Essay on marijuana benefits on health

This project aims to investigate if marijuana is ultimately hazardous for human consumption or if it has certain favorable effects on the human body that can be quite beneficial to the users' lives. This project involves conducting a literature review on some of the accessible publications that describe the benefits of marijuana. Moreover, this task provides a deeper comprehension of how marijuana stands to be beneficial to the people by showing how the herb or drug cures and prevents certain illnesses. This project, therefore, seeks to educate the reader on the common stereotypical beliefs about marijuana, its positive impacts on the human body, and how the information concerning the benefits of marijuana was amassed.


The use of marijuana has been a contentious issue over the past years. However, in recent times, the world has witnessed the argument of legalizing the consumption of the drug escalate, leading to some states in the USA passing bills which make it legal to use marijuana. As such, new developments have been made. These developments include the growth and consumption of medical marijuana. This means that marijuana is grown through a well-monitored scientific process to ensure the herb is conducive for human intake (Santos, et al., 2015). Nonetheless, medical marijuana entails giving someone, mostly a patient, doses of marijuana to help solve their health issues although there are still many cases of people abusing the drug. It is within this context that the paper will, discuss and conduct a literature review concerning the benefits of marijuana as explained by different experts in this field.

Literature Review

Over the years, new laws have assisted researchers in conducting studies and making reports concerning the medicinal benefits of using cannabis sativa. These research projects have helped experts come up with appropriate explanations of the benefits of medical marijuana, and also the cons of utilizing the drug. It is important to mention that the adverse effects of abusing marijuana are evident and quite severe, and they may lead to dependency, memory loss, and emotional havoc. Literature materials concerning the use of marijuana tend to educate people and eradicate the stereotype assumption that consumption of the drug leads to a person being red-eyed and turning into an idle unemployed psychopath. These research projects give knowledge on positive results of using cannabis, and the health setbacks that may arise from abusing it.

According to Hill (2015), cannabis sativa has two chemical components that are rather active. One of the chemicals is cannabidiol, which is quite active in the brain thus leading to someone being "high." Secondly, the other chemical is tetrahydrocannabinol, which has components that tend to relieve pain and has other positive impacts on human health. Also, research conducted in the 1970s revealed that marijuana could prevent glaucoma, which is an eye disease that damages the optic nerve which leads to visual loss (Kolikonda et al., 2016). This is because marijuana lowers the intraocular pressure in people with normal optical pressure and those without, thus slowing the progression of the disease.

Furthermore, researchers found that smoking marijuana can increase the capacity of the lungs, contrary to the common belief that marijuana consumption damages the lungs at all times. The study revealed that when not abused, marijuana increased the capabilities of the lungs to function, while those of cigarette smokers were found to deteriorate over time. Possibly, this is because of the deep breaths marijuana smokers take that leads to the lungs increasing their capacities. Nonetheless, this is a positive impact on the body of a pot smoker.

According to Santos (2015), another significant benefit of marijuana is that it heals or lowers epilepsy. A study was conducted whereby cannabis sativa was given to epileptic rats, and they did not have seizures for ten hours. As mentioned earlier, marijuana has certain chemicals called, cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. These two compounds bind the brain cells responsible for excitability and relaxation, thereby controlling the seizures that erupt in an epileptic person. As such, with proper scientific research and enhancements, marijuana could be used to cure epilepsy, or at least prevent the seizures over a long time (Hill, 2015).

Marijuana can be quite beneficial to the health of certain people with rare diseases or illnesses. One of the rare disorders that marijuana controls are Dravet's Syndrome. A documentary conducted on the Figi family showed the parents of Charlotte Figi treat her with medical cannabis sativa to control her seizures. The documentary revealed that her seizures dropped from 300 seizures a week to just one in a week. This was a tremendous improvement on her health which led to healthcare practitioners recommending the use marijuana in such cases. As per that time, 40 children were using medical marijuana to reduce the signs of the severe seizure disorder. The Figi family uses medical marijuana strains that are high in cannabidiol and low in tetrahydrocannabinol. However, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the American Academy of Pediatrics do not support the use of marijuana for treatment of this or any other disorder.

One of the developments concerning the benefits of marijuana is that it can help prevent the spread of cancer. According to Hills (2015), these reports were made in 2007 by the San Francisco Medical Center. The chemical cannabidiol that is present in cannabis sativa turns off Id-1, which is a gene that cancer makes more copies of in the body than the non-cancerous cells thus helping in the spread of cancer. A research was performed on breast cancer cells, and they were treated with cannabidiol. Afterward, the cancer cells were less aggressive thus leading to stop the spread of the illness. Furthermore, documentaries have shown other research projects in Spain and Israel suggesting that cannabidiol chemicals may completely kill cancer cells (Pierre, 2015).

