Cannabis for Parasites and Intestinal Worms
Parasites and intestinal worms can affect the gastro-intestinal system of humans as well as other animals. There are dozens of different kinds of varieties of these pests, which can live all throughout the human body. However, most parasites and worms prefer to live inside your intestinal walls.
Causes of parasites and intestinal worms include drinking infected water, undercooked food, and skin exposure. Symptoms of being infected with parasites or worms include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, bloating, dysentery, fatigue, changes in bowel movement and appetite, stomach tenderness, pain, rashes around the vulva or rectum.
How Can Cannabis Help?
A study conducted by Washington State University revealed that hunter-gatherer tribes who smoked cannabis were less likely to get infected by intestinal worms. The pygmy tribe referred to as the Aka, live by the Congo basin. They are also some of the world’s last remaining hunter-gatherers.
400 members of adult Aka participated in the study; this group in particular have a high prevalence of intestinal worms. The results showed that 70% of males while 6% of females regularly consumed cannabis. There is a large difference among female users because they have a belief that it would cause danger to the fetuses if cannabis is used while pregnant. It was also found that 95% of the tribe were infected with intestinal worms such as roundworms and hookworms although those that used cannabis regularly had significantly less parasites than those who didn’t use. The researchers stated, “Worm burden was significantly negatively correlated with THCA, which is consistent with the chemotherapeutic hypothesis of drug use.”
Another interesting fact is that the tribe members who used cannabis regularly were at less risk for reinfection once they were treated with anti-parasitic worm drugs later on. It also appears that the tribe members aren’t consuming cannabis with the intention of self-medicating and to prevent infection although the researchers think that the affinity for cannabis could be a biological matter. One of the study’s co-authors, Ed Hagen, said, “In the same way we have a taste for salt, we might have a taste for a psychoactive plant toxins because these things kill parasites.” Hagen also found out through his previous research that even the heavy tobacco smokers among the tribe has lesser incidence of parasitic intestinal worms. However, the researchers aren’t sure when the Aka may have fist began consuming cannabis, or when it arrived in their continent. They assume that the cannabis was brought by traders from the Indian subcontinent during the first century AD, although Hagen and his colleagues assume that it wasn’t smoked until colonizers from Europe arrived during the 17th century
In 1995, a study was published in the Indian Journal of Experimental Biology. The researchers were the first to use scanning electron microscopy (SEM) technology to determine the impact of cannabis on worms. The results revealed that cannabis extracts in varying dosages were effective in causing degenerative, destructive, and even necrotic alterations to parasites. The extract was even found to be more powerful than medicinal versions.
The highly respected cannabinoid scientist and expert Raphael Mechoulam wrote a 1987 essayc called Toward Cannabinoid Drugs. In it, he said that cannabis was promising for its anthelmintic properties although “experimental work in this area with cannabinoids has not yet been reported.”
Ancient Use of Cannabis For Parasites
A 2010 report from Uganda also showed that villagers were using cannabis to keep intestinal infections in their chickens at bay. To the villagers in the agricultural region, chickens are an extremely important resource for both meat and eggs. This is just one of the cases that indicate humans may have been using cannabis to treat parasites and infections in their animals for as long as we’ve been medicating ourselves.
In Ayurvedic, Unani, and Siddha medicine, cannabis is part of the traditional wellness system and used as an anthelmintic (medicine to treat parasitic worms) for both cattle and humans. In China, cannabis juice and seeds are used as anthelmintics as well. The famous European herbalist Nicholas Culpeper discussed hemp in his 1653 opus, The Complete Herbal. He says, “hemp is very good to kill the worms in men or beasts.” Before the prohibition in the USA, hash was also used for “expulsion of Tenia” (a type of tapeworm).
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