The acceptance of marijuana in society has been an unusual story. There is no question that the herb has played a role in pop culture for decades. Its popularity by those in the 1960s counterculture and the young has never been denied. However, during most of its modern history, it was used as a warning. Cannabis was labeled a “gateway drug”, heavily forbidden and many people were imprisoned, fined and lost their reputation due to the possession or sale of the substance. It remains a controversial topic even as more states approve marijuana legalization for medicinal or recreational use.
Initially, the reports began as personal stories. Cancer patients recovered their appetite after trying marijuana with a friend or an insomniac finally got the sleep they needed after accidently consuming a special brownie. These anecdotes eventually intrigued researchers who began genuine studies to determine the benefits (if any) of marijuana. The results were surprising to some and added a little legitimacy to the claims of others. There are dozens of purported ways that people benefit from the use of marijuana.
- Helps with glaucoma by decreasing eye pressure.
- Helps to control epileptic and other types of seizures.
- May control the spread of cancer and repair damaged lung tissue.
- Slows the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Is beneficial to some that are suffering from PTSD and anxiety.
- Eases pain caused by cancer, disease and muscle spasms and arthritis.
- May help improve inflammatory bowel disease.
These are just some of the benefits researchers have discovered. Currently, there have been few studies completed and most were relatively small. This is partially due to the federal laws against marijuana possession and use. Many researchers fear the loss of their funding or face potential federal charges if they undertake these types of studies.
It is important for privately funded clinical research to begin and for people with genuine stories of the benefits of using cannabis to treat a medical or psychological condition come forward. Many people are missing out on the opportunity to be healthier and free of pain because of laws that many see as outdated and based on fear or prejudice as opposed to fact. It is only with a when there is a wealth of genuine, indisputable proof that federal legalization will pass.