Medical marijuana is often used to treat the side effects of chemotherapy. This is because the herb alters the mind and brain activities thus helping in relieving pain and suppressing nausea. As such, in monitored doses, the drug can contribute to reducing anxiety, but when abused or taken in larger doses, it may increase anxiety (Pierre, 2010). Additionally, THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol assists in slowing the advancement of Alzheimer's disease. THC, the active chemical in marijuana, kills amyloid plaques which are the cells that cause Alzheimer's disease, by blocking the enzyme that makes them in the brain. This shows that indeed marijuana has tremendous benefits especially in the field of medicine.

A study by Webb and Webb (2014) revealed another benefit of marijuana which is, it helps in lowering the pains in multiple sclerosis. This is because cannabis sativa has chemicals that bind the muscle and receptors present in the nerves, which then eases the pain. A research was done on 30 patients who have multiple sclerosis, and they were all found to be in less pain after several days of smoking marijuana. Other reports suggest that muscle spasms can be stopped by the chemicals present in marijuana (Alegretti et al., 2013). The reports showed that a man was using medical marijuana to treat diaphragm spasms which could not be treated by the currently prescribed medications. His illness was called myoclonus diaphragmatic flutter, which causes abnormal contractions to occur in abdominal muscles, and they are not only severely painful, but they also interfere with the breathing system.

Treating Hepatitis C is quite hectic. This is because it has severe side effects that last for months. These side effects include depression, fatigue, muscle aches and nausea. As such, many people do not finish their treatment course due to these unbearable side effects. According to a recent study explained by Alegeretti et al., (2013), approximately 80% of patients who use marijuana managed to complete their treatment while only 20% of non-users completed theirs. This shows that marijuana aids in the treatment of Hepatitis C, which could be because marijuana suppresses the side effects of Hepatitis C treatment. Additionally, marijuana smokers had an increased effectiveness in how the treatment worked on them, as compared to the efficiency of the treatment on marijuana non-smokers (Webb and Webb, 2014).

Studies have revealed that marijuana smokers are less likely to suffer from obesity. This is because they have stronger reactions to sugar and they have a healthier metabolism. However, marijuana smokers get a lot of munchies which leads to them consuming a lot of calories. Nevertheless, marijuana smokers continue to have a better response to sugar. More so, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is a rare disease that makes the body fight itself for some reasons that are unknown. Medical marijuana is used to treat this illness. Certain chemicals that are present in medical marijuana have a calming effect on the symptoms of the disease. This shows that marijuana is quite effective in suppressing health illnesses or disease, which can be beneficial to the people.

According to Santos et al., (2015), marijuana has been known to increase the ability of a person to be creative. Although the memory of a person may have tampered been with while under the influence of marijuana, studies have revealed that marijuana smokers perform better at quests that require them to come up with new or advanced ideas. Nonetheless, excessive use of marijuana may lead to memory loss, and one may have a hard time remembering to perform his or her duties (Kolikonda et al., 2016). Also, marijuana increases the verbal fluency of the smoker, leading to better levels of communication. In as much as the above traits of marijuana are not health-related, it is still beneficial to people since marijuana assists in coming up with new concepts that may lead to the growth and development of the society.

A research from Israel revealed that marijuana might help in decreasing the symptoms of the Crohn's disease. This is an illness that causes diarrhea, pain, weight loss, vomiting among much more. This comes about due to a disorder that is brought about by inflammatory bowels (Alegretti et al., 2013). As such, marijuana chemicals such as the cannabinoids have been found to reduce the symptoms of the Crohn's diseases in 10 out of 11 patients. Therefore, marijuana is of great help since it assists in regulating intestinal functions and bacteria in the body.

Research methods used and data collected

The legal restrictions on marijuana make it difficult to access it for use in this study. The Food and Drug Administration only allows access to this drug to few selected research organizations under close supervision. There are also legal requirements to be granted permission to administer marijuana to human subjects upon acquiring it. This requires numerous finances and time availability. Due to these shortcomings, this research collected data from other sources. The first method was an online survey. This survey made use of the internet to collect information directly from patients who have used marijuana as a treatment option for epilepsy. Patients were issued with a number of open-ended questions, which they were to respond to. The online survey conducted collected information from 157 subjects. Of these, 102 were epilepsy patients while 52 of them were the parents of patients. The patients responded since their patients were young children who could not respond on their own. The questions they responded to gather information on the duration they had used marijuana as a treatment option for epilepsy, the average number of seizures the patients experienced in a week without any medication, the average number when using other medication options, and when using marijuana. The aim was to access the patients, health condition, reaction to other medication and marijuana. This data was also essential to provide a basis for comparing the effect of previous medication and that of marijuana. Other information collected included age, gender, and type of epilepsy.

