Cannabis, marijuana, mary-j, weed – whatever you want to call it, has been a hot topic of discussion for many years, but it feels like more recently there’s been a positive light put on the once very controversial plant. Its ability to aid in pain management for disease and cancer sufferers has been well documented, but there are some other benefits of cannabis that aren’t common knowledge, including new research from deep in the African jungle.
Hunter-gatherer tribes from deep in the central African rainforest smoke cannabis, not to relax or feel good, but to ward off worms. According to researcher Ed Hagen from Washington State University, “We thought, ‘Why would so many people around the world be using plant toxins in this very ‘recreational’ way?’” said Ed Hagen, one of the study’s authors. “If you look at non-human animals, they do the same thing, and what a lot of biologists think is they’re doing it to kill parasites”.
Back in the lab, both nicotine and cannabis killed intestinal worms, so the researchers decided to investigate if there was a link between smoking pot and the number of worms infecting a person. They wanted to find out if some people, who are far from conventional medicine and the media, actually smoke cannabis to self-medicate against worms. They did this by taking urine and stool samples to test for cannabis and worm eggs. The results were pretty remarkable: smoking cannabis did significantly lower parasites.
Treating asthma may with marijuana may not seem wise but according to science, the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in cannabis enhances the body’s ability to improve breathing – and it’s from research dating back to the 1970s.
While trials showed smoking marijuana could help calm asthma attacks, scientists tried (and failed) to develop an inhaler that could deliver the THC. Some say modern-day vaporisers might be the solution.
Studies have shown that smoking marijuana could reduce eye pressure in glaucoma sufferers. Some glaucoma patients rely on medical marijuana however as the results are short-lived, the treatment needs to be stronger.
It can create brain cells
We all thought marijuana killed brain cells but in fact a study into cannabinoids’ ability to promote neurogenesis in the brain region responsible for mood and memory found that it helped to improve and stimulate brain cells.
Hemp fibre, is one of the more durable and strong resources on the planet and yet it is not used even half as much as it could be. Although industrial hemp plants are the same species as marijuana plants, but they don’t produce the same psychoactive ingredient.
It is extremely robust and versatile plant with many ecological benefits– it reinvigorates the soil, is naturally resistant to pests, and matures quickly. The hemp plant is also highly useful and can be used in the manufacture of a wide variety of industrial and consumer products. In fact, it is probably one of the most useful plants known to humanity, as nearly every part of the hemp plant can be utilised in some way, yet you’ll be hard-pressed to find it in your house. On top of all that, it produces 250 per cent more fibre than cotton and can be used to make clothing, shoes, paper, canvas, carpeting, rope, bags, luggage, home furnishings, construction materials, biodegradable plastics, and even auto parts. It is twice as strong as wood or concrete.
More positive medical studies than negative
In a compiled list of 60 peer-reviewed studies involving marijuana, it was found that 68 per cent were found to be in favour of marijuana, including studies into its ability to treat motor neurone disease, bipolar disorder, cancer, HIV/AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, nausea, Parkinson’s Disease, PTSD and rheumatoid arthritis.
Tell us, are you surprised by the benefits of the cannabis plant?