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Can Cannabis Curb Parasites in Your Gut?

June 16, 2015

Cannabis has been used for various medical applications for thousands of years, from treating breast cancer to battling epilepsy, but there may be another health benefit of using cannabis, and you'll probably find it especially interesting if you've ever had the misfortune of uttering the following words:

Researchers at Washington State University have found that hunter-gatherer tribes that smoke cannabis are less likely to be infected by intestinal worms. The tribe, a pygmy group called the Aka, reside in the Congo basin and are among the world's last groups of hunter-gatherers. Of the nearly 400 adult Aka surveyed, 70% of males and 6% of females used cannabis regularly (apparently female tribe members refrain from regular cannabis use because they believe it will harm their fetuses if they're pregnant). While 95% of the group were found to be infected with hookworms and roundworms, regular cannabis users had far fewer parasites than non-users.

To quote the researchers:

"Worm burden was significantly negatively correlated with THCA, which is consistent with the chemotherapeutic hypothesis of drug use."

Also interesting is the fact that high cannabis users were less prone to reinfection after they had been treated with an anti-parasitic worm drug a year later. The tribe members don't seem to be consciously "self-medicating" in order to stave off parasites, but researchers believe that their "cravings" for cannabis could be biologically driven nonetheless. Ed Hagen, one of the study's co-authors, said, "In the same way we have a taste for salt, we might have a taste for psychoactive plant toxins, because these things kill parasites."

What does this mean for all you cannabis consumers out there? It's simple: the next time someone asks why you use cannabis, simply respond that you're biologically compelled to take preventative gut worm measures. Nobody likes gut worms.

  • andersonpatricia

    Beautiful! We sell our most basic biology short again and again don’t we? My son told me to look this up. We all got infected with pinworms after eating at a restaurant where English is a second language for many servers there. He and a friend have gotten over them easily while I have not and have to take poison. They both smoke a lot of cannabis. I do not smoke at all. I may start!

    • Cygnus Floyd

      Toke up!

  • Don Droga

    Protects against Malaria as well.

  • LotusFlowerBombOne

    My gut worms brought me here. Doing a parasite detox and was curious about terpenes in weed and do they kill parasites. If you ever want to drop a nuke on them try turpentine or black walnut complex cause just about everyone has them.