Scientists are constantly discovering new ways in which hemp benefits human health. The results and findings of these studies are mostly published by specialist researchers in journals, but many findings about hemp will not appear in the mainstream media at all. The eyes of the wider public remain confidential. Here are five examples of research into the effects of hemp, which are worth paying attention to.
1. Hemp can become an alternative to opioids
Opioids have recently been subjected to a very thorough investigation, for good reason. Thomas Gilson, a medical researcher at Cuyahoga County, Ohio, said:
«If you look at how many people die in the United States in the context of an overdose of opiates annually, it will be about the same number as the number of victims we had throughout the Vietnam War».
Can hemp be a safer alternative to pain management without the risk of overdosing?
New hemp surveys conducted in Israel focused on the safety of use in older people. Scientists administered healing therapies to 2736 patients whose age average was 74.5 years.
The study participants completed an extensive questionnaire. Two-thirds of hemp respondents took part in the research, and 60.8% of them responded to cancer treatment. After six months of treatment, the participants filled out another questionnaire. Here are the results as published in February 2018 in The European Journal of Internal Medicine:
«After six months of treatment, 93.7% of respondents reported improvement in their condition and reduced pain levels at a level of 4-8 on a scale of 0-10. After six months, 18.1% of them stopped taking opiates altogether, or at least significantly reduced their levels. Our study found that the therapeutic use of hemp is safe and effective in the elderly population. Hemp can help reduce the use of other prescription drugs, including opioids. "
This survey has suggested that hemp has a promising potential as an alternative to opiate treatment.
2. Hemp can protect alcohol users from liver disease
We all know that excessive alcohol consumption damages the health of the liver. Has the demonstrable ability of hemp to fight inflammation, also affect the development of liver disease? A group of scientists from Massachusetts University Medical School has been aiming to "map out the effects of marijuana on the symptoms of liver disease in people who are over-consuming." Their study analyzed the release reports from the 2014 Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) Healthcare Cost and Use Project.
They focused on the four stages of liver disease in 319,000 patients who had a past or present history of excessive alcohol use. These stages include: alcohol steatosis (AS), alcoholic fatty liver, steatohepatitis (AH), non-alcoholic fatty liver, cirrhosis (AC), and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
"Our study revealed that, among alcohol drinkers, those who also used hemp (whether in dependence behavior or not) showed a much lower percentage of developing AS, AH, AC, and HCC liver disease. Additionally, addicted users showed a lower likelihood of having a liver disease than those who only took hemp for recreation."
In the light of these findings, it is impossible to defend the question of how it is possible that alcohol is legal and hemp not.
3. Hemp can help prevent dementia
One of the strongest and most common arguments against hemp use is that it affects our cognitive abilities. But is hemp really so harmful to brain tissue?
According to a recent animal study, whose results were published in May 2017, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has a beneficial effect on the aging brain. Researchers tested learning, memory, orientation, and recognition skills in laboratory animals. They found that 18-year-old mice treated with THC showed identical cognitive abilities as mice, 2 months old. On the other hand, the placebo control group showed a cognitive impairment typical of age.
Neurobiologist Andreas Zimmer of the University of Bonn said:
"Treatment completely reversed the loss of performance in old animals, and we repeated the experiment many times. The effect is very distinct and visible. Even more remarkable is that gene activity and the molecular profile of brain tissue corresponded to much younger animals. Specifically, neurons and hippocampus have created much more synaptic connections - the points of contact that are essential for communication between individual neurons. "
It seems, therefore, that instead of dulling recognition capabilities, THC helps to reverse the aging process and improve mental health in an aging population. This increases the possibility that hemp will be useful in the future in the treatment and prevention of dementia.
4. Cannabinoids have the potential to treat cancer
There is plenty of evidence that cannabinoids helped patients slow down or even reverse the cancer growth process. Many researchers have therefore focused on understanding exactly how cannabinoids act against cancer cells. In particular, most research focuses on the use of THC and cannabidiol (CBD), and many studies have shown that hemp can kill cancer cells.
For example, Dr. Christina Sanchez of Complutense University in Madrid has been involved in several studies that have shown that THC is a killer of cancer. One of her researches focused on the application of THC molecules to brain tumor cell cultures.
Sanchez and her team discovered that, following THC, they had committed cancer cells as suicide. Sanchez explains why hemp treatment is better than conventional conservative treatment:
"One of the benefits of cannabinoids, or drugs based on them, is that they act specifically on tumor cells, they do not have any toxic effect on normal, healthy cells, a big plus compared to standard chemotherapy that works virtually on all cells."
In another study, Dronabinol, a synthetic form of THC, was administered to patients and proved to be as effective. Researchers at the University Hospital in Tübingen, Germany, assessed the effectiveness of THC in the fight against leukemia. They tested this cannabinoid on several types of leukemia cells ex vivo. In BMC Cancer, they published the following findings:
"Our study provides rigorous data to support clinical evaluation of THC as a nontoxic therapeutic option for patients suffering from acute leukemia. "
The Hemp Effect Survey suggests that cannabinoids may become the most promising available cancer treatment options that are widely available. Dr. Allen Herman, «Cannabis Science's» Head of Research, says:
"Cannabis Science believes that hemp extracts are a very important tool in the treatment of cancer, and we have an obligation to produce and make available the most effective and best hemp and to involve them in our cancer treatment strategy."
5. The influence of hemp on cardiovascular disease is still unclear
Some speculation arises that hemp use may increase the risk of hypertension. But how much do we really know about the link between the cardiovascular system and hemp use?
A group of scientists from California, Pennsylvania, and New York examined 24 studies to see if there was a clear correlation. All of the studies concerned adults who somehow used hemp.
Some of the studies examined have examined the link between hemp use and risk factors for stroke. These risk factors include, for example, hyperglycemia, diabetes, dyslipidemia or obesity. The aim of the study was to explore the link between hemp use and complications such as stroke, heart attack, cardiovascular death, and the cause of death overall.
At the end of the study, the researchers concluded that the studies considered were inadequate and did not provide direct evidence.
"Evidence to assess the combination of hemp and diabetes, dyslipidemia, acute myocardial infarction, stroke or death for cardiovascular or other illnesses were inadequate. Although the current literature lists several long-term studies, they are affected by inconsistent data collection, inadequate exposure times, minimal exposure to hemp, and the predominance of a set of low-risk factors."
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The lack of mainstream media reports on the results of studies dealing with the effects of hemp results in persistent distrust of healing therapies. State anti-drug laws stigmatize hemp use, putting it on the same footing as heroin, methamphetamine, or cocaine. The mainstream medical industry is inclined to believe that hemp is a dangerous drug. Therefore, it will take some time for the public to recognize and many health benefits of cannabis and before it is published.
Notwithstanding this, it is important to remember that, of course, the potential risks of hemp use exist and can not be underestimated. As with all substances that affect the human body, they can outweigh the negative effects. In the case of hemp, they may include, for example, confusion or increased anxiety. However, all scientists participating in the research agree that the more we examine hemp, the better we understand the potential benefits and risks of using this plant.