In June, the government made a decision to lift barriers that prevented researchers from exploring the health benefits of marijuana. The Obama Administration spoke out that they will support research on the health benefits and safety of marijuana, with hopes that this research will advance our understanding in regards to adverse side effects and therapeutic uses. (1)
Nearly 50 percent of Americans report using or having tried marijuana
Following this decision, a new Gallop poll was launched and reported that 44 percent of Americans report that they have tried cannabis. The Gallop poll was the first survey that asked this same question in 1969. In 1969, only 4 percent of Americans admitted to experimenting or using marijuana.(2)
The new poll reports that 1 in 10 United States citizens currently smoke marijuana. The poll confirmed that men are more likely than women to currently use or previously try marijuana. Additionally, secular people are more likely than religious people to experiment with cannabis.(2)
Out of 60 peer reviewed studies, 41 report positive health benefits associated with marijuana use
From 1990-2014, there are 60 peer reviewed studies that detail how marijuana impacts major health disorders such as ALS, bipolar, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and pain. Out of these studies, 41 provided research that reported marijuana was beneficial, 6 reported that marijuana showed negative results, and 13 reported no significant good or bad results. (3)
A study completed in April 2014, explored how medical marijuana impacts ALS. A survey was given to 127 patients in which 93 percent completed the survey. Twenty-one percent reported current or prior use of marijuana to treat symptoms of ALS. The majority of this 21 percent reported that marijuana use effectively provided appetite stimulation, aided in sleep, relieved anxiety and depression, and provided muscle relaxation. (3)
Is it okay to self-medicate?
A 2012 study explored the impact of marijuana use on bipolar one (I) disorder. The study compared clinical and neurocognitive measures in participants diagnosed with bipolar (I) who have used and not used cannabis. The results show that those who used cannabis to self-medicate experience better neurocognitive performance, processing speed and working memory. (3)
A 2011 study researched the effects of cannabis on breast cancer cell proliferation, invasion, and metastasis. The study concluded that marijuana has low toxicity, making it ideal for cancer treatment. It was found that marijuana did work to control the aggressiveness of breast cancer cells. (3)
A 2003 research article explored how cannabinoids effect cancer by preventing nausea, vomiting, pain, and stimulating appetite. The study concluded that cannabis effectively managed the above concerns, while also inhibiting the growth of tumor cells. (3)
It appears that historic research shows numerous health benefits associated with medical marijuana. Now that research barriers are lifted, it may be possible to show even greater health benefits linked to marijuana use.