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20 Health benefits of cannabis that everyone should know

Cannabis can be found in various forms, and the health benefits of cannabis is ever growing, here Tara Leo of CaliExtractions gives us an insight regarding the diverse benefits of the plant.

Cannabis contains CBD which is a chemical that impacts the brain, making it function better without giving it a high along with THC which has pain relieving properties. Both substances can be extracted and enhanced for use through short path distillation. Users can get the following health benefits of cannabis:

Relief of chronic pain

There are hundreds of chemical compounds in cannabis, many of which are cannabinoids. Cannabinoids have been linked to providing relief of chronic pain due to their chemical makeup. Which is why cannabis’ by-product such as medical cannabis is commonly used for chronic pain relief.

Improves lung capacity

Unlike smoking cigarettes, when smoking cannabis in the form of cannabis your lungs aren’t harmed. In fact, a study found that cannabis actually helps increase the capacity of the lungs rather than cause any harm to it.

Help lose weight

If you look around, you will notice that the avid cannabis user is usually not overweight. That is because cannabis is linked to aiding your body in regulating insulin while managing caloric intake efficiently.

Regulate and prevent diabetes

With its impact on insulin, it only makes sense that cannabis can help regulate and prevent diabetes. Research conducted by the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis (AAMC) has linked cannabis to stabilise blood sugars, lower blood pressure, and improve blood circulation.

Fight cancer

One of the biggest medical benefits of cannabis is its link to fighting cancer. There is a good amount of evidence that shows cannabinoids can help fight cancer or at least certain types of it.

Helps treat depression

Depression is fairly widespread without most people even knowing they have it. The endocannabinoid compounds in cannabis can help in stabilising moods which can ease depression.

Shows promise in autism treatment

Cannabis is known to calm users down and control their mood. It can help children with autism that experience frequent violent mood swings control it.

Regulate seizures

Research conducted on CBD has shown that it can help control seizures. There are ongoing studies to determine the effect cannabis has on individuals with epilepsy.

Mend bones

Cannabidiol has been linked to helping heal broken bones, quickening the process. According to Bone Research Laboratory in Tel Aviv, it also helps strengthen the bone in the process of healing. This makes it tougher for the bone to break in the future.

Helps with ADHD/ADD

Individuals with ADHD and ADD have trouble focusing on tasks at hand. They tend to have problems with cognitive performance and concentration. Cannabis has shown promise in promoting focus and helping individuals with ADHD/ADD. It is also considered a safer alternative to Adderall and Ritalin.

Treatment for glaucoma

Glaucoma leads to additional pressure on the eyeball which is painful for individuals with the disorder. Cannabis can help reduce the pressure applied on the eyeball providing some temporary relief to individuals with glaucoma.

Alleviate anxiety

While Cannabis is commonly known to cause anxiety, there is a way around that. Taken in monitored dosage and in the proper way, cannabis can help alleviate anxiety and calm users down.

Slow development of Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is one of many that is caused by cognitive degeneration. As we age, cognitive degeneration is almost unavoidable. Cannabis’s endocannabinoid contains anti-inflammatories that fight the brain inflammation that leads to Alzheimer’s disease.

Deal with pain linked to arthritis

Cannabis is now commonly found as creams and balms which are used by individuals that have arthritis. Both THC and CBD help sufferers deal with the pain.

Helps with PTSD symptoms

PTSD doesn’t just affect veterans but any individual that goes through a trauma. As cannabis is legalised the impact it has on helping treat individuals with PTSD is being studied. Cannabis helps control the fight or flight response, preventing it from going into overdrive.

Helps provide relief to individuals with multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis can be painful, and cannabis is known to provide relief for it. Multiple sclerosis leads to painful muscle contractions and cannabis can help reduce that pain.

Reduces side effects linked to hepatitis C and increase the effectiveness of treatment

The treatment for hepatitis C has numerous side effects that include nausea, fatigue, depression, and muscle aches. These can last for months for some hepatitis C sufferers. Cannabis can help reduce the side effects caused by the treatment while making it more effective at the same time.

Treats inflammatory bowel diseases

Individuals with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis can find some relief with the use of cannabis. THC and cannabidiol are known to help enhance immune response while also interact with cells that play a vital role in the functioning of the gut. Cannabis helps block off bacteria and other compounds that cause inflammation in the intestines.

