Cannabis and Third World Healthcare

Philip Ghezelbash July 31, 2019 0 comments

Access to medicine they can grow will create a revolution in third world healthcare.

Could cannabis provide healthcare for millions of people in poverty? An institute was launched in May with the goal of achieving just that – cannabis for third world healthcare.

The aim of the International Phytomedicines Institute (IPL) is to provide the benefits of medicinal cannabis to patients all over the world. Their hope is that it will help to reduce the gap that poverty creates in healthcare. Phytomedicine refers to the use of plant material for medicinal treatment. Cannabis is one of the first plants that Harvard Medical School’s International Phytomedicines Institute will investigate. 

By exploiting and discovering the medicinal potential of plants like cannabis, the IPL is looking to create pharmaceutical grade products that provide proven health benefits. But they’re not stopping at just creating new cannabis medicines. The Harvard Institute also wants to provide widespread easy access to these treatments. Hopefully through this they can improve global healthcare access and outcomes for communities in poverty. 

WHO Says Third World Healthcare is Inadequate

Healthcare statistics in developing countries paint a bleak picture. One report from the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) demonstrated that when treatments are in high demand, people end up suffering. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that tens of millions of people every year are forced to suffer through severe health conditions because they don’t have access to adequate treatment. 

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In the same vein, less than 8 percent of the 100 million people around the world who require palliative care actually receive the treatment they need. 

third world healthcare

Even in so-called “developed” countries like the United States, there is a strong link between low-income levels and poor health outcomes. Even when accounting for health risk factors like smoking, obesity, and drug abuse, there is still a higher risk of poor health for those living at a low-income level. 

The conditions that can occur in impoverished regions makes this lack of adequate healthcare all the more concerning. Faced with low quality sanitation, food, clean water, and shelter, exposure to disease and infection is significantly increased

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Could Cannabis Help with Third World Healthcare?

Recent research into the therapeutic and medicinal properties of cannabis and its compounds has demonstrated that cannabis offers a lot of potential as a treatment for a range of symptoms and diseases. 

Pain Relief for Chronic and Acute Conditions

Cannabis seems to have strong analgesic properties. Its two main cannabinoids (CBD and THC) demonstrate an ability to reduce pain levels. A reduction in pain would be able to drastically improve the lives of many, including those without access to treatment. Cannabis-derived medications have already demonstrated an ability to reduce even seemingly unmanageable pain. In fact, 43 percent of cancer patients reportedly take cannabis specifically to treat their pain.  

THC has demonstrated a modulating effect on opioid release through its activation of the CB1 receptor. Additionally, research has shown that CBD initiates a cellular cascade and inhibitory response that could lead to a reduction in pain perception. 

THC is a Recognized Anti-Nauseant

Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms of many diseases and can be debilitating. Moreover, this can lead to more complicated symptoms. It is especially risky for those living in poverty with reduced access to food, clean water, or sanitation. 

Research has shown that THC has a significant effect on nausea levels in patients. It could provide a valuable therapeutic tool to many patients across the world. Researchers believe that THC’s antiemetic effect occurs through the neutralization of the effects of the 5-HT3 receptor. This receptor is strongly associated with the onset of nausea.  

cannabis and third world healthcare nurse dispensing medicine

Cannabis Improve Symptoms Of Mood Disorders

Poverty often severely restricts access to mental health services. Low-income patients are more likely to develop mental health problems. And sadly, they are also less likely to have access to quality mental healthcare. 

This makes the development of accessible and successful treatments of mood disorder symptoms all the more necessary. 

Studies have shown that cannabis has a positive effect on the symptoms of mood disorders, like depression and anxiety. CBD, specifically, has demonstrated an ability to significantly improve the symptoms of depression. It is thought that CBD may achieve this by activating the 5-HT1A receptor and initiating the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter key to improving mood disorder symptoms. 

Reduce Overall Symptoms of Disease 

The World Health Organization released a report stating that CBD might prove useful as a treatment for the symptoms of diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. With CBD’s neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties, it may be able to provide relief to many patients struggling with both their disease and access to treatment. 

All people deserve equal access to quality health care, regardless of poverty or location. It seems that cannabis has the potential to offer an adaptable and efficient solution to many third world healthcare problems. And fortunately, IPL are catching on and ready to make cannabis treatments accessible.

Author avatar

Philip Ghezelbash
Philip Ghezelbash is an ex-personal trainer with a science background who currently operates New Zealand's only health specialized writing studio. He is passionate about presenting complex science in an easy to digest manner and is a firm believer that cannabis has substantial potential to be used as a medicine for degenerative disease.