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Many believe that medical cannabis or medical marijuana has the ability to cure and control cancer in some patients. Researchers found that marijuana could slow down Alzheimer’s disease and it could help people with diabetes. WebMD/Medscape found that more doctors believe that "medical marijuana should be legalized nationally and that it can deliver real benefits to patients." A push by the Epilepsy Foundation recently called on the Drug Enforcement Administration to relax its restrictions on marijuana so that it can be properly studied. While many doubt that smoking pot can really help people, the barriers are slowly coming down. Former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy admitted in a CBS interview that there is preliminary data showing that marijuana can be helpful. His statement echoes a growing sentiment in scientific communities that the health benefits of marijuana should no longer be ignored. Here are 6 ways that cannabis can heal.

It may heal bones.

Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine found that using marijuana can help broken bones heal quicker. "We found that CBD, or cannabidiol alone makes bones stronger during healing, enhancing the maturation of the collagenous matrix, which provides the basis for new mineralization of bone tissue. After being treated with CBD, the healed bone will be harder to break in the future," lead researcher Dr. Yankel Gabet found. He shared that we respond to cannabis because we are built with "intrinsic compounds and receptors that can also be activated by compounds in the cannabis plant." Research is still ongoing in this area.

It may treat Alzheimer's disease.

The Alzheimer's Association explained when protein pieces called beta-amyloid clump together in the brain, it may cause Alzheimer's disease. "Beta-amyloid comes from a larger protein found in the fatty membrane surrounding nerve cells. Beta-amyloid is chemically sticky and gradually builds up into plaques." Medical marijuana could slow down the progress of the protein deposits in the brain that cause Alzheimer's. How is this possible? Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a chemical found in marijuana and it is believed to relax the production of beta-amyloid proteins causing the problem. The chemical in the plant also helps patients gain weight and to become less agitated.

It may shrink cancer cells.

THC has been effective in killing cancer cells in animal studies and improved the impact of radiation on cancer cells. The American Cancer Society reported that there have been clinical trials in treating cancer in humans. "While the studies so far have shown that cannabinoids can be safe in treating cancer, they do not show that they help control or cure the disease." However, more people are investigating their options. A child was given medical marijuana from a private clinic in England to find that it had an impact on his tumors. William Frost is a 4-year-old dying of brain cancer and his parents were desperate to find alternative treatments. But they found it in cannabis. "The tumor had shrunk by two-thirds, and William was well enough to return to school, " Metro reported. The treatment is being also used to treat skin cancer, prostate cancer and leukemia. Because the tumors shrunk in Frost's case, the medical community is doing more research.

It may ease rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects more than 2 million Americans and is accompanied by pain, stiffness and inflammation. RA is an autoimmune disease where the body's immune system starts attacking the joints, mistaking it as a foreign body. The usage of cannabis has "Potent immuno-modulatory effects has led to research directed at understanding the function and role of these receptors within the context of an immunological cellular function," the Department of Immunology, National Institute of Neuroscience in Tokyo found. By reducing inflamation, sufferers of RA could find true relief.

It can be used to treat glaucoma.

Glaucoma is an eye condition that comes from the increased fluid pressure inside the eyes. The fluid then damages the optic nerve and it leads to blindness. The National Eye Institute (NEI)  explained that marijuana use can be used to treat and prevent the eye disease glaucoma. They started doing studies in 1978 where it showed that "Marijuana lowered intraocular pressure in people with normal pressure and those with glaucoma." They also noted that the side effects from smoking marijuana along with using medications for glaucoma treatment were factors in preventing the disease.

It can be used to treat HIV.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, over 1 million people in the United States are living with the HIV infection. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that marijuana may help people with HIV wasting syndrome to gain weight. They reported that cannabis helped muscle pain levels, nausea, anxiety, depression, skin tingling and helped other aches associated with the disease. "Studies have found that daily and chronic neuropathic pain related to HIV can be significantly lowered by regular cannabis consumption," IOM reported.

Cannabis is a controversial subject. However, we can't discount that there are benefits for many people who are suffering from ailments and other maladies. More studies need to be done to support some of the theories discussed in this article. If people are able to be helped, like the child in England experienced, then we need to reconsider our approach to cannabis.
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