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Cannabis provides medical benefits

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By Marie Cendejas

There’s a increasing interest in the non-psychoactive medicinal benefits of cannabis, despite legislative resistance to appraise the long list of claims of the healing power of cannabis.

The plant's abilities as a painkiller and an anti-nauseant are well documented, but the plant also has a long history claims of other medical uses. In ancient Chinese traditional pharmacology, cannabis has a track record of helping over 120 ailments and conditions.

Inflammation has been found to both instigate and worsen a long list of diseases like heart disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and gastrointestinal tract disorders. Outside of its painkilling claim cannabis shows its ability as an anti-inflammatory aid. 

For the past three years there has been an ongoing study of 500 participants with multiple sclerosis. This has been the largest study of its kind to this date.

The study examined the effects of just the active chemical in cannabis, rather than the whole plant. The amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) varies across a plant. Researchers found the THC provided subjects with some relief from the symptoms like stiffness and muscle paroxysms, but couldn't slow down the progression of the disease.

Multiple sclerosis is a progressively degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system. Nerve cells are coated in a fatty layer that helps them communicate with each other. In individuals with multiple sclerosis, the coating gradually degrades, leading to peripheral neuropathy and interference with mobility, eventually leading to nerve death.

Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease are also neurodegenerative disorders, and likewise have very limited treatment options. Cannabis has shown to improve neural communication, which had given researchers a reason to be hopeful. In other studies, cannabinoids have been shown to be protective and capable of increasing neural plasticity.

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