Much debate continues to exist over the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. While some
studies have examined the effects of cannabis in terms of the body and mind, other studies seek
to disprove theories and hopes that cannabis is the solution to many of the medical problems in
the world today, which include disease of the Gastro-Intestinal track, cancer, HIV, mental health
problems, and many other diseases. Let’s see what research has been conducted that could bring
Cannabis to the forefront of the debate of whether it successfully or falsely treats, if not cures,
some of the world’s ailments.
Too Many Compounds to Memorize, How Do I Know What Is What?
Cannabinoids refer the class of substances that attach to the cannabinoid receptors to produce a
certain effect within the body. Humans possess two differing receptors that attract cannabinoids
known as CB1 and CB2 receptors. Unlike its commonly confused partner, Hemp, Cannabis
contains high levels of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, more often referred to by its acronym,
When a person uses cannabis through smoking, vaporizing, or the use of concentrated oils, the
THC becomes transferred into the blood stream through its absorption in the lungs, stomach, or
in some cases, directly through the skin. The CB1 receptors lie within the brain and are
commonly attributed to the feeling of euphoria people experience when using Cannabis, while
the other CB2 receptors rest within the lymph nodes, and therefore, the immune system, which is
where the healing power of Cannabis is theorized to come from. From a purely analytical
standpoint, Hemp possesses 0.1% less THC when compared to that of Cannabis
Although this information is vital to the continued research and use of Cannabis for the
treatment of disease, many argue that the mind-altering effects of THC in the CB1 receptors
warrants untold dangers and risk to patients and others. One proposed solution to this issue
comes in the form of Cannabidiol (CBD) to treat these ailments. CBD binds to the CB2 receptors
while avoiding the CB1 receptors entirely. Currently, Cannabis plants can be grown with high
levels of CBD as opposed to the large levels of THC, and as a result, the lack of binding to CB1
receptors offers the health benefits of Cannabis without the increased concern over whether
someone can function while “high” or not.
Research into whether Cannabis possesses any applicable use for the treatment of cancer has
been conducted in experiments, but many people suffering with these disease have claimed that
it does in fact work, and some studies have shown promising results for many differing cancers.
In the laboratory setting, scientists have discovered that some of the effects of THC include
several factors that are known to slow the progression and severity of tumors through natural
effects. In order to understand how these effects benefit cancer patients, you must have a basic
understanding of what a cancer consists of.
In the body, all cells have a natural, pre-designated time at which they will die; however, in the
case of a tumor, which is what a cancer is, one or more cells become immortal and replicate at an
unchecked rate. As the tumor grows it releases hormones that promote angiogenesis, or the
development and growth of blood vessels and other vascular tissues to nourish the tumor. Once a
certain amount of growth has been achieved, the cells begin to migrate to other parts of the
body—metastasize—at which point the hopes for curing this now stage 4 cancer deteriorates to
nearly no chance at all. Research has shown that the introduction of THC into the body results in
assistance to the following natural processes;
Restoring the predesigned, programmed cell death, or Apoptosis
Prevention of cell replication
Reduction in Angiogenesis
Reduction in the spreading of cancer cells
Increasing the rate at which cancerous cells die on their own.
Cannabis for Gastro-Intestinal Problems
Others have researched into whether Cannabis possesses any applications for the treatment of GI
disorders. In mid-2013, researchers in Israel began a study to determine whether Cannabis treatment
for Crohn’s disease was a suitable option. People with Crohn’s disease experience severe pain,
abdominal cramping, bloody stools, and often unstoppable diarrhea.
The study at the Meir Medical Center and Sackler Faculty of Medicine began with collecting a group of
participants. Of the 21 participants, one-half of the group was given two marijuana cigarettes—one for
the morning and one for the evening—that each contained approximately 11.5 mg of THC. The other
group was given a placebo—the cannabis flowers that had previously had the THC completed removed.
Out of the 11 patients who were included in the group received the twice-daily THC treatment; five
patients achieved total remission of their Crohn’s disease symptoms. Furthermore, 10 of the 11
participants in this group rated their Crohn’s disease as improving by more 100-points. While one the
other hand, only 4 of the 10 members of the placebo group reported any improvement at all. It’s also
important to note that all of the participants in this study were in severe Crohn’s disease flare-ups when
beginning the study. This study signified that even smoked forms of Cannabis can have positive results,
where others have theorized that the most effective methods for treatment with Cannabis is through
Cannabis for the Mind
Little research has been conducted in the field of Cannabis for mental health applications, and many
unfounded claims have been proposed that Cannabis lessens hostility, anxiety, and results in a pleasant
mood and feeling. However, these results have triggered the same critical response that goes back to
whether it’s appropriate to allow someone to “get high” to treat conditions that should be evaluated by
a trained, licensed psychologist if not a psychiatrist.
While researchers have made huge strides into the successful treatment and studies of many illnesses,
such as Cancer, Gastro-Intestinal disorders, and some theories about mental health, more research and
studies will need to be conducted to further analyze the positive effects of Cannabis for medicinal use.
The only thing that appears to be an absolute, known fact in this growing field of research is that
Cannabis will not be going away anytime soon.