With the emergence of Federally legal CBD production throughout the United States, we’re seeing a surge of CBD wellness and CBD infused products on the market. It brings me to question if cannabis, whether it be CBD or THC, is something to incorporate into a healthy lifestyle.
Sure, the act of smoking anything is detrimental to your lungs and overall health, but with so many healthier options to choose from in the cannabis market, smoking shouldn’t be the main deterrent to incorporate cannabis into your daily routine.
WHY REGULAR CANNABIS USE COULD BE BENEFICIAL TO YOUR HEALTH
Cannabis has been hidden from most research in the past, but with the recent hemp decriminalization and the emergence of legal cannabis states numbering up to 40 states with some sort of decriminalization and 11 states that are fully legal, the tides are rapidly changing. In the near future, we’ll have a plethora of information about how cannabis affects our bodies in both positive and negative ways. For now, here are seven health benefits of consuming cannabis that you might not have expected.
7 KEY HEALTH BENEFITS OF CANNABIS:
#1 CHRONIC PAIN
Americans are in pain, a lot of pain. 20% of Americans suffer from chronic pain, which is defined as any pain that has lasted at least 12 weeks. For some poor souls, they’ve been suffering from chronic pain for years, and there is no absolute cure for it. Many times chronic pain starts with an injury or infection but lingers long after the initial cause is treated.
Cannabis isn’t strong enough for severe pain, such as post-surgery or a broken bone, but it is a good alternative to NSAID painkillers like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, and Advil or the more addictive doctor prescribed opioids. Other pain medications can leave patients in a fog or even disengaged in their day to day lives. Patients claim that cannabis has given them their livelihood back and they can even enjoy activities that they used to love before the pain started.
#2 MUSCLE RELAXANT
We’ve seen many cases where people with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) have seen significant results in managing muscle spasms with cannabis, where the only other options are heavily sedating opioids. We’ve also seen cases with great results for managing tremors for those with Parkinson’s Disease.
In general, studies have found that cannabis does help with all kinds of nerve pain. For example, a 2013 study found that low doses of cannabis (1.3%) effectively reduce acute pain as well as traditional neuropathic pain medications. The same study also found more moderate doses of cannabis (3.5%) as a complete pain reliever. More research needs to be done to fully understand how cannabis can benefit the thousands of people suffering from neurological pain and muscle spasms, but it has a bright future and cannabis is already nationally legal in other countries such as Canada, and Uruguay where scientists can conduct research without any repercussions.
#3 MANAGE NAUSEA AND WEIGHT
Our bodies feel nauseous as a way to protect us from what it deems as unacceptable, like those Friday night bar-hopping episodes gone wrong. Nausea can be your body telling you something isn’t quite right and you might need to purge all those margaritas, but what if it’s caused by a chronic illness or an unavoidable side effect from a recent medical treatment?
Researchers have found that cannabis can help cancer patients going through chemotherapy by reducing nausea and increasing appetite/weight gain.
AIDs patients also benefit from cannabis to help maintaining weight but did you know cannabis can help you lose weight as well? Since each strain of cannabis has different terpene levels that trigger different receptors in the brain, certain cannabis strains that contain higher levels of the cannabinoid THCV are the ones to look for. THCV blocks the munchie craving cannabinoids CB1 and CB2 as well as lessening the couch-locked high feeling.
#4 REDUCE ANXIETY AND PTSD
Some of the most exciting research being done right now with cannabinoids has to do with its effects on anxiety and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). Research specifically for military PTSD began in Israel in 2004 and has been one of the main hubs for medical cannabis research since. Now that CBD is federally legal in the US and cannabis is fully legal in Canada, researchers have the opportunity to further determine what elements of cannabis can be beneficial to a variety of ailments. It’s an exciting time!
PTSD develops after a traumatic event and it seems that there is no way to “turn off” the emotional and physical symptoms of the event afterward. For example, a veteran could have recurring dreams about the event to the point they cannot sleep. They could also be triggered by sounds or visuals in everyday life that immediately bring them back to that dreadful experience. This is where cannabis can truly help. By activating CB1 and CB2 receptors in the nervous system, these cannabinoids prevent retrieval of traumatic events, blocking those memories and nightmares from coming up into the forefront of their minds. It has become a popular treatment for PTSD patients because they’re able to keep their emotional wellbeing in check and live their day to day life without as many triggering events.
