New Research Shows Marijuana Fights Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis and Allergies
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 12/08/2010 in Medical Marijuana Research
Earlier this month the European Journal of Immunology published a study led by University of South Carolina researcher Prakash Nagarkatti (an immunologist who has been exploring the potential of cannabis for eight years), which finds that marijuana may help in the fight against arthritis, multiple sclerosis or allergies.
Nagarkatti’s study found a connection between the cannabinoids found in marijuana and the immune system, and found good and bad news about how cannabinoids suppress the immune system. He says cannabinoids might be a new tool for doctors to treat arthritis and multiple sclerosis, which are auto-immune diseases in which a person’s immune system goes into overdrive and destroys healthy cells. By suppressing immune response, cannabinoids could lessen the severity of those types of disease, and they could also help people with allergies and help fight against transplant rejection.
But on the other hand, these findings also indicate that by suppressing the body’s immune functions, cannabis may potentially speed the growth of some cancers. Nagarkatti refers to the findings as “a double-edged sword,” but also notes that cannabis is a complex drug. There are more than 400 cannabinoids found in cannabis, many of which we have yet to fully understand—especially since some of these compounds work differently in conjunction with one another than they do alone. The federal government makes it difficult for researchers to study marijuana to discover all of the plant’s potential, particularly with human studies.
Also, it’s important to note that even though this study has found negative connotations for cannabis and cancer, countless other studies have found very positive results with medical marijuana and cancer. For example, studies have shown that THC kills brains cells, cuts lung cancer cells in half, and may stop breast cancer from spreading. All in all, it’s an indication of just how important and valuable it is for researchers to learn more about this powerful medicine.