While most people are familiar with the hallucinogenic properties of the Hemp plant, it has several practical functions as well…
While most people are familiar with the hallucinogenic properties of the Hemp plant, it has several practical functions as well. Hemp seeds are used in baking, the stalks are used to make thread and woven into fabrics, and dried hemp is used in making paper. Hemp is also used in making plastic, oil paints, and skin moisturizers. The most famous use for the hemp plant, however, is in making cannabis. Surprisingly, cannabis itself has a number of benefits. While these may or may not outweigh its negative effects, it is important to know what these benefits are before we debate the pros and cons of completely outlawing cannabis or legalizing it.
Cannabis is also known as marijuana and is notorious for its side effects on the human body. Its addiction is responsible for triggering many mental and physical illnesses such as depression, paranoid-schizophrenia, lethargy, and even infertility. Cannabis is a compound with about 400 chemical ingredients. Of these, the two most important ingredients are Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). The former is the most active of all ingredients and affects the brain, while the latter is the only component of Cannabis that is non-psychoactive.
What makes THC dangerous? Our bodies makes molecules called endocannabinoids. These are attached to certain cells and act as receptors to Cannabis and triggers off the hallucinogenic properties of the Cannabis plant. It is largely responsible for the addiction that many develop to Cannabis and for a number of neurological ailments.
While Cannabis harmful aspects cannot be overlooked, its medical use cannot be ignored either. It is widely used as a pain reliever by millions all over the world. People suffering from multiple sclerosis have taken Cannabis-based drugs with good results. Apart from being an effective pain reliever, the components of Cannabis have other medicinal uses as well. Recent studies have proved that THC component of Cannabis can actually be effective in the treatment of brain tumors.
Even brain tumors which have been surgically removed often grow back to threaten the hosts lives. To stop this, all the tumor cells have to be destroyed by depriving them off nutrients. THC steps in by killing the cancerous cells and stopping them from regenerating. Most importantly, THC only destroys the cancerous cells. How does THC manage this? The cancerous cells, like ordinary cells, receive their nutrients from blood. It happens when the body gets a signal from a protein called Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) to allow the growth of cell. THC stops the VEGF from being produced and thus destroys the tumor cells. THC enables apoptosis or systematic death of cancerous cells. Further studies suggest that cannaboid drugs could help in lowering blood pressures and in the treatment of heart diseases, obesity, nicotine addiction, and allergies.
Despite the promise it holds, research on the benefits of Cannabis is rather slow. Cannabis is still viewed with suspicion and researchers do not want to get embroiled in legal issues. It surely is worth the time, money, and effort to invest in cautious clinical trials, which could prove a boon to many suffering from brain cancer. There is no telling what other discoveries researchers may make if they have the inclination to investigate the matter. While the illegal abuse of marijuana should be avoided at all times, we look upon the legal discovery of legitimate medicinal uses of cannabis with great interest.