New Discoveries About the Potential of Medical Marijuana

Source: Alternet.org
Scientific discoveries are published almost daily in regard to the healing properties of the cannabis. But most of these findings appear solely in subscription-only peer-reviewed journals and, therefore, go largely unnoticed by the mainstream media and by the public:
Men Who Smoke Pot Possess a Reduced Risk of Bladder Cancer
Investigators at the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, Department of Neurology assessed the association of cannabis use and tobacco smoking on the risk of bladder cancer in a multiethnic cohort of more than 80,000 men aged 45 to 69 years old over an 11-year period. The results? While men who smoked cigarettes possessed a 1.5-fold increased risk of cancer, those who only smoked pot possessed a 45 percent reduced risk of being diagnosed with the disease.
Long-Term Pot Exposure Isn’t Damaging to Lung Health
Investigators at Emory University in Atlanta assessed marijuana smoke exposure and lung health in a large representative sample of US adults age 18 to 59. Researchers reported that cannabis exposure was not associated with FEV1 (forced expiratory volume) decline or deleterious change in spirometric values of small airways disease. They further reported that marijuana smoke exposure may be associated with some protective lung effects among long-term smokers of tobacco, acknowledging, “[T]he pattern of marijuana’s effects seems to be distinctly different when compared to that of tobacco use.”
Alcohol, Not Pot, Alters the Brain
It was less than a year ago when the mainstream media was chock-full of headlines like this one: ‘Brain changes associated with casual marijuana use in young adults…’ But…when a team of scientists from the University of Colorado and the University of Kentucky tried to replicate these results in a larger, more well-controlled cohort of subjects, they couldn’t.
Researchers summarized: “No statistically significant differences were found between daily users and nonusers on volume or shape in the regions of interest…(T)he results indicate that, when carefully controlling for alcohol use, gender, age, and other variables…[I]t seems unlikely that marijuana use has the same level of long-term deleterious effects on brain morphology as other drugs like alcohol.”
Marijuana Use Doesn’t Lead to Depression
..(A)ccording to longitudinal data published online ahead of print in the Journal of Affective Disorders, which reports that future incidences of major depression are not higher among cannabis users compared to nonusers. Investigators concluded, “Our results do not support a longitudinal association between cannabis use and increased incidence of MDD (major depressive disorder); rather, they indicate an inverse relationship between the two, which may be attributed to self-medication factors.”
Marijuana Possesses a Unique Margin of Safety Compared to Other legal and Illegal Drugs
..(A)n international team of researchers published a comparative risk assessment of the toxicity of tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis. Their evaluation concluded that the risks of cannabis have likely been “overestimated” while the dangers associated with booze “have been commonly underestimated…[Our] results point to risk management prioritization toward alcohol and tobacco rather than illicit drugs. … [and] suggest a strict legal regulatory approach [for cannabis] rather than the current prohibition approach.”

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