Helps with tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease

For those that have Parkinson’s disease cannabis can help reduce tremors and pain while also helping promote sleep. It has also shown to improve motor skills in patients.

Helps with alcoholism

Another one of the many health benefits of cannabis is that there is no doubt cannabis is much safer than alcohol. While it may not be 100% risk-free, it can be a smarter way to curb alcoholism by substituting it with cannabis.

Tara Leo
Content Marketing Manager
CaliExtractions

Cannabis can be found in various forms, and the health benefits of cannabis is ever growing, here Tara Leo of CaliExtractions gives us an insight regarding the diverse benefits of the plant.

Health Conditions Medical Marijuana Can Treat

Elizabeth Hartney, BSc, MSc, MA, PhD, is a psychologist, professor, and Director of the Centre for Health Leadership and Research at Royal Roads University, Canada.

Elizabeth I. Molina Ortiz, MD, is board-certified in family medicine. She is a primary care provider with Atrius Health in Boston and was the medical director of Charles River Community Health.

Throughout the early decades of the 21st century, the use of medical marijuana has been increasingly explored and recognized to treat a range of problems that are ineffectively treated with other drugs and therapies.

The support of physicians and patients who have found medical marijuana to be effective in helping with symptoms of these conditions has led some jurisdictions to allow the use of medical marijuana under the prescription of a physician for a recognized condition.

Derivatives of marijuana, and synthetic marijuana, which aim to give the same medical benefits without the drug high, are also being developed and in some cases, used as forms of medical marijuana. One of these synthetic forms of medical marijuana is Marinol.

What It Can Treat

Over 200 separate indications or uses for medical cannabis have been identified. These can be broken down into the following broad categories:

  • Anti-nauseant and appetite stimulant
  • Anti-spasmodic and anti-convulsant
  • Analgesic (pain reliever)
  • Anti-inflammatory and immune system modulator
  • Anxiolytic (anxiety reliever) and anti-depressant for mood disorders
  • Harm reduction substitute for alcohol, opiates, and other dangerous drugs
  • Miscellaneous applications like glaucoma and asthma.

Although it is important to note that the FDA has not approved marijuana for any medical indication, specific conditions which medical marijuana can be prescribed for include, but are not limited to:

  • Chronic pain
  • Nausea (including nausea associated with chemotherapy)
  • HIV
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Glaucoma
  • IBS

Harmful Effects

Several potentially harmful effects of medical marijuana have been identified. These include cardiovascular issues associated with marijuana use such as heartbeat and blood pressure implications, issues while breastfeeding during pregnancy, and possible allergic reactions to marijuana.

Although the risks of medical marijuana are not currently considered to be high, people with heart problems may be affected by the increase in heart rate—tachycardia—caused by marijuana intoxication, and should avoid marijuana or only use after discussing the risks and benefits with their prescribing physician.

Marijuana occasionally causes faintness when users stand up abruptly, a condition known as postural hypotension. This poses a risk of passing out, falling, and possibly suffering a potentially fatal injury. The effects of marijuana on blood pressure are unpredictable, so any concerns should be discussed with your prescribing physician.

Pregnancy

The effects of marijuana during pregnancy are mixed, with some advocating for using medical marijuana as a treatment for morning sickness, and other research indicating possible serious neurological effects on the developing child. A review of research on the effects of prenatal exposure to marijuana on children at various stages of development shows a potential increased risk of stillbirth and low birthweight.

However, these studies, as well as those reflecting the consequences of prenatal marijuana exposure at later stages of development, are confounded or confused by the fact that women who use marijuana during pregnancy are more likely to engage in other behaviors which put the baby at risk, such as tobacco smoking.

Overall, doctors have expressed concern about the safety of marijuana during pregnancy. Marijuana is fat soluble, and easily crosses the placenta and the blood-brain barrier. Therefore, if the mother uses marijuana, it can accumulate in the tissues and brain of the baby. It has the potential to disrupt motor control, memory, and other brain functions.

There is a significantly increased risk for anencephaly—a serious birth defect in which a baby is born without parts of the brain and skull—when the fetus is exposed to marijuana during the first month of gestation, 1 to 4 weeks after conception.

