Its use grows, and affirmations about the medical properties of this plant proliferate. Today science begins to reveal some of the hidden secrets of marijuana and its possible therapeutic use.
Hemp is nothing new; in fact, it has accompanied humanity almost forever. In Siberia, charred seeds have been found inside burial mounds dating back to 3,000 BC. The Chinese already used cannabis for medicinal purposes thousands of years ago, and the plant also has a long history in America, where George Washington himself grew it in his Mount Vernon estate.
An underground plant
From then on, and for almost seven decades, the plant was confined to secrecy, and medical research was practically paralyzed. In 1970, the United States Federal Government further hindered its study by including it in Section I of its drug classification, which lists dangerous substances, without any medical use, and with a high potential for addiction, such as heroin. In the United States, any researcher who wanted to expand cannabis knowledge became, by definition, a criminal.
Simply, there is more and more grass around us, and each time we are less surprised to perceive its unmistakable smell in the air. Yes, it is true that smoking marijuana can cause momentary fits of silly laughter, a propensity to withdraw into a most trivial situation, amnesia from what happened two seconds before, or an irrepressible desire to eat cheese hooks. And although no case of overdose death has been documented, marijuana – and in particular the most potent varieties recently developed – is also a powerful drug that, in some circumstances, is detrimental to health.
However, for many, cannabis has become a balm to relieve pain, induce sleep, stimulate appetite, and dampen the bumps that life sometimes gives. Its advocates claim that it greatly reduces stress. It can also be useful, among other things, as a pain reliever, antiemetic, bronchodilator, and anti-inflammatory. In the opinion of some scientists, the compounds present in the plant can help regulate vital functions, in addition to protecting the brain from both physical and emotional trauma, strengthening the immune system and contributing to the “extinction of memories” after catastrophic events.