Cannabis Sativa (marijuana) is an old drug. When I say old, I mean quite literally ancient. As a medicinal herb, Cannabis found its way into the holistic medicinal chests of ancient healers across continents, cultures, and time. Its second scientific name, Sativa, comes from Latin and means “sown” and the hemp plant, Cannabis Sativa, has been cultivated by humans for thousands of years with some of the earliest archeological hemp evidence dating to 10,000 B.C.E. in the form of rope and bits of hemp cloth in Africa as well as bits of hemp nautical rope on Chinese ships dating to the Chou Dynasty (1122-249 B.C.E.).
Other than the rise of the prohibition era in the United States, Cannabis had actually not seen a decline in medicinal usage worldwide. It was the U.S. government, under the guise of the prohibition culture that had taken the nation, that began enforcing new restrictions against the plant, essentially ending a long and storied history in American history. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew it plentifully and most drug stores contained hemp oils in a wide variety of elixirs and tonics nationwide.
Doctors and scientists today are now pushing down the doors of Cannabis research and openly pondering if some of this age-old wisdom regarding the healing properties of Cannabis may just hold water scientifically. After several initial studies on the plant domestically and abroad addressing whether Marijuana could potentially have powerful anti-cancer effects and even cause cancer cells to go through apostasies (essentially self-destruct) comes the news that this powerful plant may also have the ability to slow or even stop the spread of HIV /AIDS.
The findings of a lengthy Louisiana State University study published last week in the journal AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses detail how scientists administered a daily dose of THC, an active ingredient in marijuana, to monkeys infected with an animal form of the HIV virus. Over the course of that period, scientists found that damage to immune tissue in the primates’ stomachs, one of the most common areas in the body for HIV infection to spread, decreased.
“These findings reveal novel mechanisms that may potentially contribute to cannabinoid-mediated disease modulation,” Dr. Patricia Molina, the study’s lead author, wrote. The report goes on to explain that while HIV spreads by infecting and killing off immune cells, the monkeys that received the daily THC treatments maintained higher levels of healthy cells.
My take? I find it interesting how many times the best answer to problems and imbalances in the body are better served through the usage of a naturally occurring healing chemicals through plants rather than these mass-produced chemical pills which, it should be noted, more often than not treat the symptoms of a disease rather than prevent or slow the disease itself.
A wide variety of herbs, spices, plants, enzymes, hormones, oils, etc. have a long (and proven) history of medicinal use and these healing chemicals are plant-based yet capable of curing a variety of ailments. They’re available naturally and can be consumed with little to no harm to the human body – it’s as if nature were in perfect balance with all its organisms, for every natural problem, there is a natural solution.. I agree with Hippocrates of ancient Greece “let thy food be thy medicine”.
So what is the future of Marijuana in the United States? Does the debate about medical marijuana stand alone on a plane of its own in the vast landscape of divisive, so-called “social issues”, or does this debate act instead as a microcosm for a broader healthcare problem in the United States? Do we have a healthcare system? or do we have a symptom management system? Do we have a corporate incentive to cure and/or prevent all disease to the furthest extent possible? or do pharmaceutical profits instead incentivize a system that better benefits the healthcare industry if there remains a population of sick