People with chronic pain, tremors and spastic movements, along with cancer patients who suffer constant nausea as a result of chemotherapy, may have good reasons for breaking the law and light up the occasional joint.
Cannabis has been proven to have a beneficial effect on pain, nausea and neurological disorders. The active substances of the cannabis plant can even kill cancer cells, research shows.
”There is scientific evidence that cannabis has a calming, appetite-stimulating and even an analgesic effect,” says Harald S. Hansen, a professor at the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Pharma industry shuns cannabis
Cannabis has more than 60 so-called cannabinoids – chemicals that affect receptors in the brain when they enter the bloodstream.
As early as in 2005, Professor Hansen and colleagues published a study (in Danish only), which concluded that medical cannabis has numerous benefits. The cannabinoids were found to have beneficial effects on a long series of animal models of diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), cancer, epilepsy, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and gastrointestinal diseases.
Despite this, research into the beneficial effects of cannabis rarely makes it beyond the university labs or, at best, into scientific journals, because the pharmaceutical industry is not very keen to use the infamous plant in its drugs, says Hansen.
”When substances have a euphoriant effect it is difficult to get them approved for medicinal use, so they would rather not work with these substances.”
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