This shouldn’t come as news to marijuana users: Stereotypes regarding cannabis are often wrong. Research by GW Pharmaceuticals and the University of Buckingham in the United Kingdom has shown that some of the compounds found in marijuana can have a beneficial effect for people suffering from metabolic diseases associated with obesity.
In animal trials, it was discovered in 2012 that these compounds acted as appetite suppressants, lowered cholesterol, decreased fat buildup, and improved insulin response to sugars. These qualities could be used to reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke associated with obesity, as well as aid in weight management programs.
GW Pharmaceuticals is already working in the U.K. on a variety of marijuana-based drugs for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, cancer pain, and other conditions.
But back in the United States, most other research into the medical properties of marijuana has been stalled, thanks to the policies of the federal government, which discourages medical marijuana research and will only fund studies looking for dangers of cannabis, as opposed to its benefits.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), being the only legal supplier of marijuana for federally recognized studies, must grant final approval to all research applications to study the substance. So far, NIDA has refused to approve almost any study intending to find the potential medical benefits of marijuana.
These findings come at a time when 17 states and the District of Columbia have allowed the medical use of marijuana for a treating a variety of illnesses. A vast majority of Americans support these laws despite continued interference by federal law enforcement and the Obama Administration.
According to several polls, more than half of adult voters nationwide think that marijuana should be taxed and regulated in a manner similar to alcohol, which is a demonstrably more dangerous substance and contributes to many of the conditions that could potentially be helped with this research.
“These findings are extremely important, especially when it comes to comparing marijuana and alcohol,” said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. “Marijuana is obviously safer than alcohol, but now I understand why I gained 25 pounds when I stopped using marijuana but continued to use alcohol, beyond the fact that alcohol contains calories, while marijuana contains none.
“To now find out that marijuana’s molecular structure can actually help with obesity and related diseases is wonderful, but it’s also infuriating when one thinks about the Obama administration’s continued attacks on medical marijuana,” Kampia said. “If the First Lady is really concerned about obesity in America, she should tell her husband to stop interfering with state medical marijuana laws and research. After all, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes kill hundreds of thousands of people in this country every year. Marijuana kills exactly zero.”