It was an eventful week in medical marijuana news with groundbreaking discoveries happening in laboratories around the world.
In addition to finding out that cannabis can lower risks for bladder cancer and diabetes, scientists this week announced several other interesting findings regarding our favorite plant.
On Monday, NORML announced that scientists in Israel had determined that “inhaled cannabis” reduces the risk of Crohn’s Disease in patients who were not responding to more traditional treatments.
The study looked at 11 participants who were each given two joints per day to puff on, each one containing herb that apparently tested at 23% THC and 0.5% CBD – now that’s some Kosher Kush! After eight weeks of intense blazing and observation, researchers reported a “significant decrease…in Crohn’s Disease Activity Index scores” in the test subjects. Five of the eleven subjects even showed to have achieved complete disease remission after the 2-doob-per-day diet.
The test subjects reported increased appetite, better sleeping patterns, and “significantly less pain”, and researchers could find no significant negative side effects from the smoked marijuana. With no known cure for Crohn’s Disease, and no one treatment that works for all, people who suffer from the disease are forced to turn to surgery, or costly and dangerous pharmaceutical drugs.
The three most commonly prescribed medications for Crohn’s carry side effects including; nausea, vomiting, heartburn, headache, diarrhea, puffy face, excessive facial hair, night sweats, insomnia, hyperactivity, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, bone fractures, cataracts, glaucoma, increased risk of infections, and even diabetes. In other words, the exact list of ailments that cannabis use can help alleviate (except for the facial hair part, perhaps).
The most recent headline deals with the rarely discussed topic of self-esteem. A research team at the University of Kentucky recently published the results of a four-part study to compare the effects of marijuana and analgesic acetaminophen (like Tylenol) when treating patients for social pain.
Prior studies had proven that acetaminophen “acts indirectly through CB1 receptors” to reduce not only physical pain, but the pain associated with social exclusion. Combining a growing understanding of how those cannabinoid receptors work with a degree of curiosity, the team studied 7040 patients to explore the overlap between treating both physical and social pain.
The four phases of the study relied mostly on anecdotal evidence, polling past and present potheads about their varying levels of self-worth. But in the final phase, a control group was made to play a computer game called Cyberball.
The pre-programmed 3-player game is built to depress the player by constantly excluding him or her from the action. Right in line with the cumulative results, weed users showed notably smaller losses in their self-esteem after playing the rude software. “Marijuana has been used to treat physical pain, and the current findings suggest that it may also reduce emotional pain,” the researchers concluded.
Critics of medical marijuana often rant about seeing “young, able-bodied folks” walking in and out of dispensaries, seemingly free of the debilitating effects of chemotherapy or some other tragic handicap. “What could they possibly need cannabis for?” they ignorantly ask.
According to the top research labs in the world, that list is growing longer each day.
It is time for the federal government to remove cannabis from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and really let American researchers loose to unlock the full arsenal of benefits that this incredible plant has to offer.