The second method was a review of primary research conducted on the same. This involved going through the publications of organizations which had obtained their results by administering the drug to human subjects. As such, this study involves a review of a publication by GW Pharmaceuticals, Plc on their research on the research of medical marijuana on epilepsy as well as a review of a publication by Santos et al. In their research, GW Pharmaceuticals, Plc administered epidiolex to 214 subjects. Epidiolex is a drug, which is 99% pure cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive compound in marijuana (Epilepsy Foundation, 2017). The subjects were aged 2 to 26. They all had not reacted positively to previous medication. They were administered with the drug for 12 weeks. During this period, they were not under any other medication. It was an open-labeled trial which means that it was with the patients' consent as they were all aware of what was being administered to them(Epilepsy Foundation, 2017). The epidiolex being administered was produced and administered by GW with the consent of the Food and Drug Administration Agency.

The third method was a review of secondary sources. This involved publications of review studies conducted by other third parties on the same. As a result, this study involved data collected from a publication by scientific America on whether cannabis treats epileptic seizures. Scientific America gives a review of research conducted by Devinsky et al. on the subject. In the research, Devinsky et al. make use of 162 patients with epilepsy who were administered with epidiolex for a period of 12 weeks (Kwon, 2016). The research was an open ended trial. Additionally, the drug was administered as an additional medication to their current one. It also makes use of a review of a research by Kolikonda et al. (2016) on Medical Marijuana for Epilepsy. Further, the study makes use of information published by the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado on the use of marijuana for the treatment of epilepsy among children. The information from this foundation is based on research it did on Charlotte's web. This is a product produced by Stanley brothers. It is a compound, which is made up of cannabidiol.

Results and analysis of data

In the online survey, 98% of the patients recorded a decrease in the number of seizures they experienced while being administered with marijuana as an alternative treatment. They further noted a better improvement when under marijuana treatment than other medications. The improvement was however different among the patients. According to the information released by GW Pharmaceuticals, Plc, on their research, the administration of Epidiolex brought about positive results to the patients. The patients recorded a decrease in their seizures. The effect was however different among the patients. Some recorded a greater decrease than others. This research could not determine the difference of this disparity. However, the patients recorded an average decrease of 54% in their seizures (Epilepsy Foundation, 2017). The decrease in seizures was accompanied by some side effects. Patients experienced sleepiness, fatigue and a decrease in appetite. The side effects were however mild.

In Scientific America's report, the patients used in their research experienced a 36.5% median decrease in seizures (Kwon, 2016). Additionally, 2% of the patients were seizure free during the research period. However, they also experienced similar side effects such as mild fatigue, sleepiness, and a decrease in appetite. The Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado (2016), further support these results by pointing out that the use of Epidiolex has been noted to bring about a decrease in seizures among epilepsy patients. The organization notes that a high percentage of patients who have been administered with Charlotte's web have reported a significant decrease in seizures (Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado, 2016).

Santos et al. (2015), notes that the use of cannabis as a treatment for epilepsy yield better results than most of the previously used medication. They attribute this to the fact that cannabis is usually considered as an alternative when other medications have failed, and upon being administered, it has a positive impact. Kolikonda et al. (2016), point out that research to compare the effectiveness of marijuana and other previously used medication shows that marijuana is more effective. Further research conducted to determine the cannabinoids responsible for the health effect on seizures indicate that cannabidiol is the compound responsible.

From the above data, it is evident that the use of marijuana to treat patients with epilepsy brings forth a general improvement. Numerous studies conducted on this concept indicate a positive improvement among the patients. The improvement is noted through the reduction in the number of seizures the patients' experience. A large number of patients record a decrease in seizures while only a small number record being seizure free (Santos et al. 2015). As illustrated in the results, cannabidiol is responsible for the positive health effect. This can be attributed to the fact that patients administered with epidiolex recorded a higher improvement than those administered with normal marijuana. Epidiolex has a higher concentration of cannabidiol than normal marijuana. Various research conducted on the same all yield similar results leading to the conclusion that cannabidiol is responsible for regulating the seizures.

