With nearly half of Americans having legalised access to weed, there is now a heightened push to explore the herb’s medicinal qualities to legitimise it as a form of treatment. Beyond its recreational characteristics, cannabis has many health benefits that stem from the way it affects the brain and the rest of the body. These benefits have given rise to medicinal marijuana, as well as the range of weed products that allow patients to easily access these health benefits through various methods of administration.
Whether you live in an area that’s open to marijuana use or not, it’s useful to know about how cannabis can relieve various ailments. This article will mention a few of those health benefits, and hopefully, give you more insight into the deeper value that the herb brings.
Relieves chronic pain
Cannabis contains various chemical compounds, most of which are called cannabinoids. These cannabinoids include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis – and cannabidiol (CBD), which may contribute to relieving chronic pain. THC binds to your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) through CB1 receptors, which signals your brain to inhibit pain pathways and causes your body to have decreased sensitivity to pain.
As such, it may help to use cannabis if you want to treat chronic pain resulting from conditions like arthritis. But before using this form of treatment, make sure to consult your doctor first to ensure that weed is a suitable option for you. It would also be ideal to discuss the best cannabis products for your condition with a trusted dispensary, especially if you plan to schedule a weed delivery soon.
In addition to pain relief, weed is also known for reducing inflammation. Cannabinoids such as CBD and THC activate immunosuppression by slowing down the reproduction of white blood cells, thus inhibiting chronic inflammation and swelling.
These anti-inflammatory effects can be useful in treating conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease (brain inflammation), inflammatory bowel diseases (ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease), skin diseases (psoriasis, eczema), and common injuries such as muscle sprains.
Promotes better sleep
Some studies suggest that using weed promotes better sleep, which can be helpful in treating sleep disorders such as insomnia. Although weed’s effects on sleep are still being explored, there is some evidence that THC’s binding onto CB1 receptors help you sleep easier, longer, and deeper. However, it’s important to note that this is applicable to THC in low doses, so it’s wiser to consult your dispensary on dosages that can best suit you. Similarly, it’s also thought that high doses of CBD may have calming effects that result in better sleep. If you’re not sure which product to get for your sleep issues, consider discussing with your dispensary on your desired effects concerning sleep.
That said, it’s also worth noting that certain weed strains may be more effective in inducing sleep. Cannabis indica, for example, is known to be more calming than the Sativa strain. The supposed “relaxing” qualities of the Indica strain make it the common choice for sleep and relaxation, as well as pain management.
Minimises anxiety and stress
Although weed is also known for potentially damaging psychoactive effects, several studies suggest that cannabis can also be helpful in treating mental health conditions. One study by Wayne State University found that weed can minimise activity in the amygdala in patients with trauma-induced anxiety, helping them achieve a calmer mental state. Another study by the Federal University of Parana in Brazil suggests that cannabis can minimize the intensity of traumatic memories, which could help those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) through further psychological treatment.
With its effects on the brain, weed can be useful for treating those who suffer from PTSD as well as anxiety, depression, panic attacks, hypervigilance, and other forms of self-destructive behaviour. Weed’s stress-relief qualities may even help prevent drug and alcohol relapse, which is often triggered by stressful situations. Other than that, weed’s capacity to lower stress levels may help in regulating blood pressure, therefore mitigating serious cardiovascular complications.
Research on weed’s effectiveness in preventing seizures is ongoing, but preliminary studies show that cannabis may help treat epilepsy and reduce seizure frequency. Cannabinoids aid in inhibiting excessive brain activity by binding onto CB1 receptors, which then signal excitatory neurons to calm down. This regulation of brain activity could potentially help keep seizures under control. On top of that, there is some evidence that CBD has antipsychotic and anticonvulsant effects that may help in treating seizures.
So while the use of cannabis for treating seizures is still being explored, it may help to talk to your doctor about considering weed as a treatment option if you tend to suffer from constant epileptic seizures.
Weed has more benefits that we are yet to explore
With much of marijuana’s medical benefits still being investigated, it’s safe to say that we might uncover more health advantages soon. In addition to the benefits mentioned in this list, weed is currently being explored for its capacity to increase appetite, mend bones, control autism-related mood swings, improve focus for attention deficit disorders, and control tremors due to Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, studies are ongoing for determining marijuana’s role in treating cancer.
Nowadays, we have moved past giving cannabis a bad rap and are fully embracing it for its medical qualities. Only time will tell how else we can maximise the use of the herb and how prevalent it will be for the benefit of everyone.
Zuella Montemayor did her degree in psychology at the University of Toronto. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.