Despite the legalization of medical marijuana in more than half of the states in the country, its use still comes with a lot of stigmas, doubt, and opposition. This is mainly caused by the Government anti-marijuana scare campaigns that ran for decades to discourage abuse of cannabis. These include discredited studies carried back in the ’70s, where a gas mask was strapped to monkeys and then hundreds of joints worth of smoke was pumped into their lungs. It is highly likely that the monkeys died from lack of oxygen rather than the conclusion that marijuana damaged their brain cells.
Fortunately, modern research has proved the critics wrong by showing that medical marijuana can actually save lives. Without discrediting the fact that marijuana legalization laws are often abused for recreational use, here is how medical marijuana could save your life.
Acts As An Opioid Alternative (Painkiller) Meant To Save Lives
Though in most cases pain by itself will not kill you, it is a significant contributor to poor quality of life, health and hence may cause death. The JAMA review established that medical marijuana is effective in treating chronic pain without the unwanted side-effects that come with other painkillers. Since the turn of the century, the number of opioid painkillers related deaths has been on the rise in the United States. According to American Society of Addiction Medicine, over 50,000 people succumbed to painkillers overdose in 2015; surpassing car crash fatalities.
Medical marijuana could be the answer to the most contentious issue in the healthcare today: to strike the balance between providing care to over 100 million chronic pain patients and at the same to avoid opioid painkiller-related deaths. Medical marijuana provides pain relief without negative side effects thus effectively saving lives by reducing addiction treatment admissions, and opioid overdose deaths.
Helps Fight Chronic Diseases That Are Leading Causes of Death
Stroke, Cancer, and Alzheimer’s diseases are the leading causes of death in the United States. Medical marijuana has been established to fight and alleviate the effects of these diseases. The active ingredient in medical marijuana (CBD) stops cancer from spreading by turning off the Id-1 gene that multiplies cancerous cells. Evidence also indicates that it helps relieve chemotherapy side effects of such as nausea and pain.
Recent studies have also established that cannabis also protects the brain from stroke and other trauma. Studies conducted on animals established that low doses of THC helped reduce the extent of damage to their brain by head trauma and carbon dioxide by reducing the size of the area impacted. Studies have further established that people with low levels of THC in their bloodstream are 80% less likely suffer from extensive brain injuries than those without. Thus with 52,000 deaths in the United States being caused by traumatic head injury, medical marijuana can help save over 40,000 lives each year.
More importantly, it is known to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, which is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. THC present in medical Marijuana blocks the enzyme that produces amyloid plaques that kill brain cells, thereby slowing down the progress of Alzheimer’s disease.
Though the clinical studies on the benefits of medical marijuana to those suffering from depression are still on their early stages, it is believed that it helps in mood stabilization and restoration of “normal” endocannabinoid function. Cannabis stimulates anandamide elements in the brain cells which increase the feeling of well-being and joy, and on the other hand, relieves anxiety. It is estimated that 20 million people in the US are clinically’ depressed. Having access to medical marijuana would significantly improve their lives and reduce the number of deaths related to stress and depression complications.
Promotes Quality Sleep
Chronic insomnia can not only be put a real damper on your daily life but can be as well life-threatening. Cannabinol, an active ingredient found mainly in the indica strains of medical marijuana is know to create a sleepy effect. This increases the quality of sleep which in turn improves the quality of life.
Having learned how medical marijuana could save your life, it is important to start preaching the right gospel about it. It is also important you use it responsibly because just like any other medicine, it can have harmful effects when abused. Besides its popular health benefits, we have discovered that there are several other ways medical cannabis impacts people’s lives. More importantly, it could provide the answer to the most contentious issue in the healthcare today.