Medicine from Weed: The Benefits of Medical Cannabis
The use of cannabis, commonly known as marijuana, for medical purposes is still the subject of debate in the US. As of 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still holds that using the drug for any purpose whatsoever is legally prohibited. Yet this hasn’t stopped certain states such as Alaska, Hawaii, and Nevada, from permitting the limited use of medical cannabis to treat certain disorders such as chronic pain and clinical depression.
This practice is not all new since pharmacists from Ancient China, Egypt, and India prescribed cannabis to treat wounds, sores, nervous disorders, and even falling hair. Some drugs, such as Marinol, actually contain a synthetic version of the active ingredient found in cannabis, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In the right doses, medical cannabis can improve appetite among chemotherapy patients and thus encourage healthier food consumption.
Perhaps one of the most interesting medical benefits of cannabis is its alleged ability to halt or reduce the risk of certain cancers. A research institute in California has discovered that another component of cannabis called Cannabidiol can actually help prevent breast cancer cells from spreading throughout the body. Further research is currently underway to determine whether or not cannabis can serve as an alternative to chemotherapy.