Marijuana, also spelled marihuana, crude drug composed of the leaves and flowers of plants in the genus Cannabis. The term marijuana is sometimes used interchangeably with cannabis; however, the latter refers specifically to the plant genus, which comprises C. sativa and, by some classifications, C. indica and C. ruderalis. Marijuana is known by a variety of other names, including pot, tea, grass, and weed, igbo, smoke. It is usually dried and crushed and put into pipes or formed into cigarettes (joints) for smoking. It can also be added to foods and beverages.
Rotimi Akeredolu, governor of Ondo state, has asked the federal government to legalise marijuana.
He said his state intends to invest in marijuana solely for the production of drugs in the country.
Marijuana varies in potency, depending on the variety and where and how it is grown, prepared for use, and stored. The active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is present in all parts of both the male and female plants but is most concentrated in the resin (cannabin) in the flowering tops of the female. Hashish, a more powerful form of the drug, is made by collecting and drying this resin and is about eight times as strong as the marijuana typically smoked in the United States.
Mentioned in a Chinese herbal dating from 2700 BCE, marijuana has long been considered valuable as an analgesic, an anesthetic, an antidepressant, an antibiotic, and a sedative. Although it was usually used externally (e.g., as a balm or smoked), in the 19th century CE its tips were sometimes administered internally to treat gonorrhea and angina pectoris.
Marijuana’s effects vary, depending upon the strength and amount consumed, the setting in which it is taken, and the experience of the user. Psychological effects tend to predominate, with the user commonly experiencing a mild euphoria. Alterations in vision and judgment result in distortions of time and space. Acute intoxication may occasionally induce visual hallucinations, anxiety, depression, extreme variability of mood, paranoid reactions, and psychoses lasting four to six hours. Marijuana’s physical effects include reddening of the eyes, dryness of the mouth and throat, moderate increase in the rapidity of the heartbeat, tightness of the chest (if the drug is smoked), drowsiness, unsteadiness, and muscular incoordination.
Chronic use does not establish physical dependence, nor does the regular user suffer extreme physical discomfort after withdrawal. However, the use of marijuana may be psychologically habituating. Research indicates that marijuana use during the teenage years is associated with an increased risk of depression in young adulthood.
The worldwide use of marijuana and hashish as intoxicants has raised various medical and social questions, many of which have been under continuing scientific investigation, especially since the mid-1960s, when THC was first isolated and produced synthetically. Research was directed toward identifying the short- and long-term physical effects of marijuana. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, medical research revealed various therapeutic effects of marijuana and THC. They were found to be useful in lowering internal eye pressure in persons suffering from glaucoma and in alleviating nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapeutic drugs used to treat cancer patients and those with AIDS. Marijuana also has been found to reduce the muscle pain associated with multiple sclerosis and to prevent epileptic seizures in some patients.
International trade in marijuana and hashish was first placed under controls during the International Opium Convention of 1925. By the late 1960s most countries had enforced restrictions on trafficking and using marijuana and hashish and had imposed generally severe penalties for their illegal possession, sale, or supply. Beginning in the 1970s, some countries and jurisdictions reduced the penalty for the possession of small quantities. The Netherlands is a notable example; the government there decided to tolerate the sale of small amounts of marijuana. Other European countries also began debating the decriminalization of so-called “soft drugs,” including marijuana.
In the United States, several states passed legislation in the late 1970s and early ’80s to fund research on or to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana, though some of these statutes were later repealed or lapsed. Renewed decriminalization efforts in the 1990s led to the legalization of medicinal marijuana in more than a dozen states, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. In 2001, however, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Later that year Canada passed legislation easing restrictions on medicinal marijuana. That country’s new regulations included licensing marijuana growers to produce the drug for individuals with terminal illnesses or chronic diseases. In 2009 U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder issued a new set of guidelines for federal prosecutors in states where the medical use of marijuana was legalized. The policy shift mandated that federal resources were to be focused primarily on prosecuting illegal use and trafficking of marijuana, thereby rendering cases of medical use, in which those individuals in possession of the drug are clearly in compliance with state laws, less prone to excessive legal investigation.
20 Medical Benefits of Marijuana You Probably Never Knew
1. Slow and stop cancer cells from spreading
It was found in the study, published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, that Cannabidiol has the ability to stop cancer by turning off a gene called Id-1.  In 2007, researchers at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, reported that CBD may prevent cancer from spreading. The researchers experimented on breast cancer cells in the lab that had high level of Id-1, and treated them with cannabidiol.
The outcome was rather positive, the cells had decreased Id-1 expression, and were less aggressive spreaders. In fact, the American Association for Cancer Research has found that marijuana actually works to slow down tumor growth in brain, breast, and lungs considerately.
