Nearly Century-Old Research Shows Cannabis’ Effectiveness in Battling Epilepsy, Migraine, Others.

Nearly Century-Old Research Shows Cannabis’ Effectiveness in Battling Epilepsy, Migraine, Others.

Lately, there seems to be a surge in the number of studies that are being conducted to determine the effectiveness of marijuana as a therapeutic drug. This may cause people to believe that all of this research is geared towards achieving an ulterior motive: its legalization. But what if we told you that people who lived in the 1900s might have known about the therapeutic benefit of cannabis? Another shocking truth is that there have been several studies to determine the therapeutic benefits of cannabis that had been conducted as far back as 80 years ago. Still doubtful? Take a look at the picture below. [1]

At first glance, all we see is a young girl, holding a newspaper (a close up taken of the daily she’s holding dates it back to 15th of August 1915) while sitting amidst flowers and plants. There’s also a cat sitting on a high stool beside this young lady.

A closer look at the picture reveals a bird inside a cage, but that’s not what catches our attention. It is the cannabis plant present in the astonishing garden. Could it be that cannabis was a sought-after garden plant during that era? Or, was it being used for medicinal purposes even then?

Cannabis has therapeutic benefits, old research reveals

Between 1937 (when the first act that restricted the sale of marijuana was enacted) until 1996 (when the Compassionate Act was also enacted), various other laws were put in place to limit and eventually regularize the use of cannabis.

Since the laws at that time prohibited the use of cannabis and its procurement, regardless of the reason, research was also stunted. However, despite its illegality at the time (which affected accessibility), a few studies were still conducted by medical practitioners and scientists to ascertain whether or not cannabis has therapeutic benefits. 

One of these scientists is Dr. Jean P. Davis of the University of Utah medical college. The research which was conducted in 1946 found that drug principles from marijuana were related to the synthetic substances used in the treatment of epilepsy. The study opened up possibilities on the number of therapeutic benefits cannabis may possess.

In 1966, another scientist, Dr. Edward Taylor of the University of Princeton, further emphasized the fantastic possibilities that further studies may reveal. He said, “marijuana may become the father of a whole new generation of drugs [that can help cure diseases]. 

Does Cannabis have therapeutic benefits? Here’s what new research has to say

The Compassionate Use Act, which was enacted in 1966, marked a turning point in the struggle for the legalization of cannabis. Years after this act was passed, several states have legalized its use. What’s more? Scientists are leveraging on its legality and accessibility to dig deeper into its benefits, potential uses, effects, and possible dangers. [2]

So far, these new studies have confirmed what our predecessors have always known: Cannabis has a wide range of benefits, therapeutic and otherwise. Some of the benefits of using marijuana are:

Epilepsy

The use of cannabis in the treatment of epilepsy has been known for a while now. As stated above, studies proving its functionality has been conducted many years back. 

Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of Epidiolex (a medication containing cannabidiol) for the treatment of Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. The approval of this medication was based on the findings of studies and clinical trials.

In 2017, a study found that cannabidiol(a substance present in cannabis) could help people suffering from Dravet Syndrome. In the study, which comprised 120 teenagers and children, Oral CBD and a placebo, alongside their medication, were randomly assigned to each one of them. After 14 weeks, children who received CBD had 6 seizures instead of the usual 12. Three children in this group didn’t experience any seizures at all.

Children in the placebo group saw a slight reduction with the number of seizures reducing from 15 to 14 monthly during the study.

However, it is essential to note that in cases where CBD was very effective, it was used alongside epilepsy medication. It remains unknown if the medication played a part in the seizure reduction, or whether CBD is solely effective in reducing seizures. 

Chronic Pain

Studies have also shown that cannabis could lead to a significant reduction in chronic pain associated with various diseases and syndromes. The research which was conducted in 2011 showed that vaping cannabis thrice daily resulted in a 27% decrease in perceived pain and improved sleep in patients with chronic pain. [3]

Further studies have also shown that cannabis could help with many other health-related issues, some of which include: 

  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Bladder Pain Syndrome
  • Parkinson’s disease (PD)
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Glaucoma
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder 
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Huntington’s disease (HD)
  • Tourette’s syndrome (TS)
  • Anxiety
  • Cancer
  • Obesity
  • Dystonia
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Asthma
  • Hypertension
  • Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and dementia
  • Schizophrenia, etc. [4]

References

  1. Medicinal Cannabis: History, Pharmacology, And Implications for the Acute Care Setting.” PMC. Mary Barna Bridgeman and Daniel T. Abazia. Accessed February 16, 2020.
  2. Legislative Information.California. Accessed February 16, 2020.
  3. Smoked cannabis for chronic neuropathic pain: a randomized controlled trial.Pub Med. Ware MA, et al. Accessed February 16, 2020.
  4. 23 health benefits of marijuana.Business Insider. Kevin Loria. Accessed February 16, 2020.
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