We know there are at least two active chemicals in cannabis that are considered to have therapeutic benefits. Cannabidiol (CBD), which appears in studies to impact the brain without creating the “high” people describe, and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical that provides pain relieving (and other) therapeutic properties. Although the number of studies on cannabis are growing, there is still enough evidence the plant can be used to treat a number of illnesses. Here are some of the growing number of diseases cannabis is now being used to treat:
Inflammatory bowel diseases
Patients with inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis may benefit from cannabis, according to several studies. One 2010 study published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, shows the chemicals in marijuana, including THC and cannabidiol, interact with specific cells responsible for healthy gut function and immune responses. The study found that THC-like compounds naturally made by the body increase the permeability of the intestines, allowing bacteria to seep into the gut, a condition known as “leaky gut.” The cannabinoids in cannabis are shown to block these compounds and help the intestinal cells to bond and tighten, thus preventing permeability.
Glaucoma is a debilitating disease that increases pressure in the eyeball, damaging the optic nerve and causing loss of vision. Studies show that cannabis can help decrease the pressure inside the eye. According to the National Eye Institute, “Studies in the early 1970s, showed that marijuana, when smoked, lowered intraocular pressure (IOP) in people with normal pressure and those with glaucoma” The effects of the drug may slow the progression of the disease, preventing blindness. Improve lung health According to a January 2012 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, cannabis does not impair lung function like smoking cigarettes does and it may even