Cannabis Battles Re-Emerging Disease: TB And Malaria - RxLeaf

Cannabis Battles Re-Emerging Disease: TB And Malaria

Matt Weeks
person holding bloody Kleenex after tb test coughing up blood

A TB test will quickly diagnose tuberculosis, but modern treatments are failing. Enter cannabis.

Here’s a scary statistic: nearly one-quarter of people in the world could benefit from a TB test. This is because, unwittingly, 25 percent of us carry this latent disease in our lungs. Even more sobering,  in 2017, tuberculosis (TB) killed 230,000 children.  Another worrisome fact is that TB carriers can develop slowly into an active disease state. When left untreated, TB may eventually kill its hosts, especially for patients with a compromised immune system. In fact, tuberculosis is one of the top 10 causes for death, worldwide.

Tuberculosis is what doctors refer to as a re-emerging disease. That is, it was once a prevalent epidemic, then experienced a period of sharp decline, only to make its way back into the mainstream. The bad news is that some re-emerging diseases are no longer responding the arsenal of modern drugs that we have.  Luckily, scientists now believe that cannabis may be a major player in combatting re-emerging diseases, such as tuberculosis and malaria.

failed tb test and lungs filled with bactera

Cannabis Passes the TB Test with Flying Colors

In 1955, a group of researchers, from what is now the Czech Republic, discovered that cannabis effectively treats tuberculosis. The Czechoslovakian Tubercular Nutrition Study concluded this was thanks to a specialized protein in cannabis seeds, called edestin. This plant protein helps the human immune system stand up to the ravages of tuberculosis.

The common name for tuberculosis is ‘consumption’. Sufferers appear consumed from the inside out due to rapid weight loss. The Czech researchers found that a diet high in specific proteins could stave off death by keeping the body healthy and hardy, preventing the consumption from raging out of control.

Other compounds in cannabis have antibacterial properties to fight the bacteria that causes TB — Mycobacterium tuberculosis. So, cannabis can simultaneously strengthen our bodies while dealing damage to the infection itself.

As Diseases Re-emerge so do Ancient Remedies

Despite the wonders of cannabis, surely, we still don’t need it to fight tuberculosis, right? If we nearly eradicated the disease once, shouldn’t we be better at it this time around, thanks to fancy new drugs and public health policies?

Well, not really. Before it was largely outlawed, cannabis actually was used to turn positive TB tests into negatives. And what worked back then can still work now, especially in this antibiotic-strained healthcare system.

The truth is TB, like other dangerous bacteria, are evolving. Multiple disease have  become resistant to drugs that used to work. Fortunately, cannabis has demonstrated the ability to kill even drug-resistant C.difficile and MRSA!

Mosquitoes are the organism known for spreading malarial infections to humans.

Cannabis is also Taking a Run at Malaria

Other ‘back-from-the-death’ diseases, such as malaria, have proven to be particularly vulnerable to medical cannabis treatments.

By way of background, malaria is more than just a mosquito-borne disease ravaging people in the jungles of Africa. It’s deadly to the tune of hundreds of thousands every year and is found in 87 countries. After a big dip in worldwide death rates for malaria, numbers are once again on the rise.  Malaria is a re-emerging concern in the minds of global health organizations.

Like tuberculosis, malaria is a treatable and preventable disease. It must, however, be caught early and effective medications need to be available. Unfortunately, also like tuberculosis, it’s become increasingly resistant to modern drugs. But, there is hope.

Greater Survival Rates when Treated with Cannabis:

In 2018, scientists discovered ‘malaria mice’ had far greater survival rates when treated with cannabis. In fact, in seven days following infection with malaria, 100% of the mice treated with cannabis remained alive. This compares to a 60% survival rate for those mice not given cannabis. Plus, the more cannabis the mice received, the longer the mice lived. Mice eating a diet of 40 percent cannabis lived the longest. Results showed those with diets of even 1% cannabis lived longer than those that did  not.

Cannabis may be a significant tool in staving off re-emerging epidemics. So, while a TB test may unpleasantly surprise 1.75 billion people, the healing properties of cannabis should stun no one. It’s a medicine that has healed for thousands of years. If you’re serious about world health, it’s time to make medical cannabis legal worldwide.

Matt Weeks

A writer living and working in Athens, GA, Matt's work has appeared in various newspapers, books, magazines and online publications over the last 15 years. When he's not writing, he hosts bar trivia, plays in local bands, and makes a mean guacamole. He holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and a master's degree in organizational theory. His favorite movie is "Fletch."

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