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  Marijuana  
 
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Marijuana use at 2-10 puffs, one to 16 times per day caused reduced pain and improved sleep in a survey of 15 patients with chronic pain who smoked cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Only 8 out of 15 reported experiencing a high. Side effects included drowsiness and loss of coordination. [10th World Congress on Pain, August, 2002, San Diego, California]

A 2001 study showed that a lifetime of marijuana smoking was not associated with deficits in general intellectual function, abstraction ability, sustained attention, verbal fluency or ability to learn and recall new verbal and visuospatial
information after one month of abstinence. This was a controlled study of 180 volunteers including 63 heavy marijuana users (smoked cannabis at least 5000 times in their lives) who were smoking daily at study entry, 45 former heavy
users (smoked no more than 12 times in the previous three months) and 72 control subjects who had smoked no more than 50 times in their lives. Recall of word lists was reduced in heavy users who smoked daily at entry into the
study only during the first week of abstinence. [Arch Gen Psychiatry 2001;58(10): pp.909-915]

Any negative effect on IQ as a result of marijuana use may be temporary, as seen in the following study. Current smoking of five or more marijuana joints per week (assessed by self-reporting and urinalysis) was associated with reduced global IQ scores in a study of 70 subjects 17-20 years old. A negative effect was not observed among subjects who had previously been heavy users but were no longer using marijuana. [CMAJ 2002;166(7): pp.887-893]

Marijuana smoking was, however, associated with an increased risk of depression in a study of 1920 people with no symptoms of depression at the onset of the study who were reassessed approximately 15 years after baseline data was
collected. [Am J Psychiatry 2001;158(12): pp.2033-2037]

In addition, marijuana use was associated with an increased risk of psychosis in normal people, and a poor prognosis in patients with psychosis, in a study of 4,045 psychosis-free people and 59 patients with psychosis followed for a three year period. [Am J Epidemiol 2002;156(4): pp.319-327]

Withdrawal symptoms (marijuana craving, decreased appetite, sleep difficulty and weight loss) did occur in an assessment of 12 marijuana smokers on 16 consecutive days during which they smoked marijuana as usual (days 1-5), abstained from smoking marijuana (days 6-8), returned to smoking marijuana (days 9-13), and again abstained from smoking marijuana (days 14-16). Aggression, anger, irritability, restlessness, and strange dreams increased significantly only during one of the abstinence phases. [Arch Gen Psychiatry 2001;58(10): pp.917-924]

According to the British Lung Foundation in a 2002 statement, smoking 3 to 4 marijuana cigarettes a day causes airway damage similar to smoking 20 or more tobacco cigarettes a day. Marijuana is smoked in a way that increases the respiratory burden of carbon monoxide and smoke particulates compared to smoking a similar quantity of tobacco. There is a possible link between cannabis smoking and emphysema.
 

 
 

Marijuana can help with the following:
 
 
Aging  Alzheimer's Disease
 "Treatment with a synthetic compound similar to marijuana reduced inflammation in older rats in addition to making the animals "smarter," said Wenk, who is also a professor of neuroscience and molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics.

"The compound substantially improved the memories of the older rats," he said. "These animals were able to hold on to key details of a specific task. Untreated older rats, on the other hand, were not."

The colleagues treated young and old rats with WIN-55212-2 (WIN), a synthetic drug similar to marijuana. While the compound improved memory and helped to control inflammation, it is not a candidate for use in humans because it still contains substances that could trigger a high. [www.medicalnewstoday.com/]

Digestion

  IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
 There are quite a few people who use marijuana to control the symptoms of abdominal pain and nausea associated with irritable bowel syndrome. Some make the claim that this helps more than any other thing they have tried.

Mental

Not recommended for:
  Depression
 Daily use of marijuana was associated with a 5-fold increased risk for later developing depression and anxiety among
adolescent females in a study of 1,601 Australian students aged 14-15 years at baseline who were followed for seven years. Weekly or more frequent marijuana use was associated with a 2-fold increased risk. Depression and anxiety in
teenagers was not predictive of later cannabis use. [BMJ 2002;325(7374): pp.1195-8]

  Schizophrenia
 Having ever using marijuana was associated with an increased risk of developing schizophrenia in a study of 50,087 Swedish men 18 to 20 years old. Using marijuana greater than 50 times was associated with a nearly 7-fold increased risk for developing schizophrenia. [BMJ 2002;325(7374): pp.1199-2001]

Similar results were obtained in New Zealand subjects. [BMJ 2002;325(7374): pp.1212-3]

Musculo-Skeletal

  Muscle Cramps / Twitching
 Some people claim that cannabis is effective for relieving muscle spasms in general, not just those that result from multiple sclerosis or paralysis. A book is available on the Internet about this subject called Muscle Spasm, Pain & Marijuana Therapy: Testimony from Federal and State Court Proceedings on Marijuana's Medical Use edited by R.C. Randall.

Tod Mikuriya, M.D. describes his clinical experiences with different kinds of spasms in Marijuana Medical Handbook. Overall, his report is favorable with regard to the benefits seen when treating muscle spasms.

