study may be enough to scare away some mothers, the majority of studies say prenatal pot exposure “is not a major prognostic factor regarding the outcome of pregnancy,” and that “marijuana has no reliable impact on birth size, length of gestation … or the occurrence of physical abnormalities.” Compared to mothers that used tobacco and alcohol, all of whom showed “increased risk of suspect or definite psychotic symptoms (in offspring),” mothers’ cannabis use “was not associated with psychotic symptoms” in their children.
Cancer, HIV/AIDS and chemotherapy – Though the drug is illegal in the U.S., the FDA and American Cancer Society agree that the active ingredients in marijuana, or cannabinoids, have been approved by officials to “relieve nausea and vomiting and increase appetite in people with cancer and AIDS.” The American Cancer Society says that “marijuana has anti-bacterial properties, inhibits tumor growth, and enlarges the airways, which they believe can also ease the severity of asthma attacks.”
Pain Relief – Though it sometimes gets a bad rap for its cerebral effects, THC is a powerful pain reliever that activates certain pathways in the central nervous system associated with pain. In fact, THC is the primary pain-relieving compound found in cannabis, as it blocks pain signals from being sent to the brain. THC is particularly beneficial for those who suffer from neuropathic, or nerve-related, pain, based on the findings of numerous studies.
It is important to note that, prior to 1937 when cannabis officially became a prohibited substance in the U.S., it was commonly used to treat pain naturally, without triggering harmful side effects. THC-rich cannabis, in fact, had been part of the official U.S. Pharmacopoeia up until 1942, which is right around the time that “Reefer Madness” paranoia took over and the plant was suddenly and erroneously vilified as a dangerous “gateway drug” with no beneficial properties.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – Thankfully, much of this is now changing, which is good news for our nation’s war veterans, many of whom battle with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While the Veterans Association (VA) still prescribes SSRIs and other dangerous pharmaceuticals as treatment for this harrowing condition, emerging science is showing that the THC in cannabis is a safer, preferable alternative.
Nausea and Vomiting – Believe it or not, a pill form of THC has been available as a treatment for nausea and vomiting since the 1980s. But the official government position is still one that views THC in natural plant form as having no medicinal benefits, despite evidence showing that this natural cannabinoid eases stomach pain while stimulating the appetite, which is especially helpful for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
Appetite Stimulant – THC, however, can help reduce stomach pains and stimulate a person’s appetite, including in patients with cancer and HIV-associated wasting syndrome. THC can also help otherwise healthy individuals put on more muscle and boost their nutritional intake.
Asthma – Believe it or not, research dating back to the 1970s cites THC as a highly medicinal compound in the treatment of asthma. Trials have shown that smoking marijuana can actually calm asthma attacks, though ingesting cannabis via edibles or a vaporizer may be preferable to avoid agitating one’s lungs.
Sleeping Aid – The THC in cannabis provides natural relaxation and calm that numerous studies have shown works much better at promoting truly restful sleep. THC has also been linked to improving nighttime breathing and reducing sleep interruptions, including in those who suffer from sleep apnea. And unlike synthetic pharmaceuticals, THC induces natural sleeping patterns that provide real rest, relief and recovery.