2. Prevent Alzheimer’s
THC, the active ingredient present in marijuana slows the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, a 2006 study led by Kim Janda of the Scripps Research Institute found out. THC slows the formation of amyloid plaques by blocking the enzyme in the brain that makes them. These plaques kill the brain cells, and potentially lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Treat Glaucoma
Marijuana can be used to treat glaucoma, which increases the pressure in the eyeball, injuring the optic nerve and causing loss of vision. According to National Eye Institute, marijuana lowers the pressure inside the eye,
“Studies in the early 1970s showed that marijuana, when smoked, lowered intraocular pressure (IOP) in people with normal pressure and those with glaucoma.”
These effects of the drug can prevent blindness.
4. Relieve Arthritis
In 2011, researchers reported that cannabis reduces pain and inflammation, and promotes sleep, which may help relieve pain and discomfort for people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Researchers of the rheumatology units at several hospitals gave their patients Sativex, a cannabinoid-based pain-relieving medicine. After two weeks, patients on Sativex had a significant reduction in pain, and improved better sleep quality compared to placebo users.
5. Control Epileptic seizure
A 2003 study showed that marijuana use can control epileptic seizure.
Robert J. DeLorenzo, of Virginia Commonwealth University, gave marijuana extract and synthetic marijuana to epileptic rats. The drugs stopped the seizures in about 10 hours.
It is found out that the THC controlled the seizures by binding the brain cells responsible for controlling excitability and regulating relaxation. The results were published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
6. Ease the pain of multiple sclerosis
Marijuana works to stop the negative neurological effects and muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis. A study published in the Canadian Medical Association suggests that marijuana may ease painful symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
Jody Cory Bloom studied 30 multiple sclerosis patients with painful contractions in their muscles. These patients didn’t respond to other medications, but after smoking marijuana for few days, they reported that they were in less pain. The THC in the pot bonds the receptors in the nerves and and muscles to relieve pain.
7. Soothe tremors for people with Parkinson’s disease
Recent studies from Israel shows that smoking marijuana remarkably reduces pains and tremors and improves sleep for Parkinson’s disease patients. What was impressive about the research was the improvement of the fine motor skills among patients.
Israel has made medical marijuana legal, and a lot of research into the medical uses of weed is done there, supported by the Israeli Government.
8. Help with Crohn’s disease
Cannabis may be helpful with curing Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disorder that causes pain, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and more.
But a recent study in Israel showed that smoking a joint considerably reduced Crohn’s disease symptoms in 10 out of 11 patients, and caused a complete cancellation of the disease in five of those patients.
Of course, this is a small study, but other researches have shown similar results. The cannabinoids from cannabis seem to help the gut control bacteria and intestinal function.
9. Decrease the symptoms of Dravet’s Syndrome
Dravet Syndrome causes seizures and severe developmental delays. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, renowned chief medical correspondent for CNN, is treating a five years old girl, Charlotte Figi, who has Dravet’s Syndrome, with medical marijuana strain high in cannabidiol and low in THC.
During the research for his documentary “WEED”, Gupta interviewed the Figi family, and according to the film, the drug decreased her seizures from 300 a week to just one every seven days. Forty other children are using the same medication, and it has helped them too.
The doctors who are recommending this medication say that the cannabidiol in the plant interacts with the brain cells to quiet the excessive activities in the brain that causes the seizures.
10. Lessen side effects from treating Hepatitis C, and increase treatment effectiveness
Treating Hepatitis C infection has severe side effects, so severe that many people are unable to continue their treatment. Side effects range from fatigue, nausea, muscle pains, loss of appetite, and depression- and they last for months.
But, pot to the rescue:
A 2006 study in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology discovered that 86% of patients using marijuana successfully finished their therapies, while only 29% of the non-smokers completed their treatments, maybe because marijuana helps to lessen the treatments’ side effects.
Cannabis also helps to improve the treatment’s effectiveness. 54% of the Hep C patients smoking marijuana got their viral levels low, and kept them low, compared to the only 8% of the non-smokers.
11. Decrease anxiety
In 2010, researchers at Harvard University suggested that another of the drug’s benefits may actually be reduced anxiety, which would improve the smoker’s mood and act as a sedative in low doses. 
Beware, though, higher doses may increase anxiety and make you paranoid.
12. Help reverse the carcinogen effects of tobacco, and improve lung health
In January 2012, a study published in Journal of the American Medical Association showed that marijuana improved lung functions, and even increased lung capacity. Researchers looking for risks factors of heart disease, tested on 5,115 young adults, over the period of 20 years, and found out that only pot users showed an increase in lung capacity, compared to the tobacco smokers who lost lung function over time.
