As a member of the cannabis community, you know good and well why you love Mary Jane so much. That euphoric high, followed by the ultimate munchie meal and a great night’s sleep - you know, a stoner’s ideal pass time. We all know that the world would be a better place if everyone smoked weed, but there are tons of health benefits that you may be surprised by. Whether it’s THC or CBD you prefer, both cannabis-derived compounds provide several health benefits and are considered to be a healthier alternative as compared to pharmaceuticals. In fact, many people choose to use cannabis products as a holistic approach to reverse the harmful effects that prescribed medication or other medical procedures cause. Have you smoked a joint after a long day on your feet and your sore muscles all of a sudden feel better? Have you had to rip a bong to get rid of your headache or jumpstart your appetite? There are many reasons why people toke up and it’s not just for the psychedelic effects.
Anxiety and Depression Treatment
For those of us that need to eat an edible to calm ourselves before taking a flight, or take a hit from your weed pen before going into work (it be like that sometimes) - anxiety and depression are real. And no one has time for it, so finding solutions to these often crippling conditions is essential. Cannabis is often used to mellow out our responses to stressors we experience daily, and can be used in a variety of forms. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two most popular and widely known studied cannabinoids. Cannabinoids act on cannabinoid receptors in the brain that create the endocannabinoid system. This all plays a vital part in hosting bodily processes, like memory, pain perception, mood and emotion, and appetite. When derived directly from the cannabis plant, cannabis compounds are able to be manipulated and bred into varying “strains”. Depending on the strain, each will have specific levels of psychoactive THC and lower levels of non-intoxicating CBD.
When using cannabis to treat anxiety, it’s important to note that consuming too much cannabis could potentially cause an adverse effect like heightened anxiety or continuous depression*. It is best to consult your physician or test your reaction and tolerance in small doses. Maybe sativa makes you too jumpy? Perhaps a hybrid strain with high THC and low CBD can do the trick for you. It might take some time to figure out your Golden Cannabis Ratio, but hey who’s complaining about testing out different weed combinations?
*A quick tip if you do get too high: bring yourself down by consuming controlled doses of CBD. The non-intoxicating compound will level out the psychoactive effects overconsumption may cause. The product label should provide directions of how much CBD to take, but as a good rule of thumb, it’s best to start small and gradually increase.
Chronic Pain and Ailments
In a 2017 report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, studies found that 62.2% of registered medical cannabis patients use cannabis for chronic pain. Nociceptive pain, aka inflammatory pain, can be weakened by reducing the pain signals at the site of injury. This can be done by blocking the inflammatory process of the injury, or by helping to weaken the effects before making its way up the spinal cord to the brain. Simply put: reduce swelling or get baked with that body high to intercept the pain. Fortunately, both THC and CBD can help with this. For those that are not able to relish in the psychedelic effects THC provides, CBD is actually a preferred and common route when treating chronic ailments, especially amongst children and elderly populations. Topicals such as CBD lotions, creams, balms, and patches are most helpful when attempting to treat a specific area of the body. For internal consumption, capsules and oils (tinctures) are the best way to consume CBD and notably one of the only ways to control your exact dose.
Skin conditions, inflammatory bowel diseases, and inflammatory muscle issues have plagued many, and anyone suffering from this will tell you they have probably tried everything they possibly could to alleviate the pain. Cannabis has been proven to have anti-inflammatory effects and are available through various methods of consumption.
Going back to the breakdown of cannabis plants, not only are there cannabinoid compounds present but also terpenoid compounds. Terpenes are responsible for a plant’s scent and flavor and cohesively work together with cannabinoids to produce what is called the entourage effect. Basically, terpenes can either intensify or downplay the effects of cannabinoids so depending on the reason for your consumption, there are levels to this. For example, myrcene terpene has relaxing and anti-inflammatory properties. Strains like AK-47 and Blue Dream have myrcene terpenes and are particularly great for treating specific inflammatory issues.
If you’re looking for antifungal and antibacterial properties to fight off rashes and other skin concerns, cosmetic cannabis products would be beneficial as it soothes the irritation of treated skin. Hemp seed oil is not the same as CBD oil, so make sure to check the ingredients list for “cannabidiol” to ensure you have a pure, high-quality product.
Developmental and Neurological Disorders
Cannabis has exponentially grown in popularity with users that have developmental and neurological disorders like ADHD, autism, Alzheimer’s and brain tumors. In fact, the strain Charlotte’s Web was created for a little girl suffering from a rare and very extreme epilepsy. This strain contains a high CBD and low THC extract that has no psychedelic effects. A study found that children with Dravet syndrome experienced significantly fewer to no seizures when under the use of CBD. There is now a CBD-based drug called Epidiolex and is used to treat Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome which are known to be two rare and severe types of epilepsy. Recent studies and evidence-based findings have allowed many patients an alternative option and have found much success in taking a holistic approach.
Don’t Forget The Fur Babies
Part of forming healthy habits is including those around you, so of course, we have to include benefits for your four-legged friends that are needing a little health boost too! Take a stroll to the dog park and chat it up with the other fur moms, you’ll see that Suzie gives her pug Pebbles CBD for the fireworks frenzy on New Years, or Christina has her 16-year-old dog named Dustin Hoffman taking tinctures to manage his aches and spasms that come with old age. Of course, consult your vet before doing so, as he or she can recommend what form of CBD and what dosage is appropriate, depending on your pet’s size and condition.
Nothing is absolutely perfect or 100% full-proof in solving all the problems we have in our daily lives. However, there are things that exist like cannabis, that comes pretty close! You can chase your high however you please, control your mind and body experiences while knowing that there are numerous health benefits associated with it. Whether you’re lighting up, ingesting, or topically applying cannabis there are so many methods of consumption to choose from. So throw a CBD bath bomb in the shower, take one to the dome or bake some edibles! Self-care is essential and your health comes first. Health is wealth, so invest in yourself. What are some ways cannabis has helped you?