Millions of drugs are dispensed legally by prescription every year. However, there’s one drug that, according to Harvard researchers, has never been linked to a single death by use or over-use. No, it’s not one of those legal prescription drugs that directly contribute to about 100,000 deaths worldwide every year. It’s marijuana. There’s not a single case in the annals of medicine where marijuana was the direct factor in death of a user. In fact, the growing evidence shows that it’s at least as effective—and sometimes substantially more—than prescription drugs in treating various medical conditions. While some states permit legally growing marijuana for curative use, in others, it is still prohibited. Meanwhile, researchers continue to make new discoveries in studying the medical benefits of marijuana. Here are some of the findings from recent studies:
Alzheimer’s Disease: THC, one of the active ingredients in marijuana, has been shown in 2006 research to reduce the formation of protein clumps in the brain that affect cognitive processes.
Depression: The largest study of the use of marijuana to treat depression was completed in 2005, involving 4,400 participants. The results showed that those who used marijuana regularly reported fewer of the symptoms associated with clinical depression than those who completely abstained from the drug.
Epilepsy: A university study in Virginia found that marijuana is effective in limiting the spontaneous seizures that occur in epilepsy.
Glaucoma: It has been known since the early 1970s that marijuana reduces the intra-ocular pressure of glaucoma, one of the leading causes of blindness in the world.
Chemotherapy For Cancer And HIV: Even though marijuana remains illegal in most parts of the United States, two of the nation’s largest health organizations—the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Cancer Society—agree on its medicinal benefits. Both organizations have found that the cannabinoids in marijuana relieve the side-effects of nausea and vomiting that frequently accompany chemotherapy for cancer and AIDS. Further, the American Cancer Society has found that marijuana has specific anti-bacterial characteristics, suppresses the growth of certain tumors and helps expand airways to reduce chemotherapy-related asthma. Where medical marijuana is unavailable, many cancer patients resort to growing marijuana at home.
Hepatitis C: Marijuana helps alleviate the negative side effects of drug therapy for hepatitis C, which afflicts about 3 million Americans every year. Using marijuana enabled patients to continue the drugs critically needed to keep the viral levels suppressed.
Morning Sickness: Researchers in British Columbia conducted a peer-reviewed study showing that 92 percent of women found marijuana to be effective in alleviating morning sickness symptoms during pregnancy.
Multiple Sclerosis: A clinical study published last may has provided new evidence that marijuana is helpful in treating the muscle spasticity that is one of the predominant symptoms in MS.
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