For years, the federal government has subsidized studies designed to find negative effects from marijuana while blocking inquiry into its potential benefits. Ironically, their adamant search for downsides has created remarkable scientific insights that explain why marijuana is such a versatile remedy for many medical conditions and why it is the most sought-after “illegal” substance on earth.
There are over 100 unique cannabinoids identified in marijuana; of them, the best known is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), marijuana’s principal psychoactive component, and cannabidiol (CBD), marijuana’s anti-inflammatory component that can reduce the psychoactive effects of THC. In addition to the phytocannabinoids produced only by the cannabis (marijuana) plant, there are endogenous cannabinoids that occur naturally in the human brain and body.
Some highlights from the exploding field of cannabinoid science:
1. THC, CBD and other plant cannabinoids are not only effective for the management of cancer symptoms (nausea, pain, loss of appetite, fatigue, etc.), but they also aided a direct anti-tumoral effect, according to peer-reviewed studies by the Complutense University in Spain and the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.
2. The Scripps Research Institute in California found that THC inhibits an enzyme involved in the accumulation of beta amyloid plaque that disrupts communication between brain cells, the hallmark of Alzheimer’s-related dementia.
3. At Kings College in London, cannabinoid receptor signaling assisted neurogenesis (the creation of new brain cells) in adult mammals and helped regulate the migration and differentiation of stem cells.
4. In China, scientists have shown that the pain-releiving effects of acupuncture are mediated by the same cannabinoid receptors that are activated by THC.
5. Pharmaceutical companies are attempting to induce therapeutic outcomes by manipulating levels of the body’s own cannabinoids. Animal studies indicate that it is possible to dissipate a wide range of pathological conditions (such as neuropathic pain, hypertension, colitis, and opiate withdrawal) by preventing/delaying the enzymatic breakdown of endogenous cannabinoids.