There is also some evidence that marijuana use during pregnancy can impair structural brain development, as well as the neurotransmitters which play a role in cognitive and emotional functioning. This can lead to impaired regulatory control: irritability, tremors, and poor habituation; difficulty with arousal and state regulation; and sleep disturbance.

Developmental Issues

Numerous studies have documented neurodevelopmental deficits in older children, adolescents, and young adults who were prenatally exposed to marijuana. These studies are consistent with the effects of cannabis on the developing fetal central nervous system.

Children who had been prenatally exposed to marijuana and were followed up over time were found to have a consistent pattern of deficits in cognitive functioning. At 6 years of age, prenatal marijuana exposure was linked to lower verbal reasoning scores and deficits in composite, short-term memory, and quantitative intelligence scores. By the time they were 10 years of age, negative effects of prenatal marijuana exposure had a significant impact on design memory and assessments of learning and memory, and the exposed children had lower test scores on school achievement.

They were also more likely to have increased hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention problems as well as significantly increased rates of child depressive symptoms. These symptoms significantly predicted delinquency at 14 years and a significantly increased rate of difficulties with executive functioning, which is central to learning and managing behavior. Young adults who had been prenatally exposed to marijuana have been found to have altered neural functioning that impacted short-term memory.

As stated above, these research findings are complicated by the tendency of children of mothers who use marijuana during pregnancy to have been exposed to other substances, stressors, and other problems. However, until more conclusive research is available, marijuana is best avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Potential Reactions

Several reactions to marijuana have been reported, including racing heartbeat, faintness, twitches, numbness, and headaches. Adverse reactions are not always evident at first but may develop over time as the person is exposed to more marijuana. Although rare, true allergies to marijuana can occur and range from rashes and itchiness to full flown anaphylaxis. If you experience any symptoms that you think may be allergy related, discontinue use and discuss with your prescribing physician.

What Is Marinol?

Marinol is a form of medical marijuana. It is a synthetic version of the delta-9-THC compound, which occurs naturally in the cannabis plant. Marinol is prescribed as an appetite stimulant for people who have severe symptoms of appetite loss, nausea and vomiting, caused by conditions such as AIDS and cancer, as well as by treatment of these conditions.

Medical marijuana is controversial because recreational marijuana has been a controlled drug for many years. For this reason, Marinol is only prescribed to people who have severe conditions, and who have not responded adequately to other treatments for their symptoms.

Marinol Effects and Side Effects

People who take Marinol may experience some of the pleasurable effects of regular recreational marijuana, including elation and euphoria.

Marinol can have some unpleasant side effects, including paranoia and unusual thoughts, upset stomach, and drowsiness.

Is Medical Marijuana Just Another Way to Abuse Drugs?

The terms “drug abuse” and “substance abuse” are judgmental and imply blame of the person using substances. Therefore, the use of these terms is falling out of favor with professionals. However, the question of whether the current medical marijuana system is being used as intended does raise some interesting findings.

Research reported in 2017 indicated that marijuana users who are not medical marijuana patients report using marijuana diverted from dispensaries. Such marijuana users are more likely to use prescription drugs not prescribed to them than those who are prescribed marijuana. This indicates that recreational users are turning to illicit, diverted, prescribed sources of substances, rather than traditional street drugs, adding medical marijuana to the list of prescribed drugs being diverted for recreational use.

However, those who are prescribed marijuana may be benefiting greatly from access to medical marijuana. The same research showed that compared to users who are not medical marijuana patients, young adult medical marijuana patients use more marijuana, and vaporize concentrates of marijuana, such as oil, dab, and wax, more commonly.

On the flip side, many marijuana users who do not access the drug through medical sources report self-medicating untreated symptoms with marijuana and other drugs illegally. And another study of healthcare providers in the state of Washington, where marijuana is legal for both medical and recreational use, shows that many of them are uncomfortable recommending medical marijuana.

So while the medical marijuana system does appear to be providing benefit to some, there are problems with not reaching those who would benefit, and potentially increasing access to medical marijuana for non-medical purposes.

Learn what medical marijuana is and how it can be used to help treat a range of health conditions.