Safety of cannabis
According to an approved statement from the US Department of Justice in 1988, "Nearly all medicines have toxic, potentially lethal effects. But cannabis is not such a substance. There is no record in the extensive medical literature describing a proven, documented cannabis-induced fatality. In practical terms, cannabis cannot induce a lethal response as aresult of drug-related toxicity."
From January 1997 to June 2005, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported zero deaths caused by the primary use of cannabis. In contrast, common FDA-approved drugs which are often prescribed in lieu of cannabis (such as anti-emetics and anti-psychotics), were the primary cause of 10,008 deaths. The cannabinoid THC has an extremely low toxicity and theamount that can enter the body through the consumption of cannabis plants poses no threat of death.
In glaucoma, cannabis and THC have been shown to reduce intra-ocular pressure (IOP) by an average of 24% in people with normal IOP who have visual-field changes. In studies of healthy adults and glaucoma patients, IOP was reduced by an average of 25% after smoking a cannabis "cigarette"that contained approximately 2% THC—a reduction as good as that observed with most other medications available today, according to a review by the Institute of Medicine.
Spasticity in multiple sclerosis
A review of six randomized controlled trials of a combination of THC and CBD extracts for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) related muscle spasticity reported, "Although there wasvariation in the outcome measures reported in these studies, a trend of reduced spasticity in treated patients was noted." The authors postulated that "cannabinoids may provide neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory benefits in MS." A small study done on whether or not cannabis could be used to control tremors of MS patients was conducted. The study found that there was no noticeable difference of thetremors in the patients. Although there was no difference in the tremors the patients felt as if their symptoms had lessened and their quality of life had improved. The researchers concluded that the mood enhancing or cognitive effects that cannabis has on the brain could have given the patients the effect that their tremors were getting better.
Research done by the ScrippsResearch Institute in California shows that the active ingredient in marijuana, THC, prevents the formation of deposits in the brain associated with Alzheimer's disease. THC was found to prevent an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase from accelerating the formation of "Alzheimer plaques" in the brain more effectively than commercially marketed drugs. THC is also more effective at blocking clumps ofprotein that can inhibit memory and cognition in Alzheimer’s patients, as reported in Molecular Pharmaceutics. Cannabinoids can also potentially prevent or slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease by reducing tau protein phosphorylation, oxidative stress, and neuroinflammation.
According to a 2007 study at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, cannabidiol(CBD) may stop breast cancer from spreading throughout the body. These researchers believe their discovery may provide a non-toxic alternative to chemotherapy while achieving the same results minus the painful and unpleasant side effects. The research team says that CBD works by blocking the activity of a gene called Id-1, which is believed to be responsible for a process called metastasis,which is the aggressive spread of cancer cells away from the original tumor site.
Investigators at Columbia University published clinical trial data in 2007 showing that HIV/AIDS patients who inhaled cannabis four times daily experienced substantial increases in food intake with little evidence of discomfort and no impairment of cognitive performance. They concluded that smoked cannabis...