The use of cannabis for medicinal purposes dates as far back as 2800 BC when Emperor Shen Nung of China listed it in his pharmacopeia. The Hindus, Greeks, Assyrians, and Romans have ancient texts acknowledging various therapeutic uses of cannabis, including arthritis, inflammation, depression, amenorrhea, pain, asthma, and pain management.
Fast forward to the early 1900s, and the bud was hailed as a highly addictive drug with the potential of causing mental disorders, among other effects. The world has only recently reawakened to the therapeutic value of cannabis, even though the stigma continues to linger.
Most western countries are now spearheading its legalization for both medicinal and recreational use. Here are some of the flower’s research-based benefits:
1. Pain Management
Pain can be a huge drawback to working and quality of life. Many people fight pain at some point in their lives — from premenstrual cramps to injury-related symptoms and health conditions, some to the point of using highly addictive opioid pain meds.
Studies have shown that the cannabinoids in cannabis interact with the brain’s pain perception pathways to reduce chronic pain from conditions such as arthritis, endometriosis, migraines, and fibromyalgia.
2. Metabolism and Weight Management
Cannabis is linked to insulin regulation and efficient management of calories. Surveys show smoking the flower can lead to a decreased likelihood of obesity, which is why you’ll rarely see an avid marijuana user being overweight.
3. Fighting Cancer
There is a substantial amount of evidence suggesting that cannabinoids can help fight certain types of cancer. The American Association for Cancer Research claims that marijuana effectively slows down tumor growth in the brain, lungs, and breasts.
4. Treating Depression and Anxiety
The World Health Organization (WHO) says depression is the biggest contributor to disability globally, and anxiety is not falling far behind; it’s the sixth cause. The fact that prescription medications for these conditions may also cause adverse side effects such as drowsiness, insomnia, headaches, sexual dysfunction, and addiction adds salt to the injury.
The good news is that cannabis offers a safer alternative. Studies have found it to influence serotonin receptors in the brain, regulate mood, and restore mental health.
5. Helps with Symptoms of PTSD
Any person who undergoes a traumatic experience may have PTSD. The influence of cannabis on the body’s flight and fight response may help alleviate symptoms of PTSD. No wonder many war veterans are pro-cannabis!
6. Treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
The cannabidiol (CBD) in marijuana may help with inflammation. Moreover, THC and CBD are known to support immune response and gut function, helping block bacteria and THC-like compounds that lead to inflammation of the intestines.
7. Reducing Epileptic Seizures
Research has found CBD to help in reducing seizures. A 2015 study from the American Academy of Neurology revealed that cannabis reduced seizures by an average of 51%. It had an even bigger impact on patients with Dravet’s syndrome.
8. Increases Lung Capacity
Surprisingly, unlike cigarette smoking, when you smoke cannabis, your lungs are not harmed but rather increase their capacity. Research conducted on 5,115 young adults for 20 years found that while tobacco smokers lost lung function over time, pot users had increased lung capacity.
This benefit can be attributed to the deep breaths cannabis smokers take when inhaling.
9. Treating Glaucoma
But you already knew that, didn’t you? Glaucoma treatment is one of the most popular uses of cannabis. Glaucoma is a disorder that subjects the eyeball to additional pressure, which gets painful. Cannabis has long been prescribed to provide relief to patients with glaucoma.
10. Improving the Effectiveness of Hepatitis C Treatment
Treating hepatitis C results in serious side effects, including nausea, muscle aches, fatigue, and depression. It is so severe and long-lasting that most patients often discontinue their regimen.
Evidence shows that using cannabis during this treatment results in increased effectiveness and higher chances of completing the therapy.
11. Helps with Opioids and Alcohol Addiction
Cannabis makes for a safer alternative to alcohol and opioids. It may be addictive, too, but it is undoubtedly a better substitute for hard drugs and alcohol.
Marijuana is already being prescribed to help individuals with opioid addiction. Massachusetts is taking the lead.
12. It Makes You Happy!
Most strains of cannabis induce a state of calm, euphoria, and a state of well-being. It may lead to increased optimism and general life satisfaction.
The stigma surrounding cannabis has remained because for many years, it’s been painted as a dangerous psychoactive drug that causes many unwanted reactions such as mental retardation.
Slowly, but surely, researchers, doctors, scientists, policymakers, and consumers are now accepting its numerous evidence-based benefits and dismissing the case against the herb.