Discussion of hypothesis and conclusion

News on the use of marijuana as a treatment for epilepsy broke when the media covered a young eight years old girl from Colorado on the matter. She claimed that there had been a decrease in her seizures after being administered to the drug as a treatment option (Kwon, 2016). This news was followed by numerous studies on the subject. Research was conducted to establish the authenticity of the claims. Further, the research conducted intended to determine to what extent the drug had health benefits. Researchers also wanted to determine which compound found in marijuana could be responsible for the treatment effect.

When the news broke, there was a general concern among the public on the negative effect of the treatment process. Many were concerned that this treatment process had more negative effects than advantages. As such, many were cautious of considering it as an option. It was felt that more research should be conducted to shed more light on the matter. Research has been conducted to establish the effects of using the drug for treatment specifically. This is essential to ensure it does not do more harm than good and to gain the public's trust.

Unlike other research, scientists could not directly conduct research on this subject due to the legalities involved. The federal laws state that marijuana is an illegal drug. As a result, it is a challenge for the scientists to gain access to the drug for their research. To do so, scientists have to gain permission from the Food and Drug Distribution Agency (Kolikonda, 2016). The agency grants them permission to access the drug and administer it to human subjects. However, it monitors the entire process. Additionally, such research requires a lot of resources which leads to the challenge of financial and time constraints.

As illustrated in the results, there is a general improvement in the health of epileptic patients upon being administered with marijuana as a treatment option. The results are even better when epidiolex or Charlotte's web used as they consist purely of cannabidiol the compound responsible for the healing effect. Based on these results, marijuana is not only a narcotic but also a curative one. However, patients have reacted differently to the treatment with some yielding better results than others. Scientists are yet to establish the reason for the difference in performance among patients. In a research conducted by Devinsky et al. there were 2% of the patients who were seizure free during the study period. These patients were being administered with epidiolex as an additional treatment to the treatment they were using (Kwon, 2016). This combination brought about the question on whether a combined treatment was the answer to effectively curing epilepsy. Further research should be conducted to determine the same.

In all the studies conducted on the subject, patients experienced mild side effects. The side effects included sleepiness, fatigue, and a decrease in appetite. However, these are short term effects as the duration of the research conducted was not sufficient to determine long term effects. Despite being a plant, marijuana is broken down in the liver just like a drug (Epilepsy Foundation, 2017). As such, further research should be conducted to determine if they are long term effects. Despite the possibilities of long-term effects, the fact that marijuana has positive effects in the treatment of epilepsy still holds. As a result, it is reasonable to consider using it in the case that other medications fail to yield results.

In conclusion, it is critical for one to understand that most of the benefits of marijuana are health-related. As such, many people across the globe pushing for the legalization of the drug because the herb can aid in solving or developing cures concerning fatal illnesses such as cancer. However, marijuana has its side effects when abused. Therefore, the best way to lead a healthy life while consuming cannabis sativa is to use medical marijuana under the supervision and prescription of an expert in this field (Santos, et al., 2015). Besides that, marijuana is quite beneficial to the society for it improves the health status of the people.


Epilepsy Foundation. (2017). Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy. Retrieved July 25, 2017, from

Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado. (2016). EFCO Report to the Community. Retrieved July 25, 2017, from

Kolikonda, M. K., Srinivasan, K., Enja, M., Sagi, V., & Lippmann, S. (2016). MEDICAL

MARIJUANA FOR EPILEPSY?. Innovations In Clinical Neuroscience, 13(3/4), 23-26.

Kwon, D. (2016). Can Cannabis Treat Epileptic Seizures? Retrieved July 25, 2017, from

Santos, R., Hallak, J., Leite, J., Zuardi, A., & Crippa, J., (2015). Phytocannabinoids and

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Hill, K. P. (2015). Medical marijuana for treatment of chronic pain and other medical and psychiatric problems: a clinical review. Jama, 313(24), 2474-2483.

Pierre, J. M. (2010). Psychosis associated with medical marijuana: risk vs. benefits of medicinal cannabis use. American Journal of Psychiatry, 167(5), 598-599.

Allegretti, J. R., Courtwright, A., Lucci, M., Korzenik, J. R., & Levine, J. (2013). Marijuana use patterns among patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Inflammatory bowel diseases, 19(13), 2809.

Webb, C. W., & Webb, S. M. (2014). Therapeutic benefits of cannabis: a patient survey. Hawai'i Journal of Medicine & Public Health, 73(4), 109.

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