Despite the fact that cannabis remains a schedule 1 controlled substance in the United states – indicating it has no known medical value and is highly addictive and dangerous – the U.S. National Cancer Institute has a report published on its website (updated August 28th, 2015) proclaiming several medical benefits of cannabis and cannabinoids, citing numerous scientific studies to back their claims. Among the benefits of cannabis, the organization claims, is its ability to fight tumors, its effectiveness as a painkiller and its usefulness as an appetite stimulant.
A study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry shows that THC – the primary psychoactive compound found in cannabis – can actually alter genes, which can help treat a number of conditions such as cancers and inflammatory diseases. The study was funded by the U.S. National Institute of Health.
Studies – including this one funded by the American Chemical Society and the American Society of Pharmacognosy – have shown that cannabis, as well as fabric made from industrial hemp, has antibacterial capabilities, and can actually fight off deadly bacteria such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). This indicates that clothing made from hemp may actually save lives.
In an important, yet widely under-publicized study examining thousands of infants, those who had cannabis in their system had nearly half the rate of mortality of those who didn’t; 8.9 deaths per 1,000, compared to 15.7. Of the infants who had cannabis in their system but no other drug, the mortality rate was literally 0.
Even when you account for its full production – from seed to product – hemp is entirely carbon negative. This means that hemp production does absolutely no harm to the environment, and may actually be beneficial to it.
Sativex, which is made entirely of cannabis-derived cannabinoids, is legal in 27 countries, and is pending approval in numerous others. Canada was the first nation to approve this medication for use by people suffering with multiple sclerosis.
Despite approval of this medication, most of the countries which have done so retain harsh criminal penalties for those possessing, growing or using cannabis in its raw form, even for medical purposes, further displaying the ever-apparent hypocrisy of cannabis prohibition.
Cannabis consists of over 400 individual compounds, most all of which can be broken down and used for a variety of medical conditions. However, these compounds are most effective when taken together, which is why consuming cannabis has such intense medical value.
A study conducted by researchers at Montana State University and the University of Colorado found that states which have legalized medical cannabis have seen a significant reduction in overall traffic fatalities. Those behind the study claim that the reduction is due to a simultaneous reduction in alcohol consumption, which is validated by the fact that medical cannabis states have seen a large reduction in alcohol-related accidents. The study was recently updated and published in the Journal of Law and Economics.
In 2014 alone, there was over 1,500 cannabis-related bills introduced at the state and federal level in the United States, far surpassing the most ever introduced in a single year. Although it’s hard to tell at the moment, it’s possible 2015 could mark an even higher number of cannabis proposals being introduced.
The human body is made to accept cannabis as a therapeutic and medicinal substance. As humans, we have our own endocannabinoid system, as well as receptors; the primary reasons cannabis is so useful as a medicine.
Although many people are aware of hemp’s use for things such as clothing and rope, one capability that’s often overlooked is the plant’s ability to be processed into effective, environmentally-friendly biofuel. Hemp oil could easily replace most petroleum products, and it can even be used in place of gasoline to fuel vehicles.
Cannabis was used as the primary ingredient in a variety of tinctures and concoctions prescribed by doctors for a myriad of maladies from 1850 up until 1942, when it was a part of the U.S. Pharmacopoeia. It was removed in 1942, to the protest of many physicians, including the American Medical Association.
A process called phytoremediation is used to clean areas suffering from immense nuclear contamination by using plants to absorb the toxins out of the soil and water. Hemp is said to be one of the most effective plants for this process, and has been used to clean contaminated soil around the world at locations such as Chernobyl.
From the early 1600’s to the 1800’s, hemp was considered valuable enough that it was actually allowed to be used as legal tender in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland. In these states, you were even allowed to pay your federal taxes with hemp.
The cannabis plant isn’t new, and neither is its usage. For example; pounds of cannabis have been found in Chinese tombs dating back thousands of years, and gold bongs over 2,400 years old have been found in Russia. Going even further back, cannabis is said to have co-evolved with humans, which is likely why it contains such intense medical value for our species. This indicates that the cannabis plant has followed us through most, if not all, our existence.