Cannabis has long been a topic of controversy amongst both the medical community and the general population alike. The cultural stigma surrounding the use of cannabis products has led many to ignore the idea that when used responsibly, cannabis may in fact have some side effects that are beneficial to your personal health.
Research into the potential health benefits of cannabis products is still relatively new and ongoing, but many published studies have already begun to cite the positive effects of cannabis on personal health. Some of the suggested benefits of cannabis usage include helping with chronic pain, anxiety, weight loss management and even cancer treatment in some cases.
Before getting into more detail about these potential health benefits of cannabis usage, some of you might be asking:
Medical researchers believe there to be at least two active chemicals in cannabis products that are responsible for the observed health benefits described above.
The first chemical is tetrahydrocannabinol (more commonly known as THC). THC is responsible for triggering the psychoactive effects in the brain. These psychoactive effects are what people commonly refer to as the ‘high’ they get when they consume cannabis products.
The psychoactive effects brought on by high THC content in select cannabis products have been linked to helping with chronic pain management in individuals with a number of conditions.
The second chemical is called cannabidiol (or CBD for short). CBD has also been found to impact the brain, but without the psychoactive effects of THC. This means that you can consume CBD products without feeling the high commonly associated with marijuana.
Popular CBD products include CBD oils, and these products have been linked to the central nervous system. This means that CBD products may play a role in conditions impacted by the nervous system, including epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and certain forms of autism.
CBD and THC chemicals are the focus of most medical studies, as it pertains to the role of cannabis on human health. There are however approximately 400 additional chemical compounds found in cannabis products.
Many of these chemicals may also have medical benefits. As studies continue to be published and researchers continue their work with cannabis, we may discover many new cannabis-related health benefits that we have yet to explore.
Given what we currently know about cannabis, here are some of the health benefits we’ve already seen evidence for:
If you or anyone you know has ever experimented with cannabis products, then you might have heard of the “munchies” being a common side effect of cannabis consumption.
The reported increase in appetite might lead you to believe that cannabis products can lead to increased weight gain, but the opposite may actually be true.
The key point is to make sure you select the right strain for consumption. THC is the chemical that you want to avoid if you are looking to avoid a spike in appetite. Strains that contain a high amount of tetrahydrocannabivarin (also known as THCV) however, have actually been found to be appetite suppressants, leaving you feeling full after consumption.
High amounts of THCV are typically found in various sativa dominant cannabis strains, so when looking for an appetite suppressant, make sure you stick to this rule.
In addition to the appetite suppressing qualities of THCV strains, cannabis has also been found to help your body regulate insulin levels while also managing caloric intake more efficiently.
Cannabis usage as a treatment for anxiety is a subject that needs to be approached with caution. Dosage plays a major role in the way the body responds and too much cannabis can actually lead to heightened levels of anxiety. However, when taken at low dosages, many people have reported a reduction in stress and anxiety levels while under the influence of cannabis. It is important to ensure you are familiar with how your body reacts to cannabis before experimenting with it as a treatment for your stress.
Perhaps one of the most widely researched topics on cannabis is its impact on chronic pain conditions. More specifically, its use as an anti inflammatory to ease the pain associated with conditions such as arthritis, as well as pulmonary and neuroinflammation.
Recent studies, including one conducted by Harvard Medical School back in 2015 suggest a positive correlation between controlled use of cannabis products and the reduction of pain for individuals with select medical conditions. Learn more about the studies here.
The hope for the future is that when used in the correct dosages on a regularly scheduled basis, cannabis products might become a viable solution for treatment of minor inflammation associated with chronic pain conditions.
Cannabis products have also been found to be great muscle relaxants. Many individuals with Parkinson’s disease have even insisted that cannabis products are responsible for a significant decrease in tremors throughout the body.
CBD based products have gained traction in recent years for their proposed benefits in treating epilepsy. As is the case with most cannabis research, studies relating to the effects of CBD products on epilepsy are ongoing and there is still a debate as to whether or not cannabis is a viable form of treatment for individuals with select forms of epilepsy.
Across the ocean, our friends in Britain have already began to recommend CBD based products to help reduce some types of seizures in Dravet and Lennox Gastaut syndromes.
According to the British Paediatric Neurology Association (BPNA), there is evidence to suggest that children with these conditions who are exposed to controlled dosages of pure CBD experience a decrease in monthly seizures compared to those who take a placebo.
Evidence for THC consumption and its impact on epileptic seizures is less clear. While some studies have shown evidence that THC aids in reducing seizures, other animal studies have suggested it can also cause seizures.
An article published by Business Insider last year suggests that cannabis products may also play a role in preventing cancer from spreading, or at least in cell cultures.
The article makes reference to research conducted by the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco back in 2007. The research looked at a gene called ID-1, which is the gene that causes cancer to spread in the body.
The research found that CBD, a chemical found in cannabis products, could essentially “turn off’ the ID-1. This stopped the cancerous cells from spreading and eventually they returned to normal.
While this study amongst others being conducted in this area of research are only currently being performed on animals and cell cultures, it is still very promising evidence that cannabis may one day have applicable uses for human cancer treatment.
Cannabis is a product that should be used in moderation and there is evidence that overuse may actually lead to negative health problems.
Daily marijuana consumption can exacerbate mental problems, cause lung problems and might even be related to testicular cancer. Daily recreational use of marijuana is not recommended as it promotes an unhealthy lifestyle. In short, it will make you lazy and unmotivated. It will put a log into your machine of productivity. It’s still a great way to relax, but like everything else, it should be taken responsibly.
Before considering cannabis products as a remedy for any of the suggested benefits above, it is important to consult with your doctor first. Everyone reacts differently to cannabis and as has been mentioned already, the research into the health benefits of cannabis is ongoing.
*Disclaimer* – Queen of Bud is not a source for medical information regarding cannabis and should only be received from a qualified health professional. The ideas expressed within this article are meant to be informative and are not prescriptive.