Nervous System

  Tourette's Syndrome
 A single 5-10mg dose of a compound extracted from marijuana (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, D9-THC) improved tics
and obsessive-compulsive behavior in a well designed study of 12 adults with Tourette's syndrome. Only mild transient side effects were observed in some patients. [Pharmacopsychiatry 2002;35(2): pp.57-61]

Risks

  Cancer / Risk - General Measures
 Scientists Find Cannabis Compound Stops Metastasis In Aggressive Cancers - 2012

By Robin Wilkey

A pair of scientists at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco has found that a compound derived from marijuana could stop metastasis in many kinds of aggressive cancer, potentially altering the fatality of the disease forever.

“It took us about 20 years of research to figure this out, but we are very excited,” said Pierre Desprez, one of the scientists behind the discovery, to The Huffington Post. “We want to get started with trials as soon as possible.”

The Daily Beast first reported on the finding, which has already undergone both laboratory and animal testing, and is awaiting permission for clinical trials in humans.

Desprez, a molecular biologist, spent decades studying ID-1, the gene that causes cancer to spread. Meanwhile, fellow researcher Sean McAllister was studying the effects of Cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-toxic, non-psychoactive chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. Finally, the pair collaborated, combining CBD and cells containing high levels of ID-1 in a petri dish.

“What we found was that his Cannabidiol could essentially ‘turn off’ the ID-1,” Desprez told HuffPost. The cells stopped spreading and returned to normal.

“We likely would not have found this on our own,” he added. “That’s why collaboration is so essential to scientific discovery.”

Desprez and McAllister first published a paper about the finding in 2007. Since then, their team has found that CBD works both in the lab and in animals. And now, they’ve found even more good news.

“We started by researching breast cancer,” said Desprez. “But now we’ve found that Cannabidiol works with many kinds of aggressive cancers–brain, prostate–any kind in which these high levels of ID-1 are present.” Desprez hopes that clinical trials will begin immediately.

“We’ve found no toxicity in the animals we’ve tested, and Cannabidiol is already used in humans for a variety of other ailments,” he said. Indeed, the compound is used to relieve anxiety and nausea, and, since it is non-psychoactive, does not cause the “high” associated with THC.

  Increased Risk of Alzheimer's / Dementia
 New evidence in rats suggests that marijuana may contain compounds that slow the memory loss associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Marijuana has strong anti-inflammatory effects, and many researchers believe that there is a compelling link between chronic inflammation and the progression of Alzheimer's, said Gary Wenk, a study co-author and a professor of psychology at Ohio State University.

"Inflammation in the brain is part of aging," Wenk said. "It happens to almost all of us as we age. But in some cases, this inflammation gets out of hand and causes serious damage."

"Treatment with a synthetic compound similar to marijuana reduced inflammation in older rats in addition to making the animals "smarter," said Wenk, who is also a professor of neuroscience and molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics.

"The compound substantially improved the memories of the older rats," he said. "These animals were able to hold on to key details of a specific task. Untreated older rats, on the other hand, were not."

The researchers presented their findings October 18, 2006 in Atlanta at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting.

Evidence suggests that people who regularly smoked marijuana in the 1960s and 1970s rarely develop Alzheimer's disease, said Wenk, adding that researchers are eager to develop a drug with the anti-inflammatory properties of marijuana, but without the drug's psychoactive effects.

The colleagues treated young and old rats with WIN-55212-2 (WIN), a synthetic drug similar to marijuana. While the compound improved memory and helped to control inflammation, it is not a candidate for use in humans because it still contains substances that could trigger a high.


Not recommended for:
  Increased Risk of Coronary Disease / Heart Attack
 The risk of a heart attack jumps nearly five-fold during the first hour after smoking marijuana, posing a particular threat to middle-aged users of the drug, according to a study in 2001. Starting in the third hour after smoking marijuana, no significant risk rise was documented.

Tumors, Malignant

  Breast Cancer
 Please see the link between Cancer - General Measures and Marijuana.

  Brain Cancer
 Please see the link between Cancer - General Measures and Marijuana.

  Prostate Cancer
 Please see the link between Cancer - General Measures and Marijuana.

Uro-Genital

Not recommended for:
  Male Infertility (Low Sperm Count)
 Despite what many people believe, moderate marijuana use does not change the levels of sex hormones levels such as testosterone. A study at the University of Iowa found that use of marijuana does not affect the testosterone, luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, prolactin and cortisol in men and women. Reproductive damage from marijuana use by males not been proven yet. One study did show that there was a relationship between marijuana use and a low sperm count. The sperm count is also increased to normal when the user stops taking marijuana.

The small number of human studies on the effects of cannabis on male reproductive function have produced mixed results. Studies have produced both positive and negative evidence of an effect of cannabinoids on testosterone, for reasons
that are not well understood. [Institute of Medicine (1982) Marijuana and Health. Washington, DC: National Academy Press] It has been conjectured that reductions in testosterone and spermatogenesis probably require long-term exposure. [Pharmacological Reviews 1986, 38, pp.1-20] Current research suggests only a possible link between the use of marijuana and low sperm count, impotence, and gynecomastia. Greater caution is advised for females who may become pregnant.
 
 


KEY
May do some good
Likely to help
May have adverse consequences
Reasonably likely to cause problems