As states continue to legalize marijuana in the US, the use of this plant continues to increase. Around 1 in 10 Americans now describe themselves as “regularly” smoking marijuana. And around the world, marijuana use has increased by 60% over the past decade.
Why is this plant so popular?
Other than getting high, what marijuana benefits are there?
To learn more about medical marijuana, consuming cannabis for health, and the benefits (and precautions) surrounding it, keep on reading!
It’s important to note that there are many ways to consume marijuana. Edibles and oils are a common choice for those who would prefer not to smoke the substance. Those with respiratory problems or previous cancer diagnoses may wish to avoid potential lung inflammation.
But smoking marijuana is a common choice, with many options available. You may choose the classic joint option, but you could also vape or use these bongs.
Marijuana metabolizes differently depending on the form of consumption you use. Smoking or vaping will take effect almost instantly, while the edible option can take anywhere between 20 and 90 minutes. Inhalation also allows you to control your dose more easily, as you can top it up in smaller quantities.
How Marijuana Benefits Health
Although medical cannabis and recreational cannabis can differ slightly in THC content (Tetrahydrocannabinol, the substance in cannabis that gets you high), the main difference is just the intention behind its use. Medical marijuana is prescribed to offer relief from a range of ailments.
Before we explore how cannabis benefits specific conditions or symptoms, we need to consider why this plant can have a positive effect on our health. Research suggests that it can:
- Reduce inflammation
- Reduce nausea
- Relax muscles
- Stimulate appetite
- Improve mood
- Reduce stress
Consuming cannabis for health may sound counterintuitive, so let’s look at some of the conditions it can help with.
The American Cancer Society suggests that marijuana has the potential to offer some form of relief to cancer patients. The most common treatment for cancer is chemotherapy, and while this treatment aims to stop cancer cells from reproducing, it can wreak havoc on other bodily functions.
Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of chemotherapy, which often lead to a loss in appetite. Cancer patients who are unable to eat or keep food down will struggle to provide their body with the energy it needs. Marijuana can reduce nausea and increase appetite.
Marijuana can help ease moderate pain, such as neuropathic pain caused by damaged nerves due to chemotherapy.
Pain Relief and Muscle Relaxation
One of the more obvious marijuana benefits comes from its ability to help us relax. This can have profound effects on both physical and psychological stress.
Muscle relaxation can include pain relief, and the combination of these two benefits is particularly vital for people suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. A survey of 1,900 Parkinson’s Disease sufferers found that marijuana had helped with sleep, anxiety, and pain. Some also reported that the plant helped reduce tremors.
Other illnesses where marijuana has the potential to offer pain relief include:
- Multiple Sclerosis
As pain is such a subjective experience, each person experiences it differently. Before self-medicating pain with marijuana, it’s best to consult a health professional.
Mental Health Benefits
Given the psychoactive nature of the plant, you may be surprised to learn that marijuana benefits certain mental health issues. Research suggests that it has the potential to treat PTSD and substance use disorders. However, an individual may replace their abused substance with cannabis.
When it comes to depression and anxiety (particularly social anxiety), the results are less clear. For these individuals.
Caution is essential as any psychoactive substance has the potential to worsen mental health issues in certain individuals. Those with a genetic predisposition to schizophrenia may find that the illness is triggered by a stressful and unpleasant marijuana experience.
However, a compound of the marijuana plant does offer some alternative options. CBD (cannabidiol) has most, or all the THC removed, meaning you don’t get high from consuming it. This compound can help with social anxiety and maybe even schizophrenia.
Treatment of mental health issues with marijuana or CBD is most effective when combined with therapy.
Using Marijuana With Respect and Caution
More research still needs to be carried out to fully explore how marijuana benefits physical and mental health. Although many current studies show promise, it’s important to be aware that consuming cannabis should be done with caution.
If you plan to use medical marijuana, you must talk to a health professional. Even more so if you’re currently taking medication or are suffering from any mild-severe forms of mental illness.
You can reduce risks by:
- Limiting consumption until you understand your tolerance
- Not driving or operating machinery under the influence
- Focusing use on medicinal purposes rather than recreational
- Taking breaks to limit the potential for dependency
- Keeping the plant securely away from children
- Not taking medication while under the influence
Marijuana use dates back as far as 2727 BCE, with many cultures viewing the plant as sacred. The healthy and respectful way to use the plant is as a healing medicine, rather than abusing it for recreational purposes.
Ready to Learn More?
Hopefully, you enjoyed this article about marijuana benefits. Don’t forget that every substance, medicinal or otherwise, comes with risks. By approaching with respect and caution, you can minimize these risks.
Head back to our home page to discover more articles on health, lifestyle, home improvement, and tech. You may be interested in another of our other marijuana articles.