Have people told you they can’t smoke weed because they get super anxious? Well, that is true to a degree, some may have experienced the wrong strain for them, or had too much, which can also induce anxiety. A recent study by WSU found that “smoking can significantly reduce short-term levels of depression, anxiety, and stress” but this can depend on the strain and quantity. For example, just one dose of a high CBD strain can lessen anxiety, a little more of a high CBD strain can help with depression, and a decent amount of a high THC strain may help with stress. Think the higher the THC the better? This is not always so. All of the cannabinoids in a specific strain react with each other, so a good balance between CBD and THC would be best for these symptoms.
#5 RELIEVE ARTHRITIS PAIN AND DISCOMFORT
In America, 12% of the population suffers from arthritis. The most common type of arthritis happens as you age. In this case, the cartilage tissue in your joints begins to grind away causing pain, swelling, and lack of motion. Cannabis is a natural anti-inflammatory and can help with the ongoing aches and pains of arthritis. Many over-the-counter prescriptions that are anti-inflammatory are NSAIDs, (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), which can be dangerous for frequent long-term use. The most common side effects are digestive, but over time it can make you more vulnerable to heart attack and stroke. If you have ailments that already increase these risks, taking NSAIDs long-term may also make those risks worse.
Thankfully, for those suffering from arthritis, there are many cannabis topical creams on the legal cannabis market to try. Cannabis-infused lotions can help when pain flares up without having to ingest or inhale cannabis.
#6 AID IN ALCOHOLISM RECOVERY
While much more research needs to be done on the subject, we are seeing studies showing evidence that cannabis may help in aiding people recovering from alcoholism. Studies have shown that cannabis is less addictive than alcohol, and can even help prevent addictive characteristics which can result in relapse. Similar to anxiety and PTSD, cannabis strains that are close to a 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC, or high CBD in general, have been seen to be the most beneficial.
#7 CANNABIS CAN AID IN ALZHEIMER’S SYMPTOMS
Much like other conditions in which cannabis may be beneficial, we’re just beginning to understand how cannabis can help Alzheimer’s patients. Most are familiar with Alzheimer’s, a deteriorating disease where patients lose their memory, but Alzheimer’s is much more complex than that. Patients can become easily agitated or even aggressive which puts a heavy strain on caretakers and family members. As the disease progresses, other symptoms arise such as dementia, emotional instability, and difficulty communicating. Research has shown us that THC reduces inflammation in the brain, a contributor to brain cell damage. THC also helps reverse buildup of harmful amyloid plaques within the brain that contribute to killing brain cells. And since cannabinoids react with our own body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates how our brain functions, there’s a high possibility that cannabis can positively benefit a wide array of neurological ailments.
CANNABIS HEALTHY OPTIONS
Fortunately for us, we’re able to try a plethora of strains and consumption methods to find the Goldilocks method that works best for our specific needs.
- Cannabis edibles: My, has the edible market exploded! There are so many delicious ways to eat or drink cannabis from soda to chips to gourmet truffles. And in a legal market, edibles are specifically dosed so you know exactly how much of THC or CBD you’re taking in.
- Lotions: Lotions are a great way for people who do not want the “high” feeling that’s associated with THC, but still get the inflammatory reducing relief that cannabis provides. Perfect for those who are new to cannabis looking for an alternative remedy to help with their chronic pain.
- Tincture: Another option for people who want the effects without the ‘high’ feeling. Tinctures act much faster than other methods because they are absorbed directly under the tongue into the bloodstream whereas in other methods the THC is broken down through the liver.
- Vaping: Vaping can be with either flower or cannabis concentrates, but special equipment is required to do so. To vape with flower, a flower vaporizer, such as a Volcano, is needed to heat the flower into vapor that fills a plastic bag in which you inhale. This has been the most common method for medical marijuana patients before specific US states legalized cannabis for recreational use. Vaping with concentrates requires a cartridge to be used with a vape pen. There are a lot of options on the market today from small and discreet to bold and flashy. The downside to vaping versus other consumption methods is that you cannot be so specific in dosing how much cannabis you consume. Although with vaping, you can explore different strains and terpene profiles to find the “sweet spot” you’re looking for.
Curious about what options might be available for your health needs? Stop into one of our Kush21 Locations today and speak to a knowledgeable budtender to find the strain that is right for you.