It is believed that the increased lung capacity is due to the deep breaths taken while inhaling the drug, and not from a therapeutic chemical in the drug.
13. Reduce severe pain, and nausea from chemo, and stimulates appetite
One of the most common uses of medical marijuana is for people going through chemotherapy. Cancer patients going through chemo suffer from severe pains, painful nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. This can lead to further health complications.
Marijuana can help reduce these side effects, reducing pain, decreasing nausea, and stirring up the appetite. Also, there are other FDA approved cannabinoid drugs that use THC, for the same purposes.
14. Improve symptoms of Lupus, an autoimmune disorder.
Medical marijuana is used to treat the autoimmune disorder called Systemic Lupus Ertyhematosus, which is when the body starts attacking itself for unknown reasons.
It is believed that some chemicals present in cannabis is responsible to calm the immune system, which maybe the reason to help deal with symptoms of Lupus. The rest of the positive impact of the marijuana is probably from the effects of the pain and nausea.
15. Protect brain after a stroke.
Research (done on rats, mice, and monkeys) from University of Nottingham shows that cannabis may help protect the brain from damage caused by a stroke by reducing the size of the area affected by the stroke.
This isn’t the only research that has shown neuroprotective effects from cannabis. Some research shows that the plant may help protect the brain after other traumatic events like concussions.
16. Help veterans suffering from PTSD
Marijuana is approved to treat PTSD in some states in America. In New Mexico, PTSD is the number one reason for people to get a license for medical marijuana, but this is the first time U.S. Government’s The Department of Health and Human Services has approved a proposal that incorporates smoked or vaporized marijuana.
Naturally occurring cannabinoids, similar to THC, help control the system that causes fear and anxiety in the body and brain.
17. Control other types of muscle spasms
Other types of muscle spasms respond to marijuana too.
Dr. Gupta’s patient, Chaz, has a condition called myoclonus diaphragmatic flutter (also known as Leeuwenhoek’s Disease). This causes non stop spasming in the abdominal muscles which are not only painful, but interfere with breathing and speaking.
Chaz has been using medical marijuana to treat this disease because other very strong medications were unable to treat him properly.
Smoking marijuana is able to calm to calm the attacks almost immediately, relaxing the mucles of the diaphragm also.
18. Treat inflammatary bowel diseases
Just like Crohn’s disease, patients with other inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis could benefit from marijuana use, studies suggest.
In 2010, University of Nottingham researchers have found that chemicals in marijuana, including THC, and cannabidiol, interact with cells in the body that play an important role in gut function, and immune system.
THC like chemicals made by the body increase the permeability of the intestines, allowing bacteria in. The plant-derived cannabinoids in marijuana block these body-cannabinoids, stopping this permeability, and making the intestinal bond tighter together.
19. Help eliminate nightmares
This is a bit complicated because it involves both positive and negative effects. Marijuana may disturb the sleep cycle by interrupting the later stages of REM sleep.
However, people who suffer from serious nightmares, especially patients with PTSD, this can be helpful. Nightmares and other dreams occur during those same stages of sleep.
By interrupting REM sleep, many of those dreams may not occur. Research using a synthetic cannabinoid, like THC, showed a decrease in the number of nightmares in patients with PTSD.
Marijuana maybe a better sleep aid than some other medications or even alcohol because the latter two may potentially have worse effects on sleep, though more research is needed on the topic.
20. Protect the brain from concussion and trauma
A recent study in the journal Cerebral Cortex showed possibilities that marijuana can help heal the brain after a concussion, or other traumatic injury.
In the journal it was said that the experiments were done on mice, and that marijuana lessened the bruising of the brain, and helped with healing mechanisms after a traumatic injury.
Harvard professor emeritus of psychiatry and marijuana advocate Lester Grinspoon recently wrote an open letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodall, saying that NFL should stop testing players for marijuana, and instead should fund for research on marijuana plant’s ability to protect the brain.
In the open letter, he writes,
“Already many doctors and researchers believe that marijuana has incredibly powerful neuroprotective properties, an understanding based on both laboratory, and clinical data.”
In response, Goodall recently mentioned that he’d consider permitting athletes to use marijuana if medical research shows that it’s an effective neuroprotective agent.
These 20 medical benefits of marijuana are among the countless benefits this plant has. It is still puzzling how medical marijuana is still not legal in most of the country, and still retains such a negative reputation.
Hopefully in the near future, medical science continues to prove its benefits in more fields, and make this plant a famous cure for all major kinds of ailments.
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