Cannabis has experienced an upsurge in popularity over the past couple of years. Several territories worldwide have repealed prohibitionist policies and launched legal markets. More than thirty states have legalized medical cannabis in America, while nineteen states allow recreational cannabis. Now, cannabis is more accessible to the public than ever.
Consequently, cannabis use has been rising, with around 3.5 million Americans using state-legal medical cannabis as an alternative to pharmaceutical drugs to treat various medical conditions. However, plenty of people still aren’t sold on marijuana’s medical potential. Many of them are asking, how does cannabis affect your health?
Is Cannabis Good For Your Health?
That’s the million-dollar question. The National Institute of Health says that people have been using cannabis for at least 3,000 years to treat various ailments. The first documented medicinal use of cannabis dates back to 2800 BC when Emperor Shen Nung, the father of Chinese medicine, listed the plant in his pharmacopeia. Ancient Hindu texts state that the gods healed conditions like fever with cannabis. Hindus also used the plant during religious rites to appease the gods so they would cleanse their ailments. According to Hindu legend, the Supreme Godhead, Shiva, was called ‘The Lord of Bhang,’ and cannabis was consumed to help worship him.
There are many instances in history when people used cannabis as a medicine. Despite anecdotal evidence from users and preliminary research, authorities like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not consider cannabis a safe or effective treatment. Most people who use cannabis medicinally do so to treat pain, anxiety, and insomnia. They report that cannabis reduced some of their symptoms and made their conditions more manageable. Cannabis has plenty of medical potentials, but there is minimal research on cannabis’ medical abilities due to decades of prohibition.
Fortunately, more permissive cannabis laws have made it easier for researchers to study the health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds produced by plants in the cannabis family. These compounds are responsible for creating the psychoactive effects of marijuana. Cannabis produces over 100 cannabinoids, with THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) and cannabidiol (CBD) being the most abundant and currently the most researched cannabinoids. THC is the primary psychoactive compound responsible for the feelings of intoxication you experience after consuming cannabis. It also has many health benefits. On the other hand, CBD is brimming with medical potential and doesn’t produce intoxicating effects like THC.
Conditions Cannabis May Improve
Most researchers agree that we need a lot more research into the medicinal properties of cannabis and its side effects. The limited number of studies conducted so far have uncovered encouraging results and led to life-saving medicines. Cannabis’ health effects and the conditions that it can treat vary widely; however, here are a few.
Epilepsy is a debilitating condition that affects 3 million adults and 470,000 children around the country. The CBD in cannabis may reduce seizures in patients who have epilepsy. Over the past couple of years, researchers have studied a CBD formulation called Epidiolex in controlled clinical studies to see how it affects epilepsy patients. The Epidiolex clinical trials found that the CBD-based formulation can treat seizures in patients suffering from two types of pediatric epilepsy: Lennox Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. This medication is now FDA-approved.
Cancer patients have also had promising results from cannabis treatments in clinical trials. While early phase clinical trials suggested that CBD and THC may fight aggressive brain cancer with limited side effects, it would be irresponsible to say that cannabis can cure cancer. Recent studies indicate that the two cannabinoids may slow the growth of cancer cells, but more research is needed to prove that cannabis is an effective cancer treatment.
In the meantime, cancer patients can use cannabis to treat cancer symptoms and chemotherapy-related side effects like nausea, loss of appetite, and neuropathic pain. You shouldn’t avoid conventional cancer treatments in favor of cannabis, but you can use it alongside the treatment to alleviate these symptoms and improve your quality of life.
There have been questions about the link between cannabis and mental health issues for a while. A 2019 poll by analytics and advisory company Gallup found that 20% of CBD users in America use cannabis to help treat anxiety. It also found that the number of people using cannabis products to alleviate anxiety and depression is increasing. Celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Kristen Bell admit to using CBD to ease anxiety and depression symptoms.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much research on marijuana’s effect on mental health to support this trend. A 2019 literature review for cannabis mental health statistics found little evidence that cannabinoids like CBD and THC can alleviate these conditions. Still, the researchers found some evidence that CBD can be an effective treatment for anxiety disorders like social anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Chronic pain affects around 50 million Americans. Unfortunately, the opioids used to treat chronic pain conditions are addictive and have caused the opioid epidemic. Cannabis presents an attractive alternative to these pharmaceuticals.
According to a Gallup Poll, 40% of CBD users consume cannabinoids to alleviate pain. Furthermore, a growing body of scientific literature and anecdotal evidence supports marijuana’s ability to relieve some types of chronic pain, including arthritis, neuropathic pain, and the spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis (MS). A recent comprehensive review of existing data on the health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids by the National Academies of Science showed a significant reduction in chronic pain symptoms after cannabis/cannabinoid treatment.
Around 21 million Americans suffer from at least one addiction, but only 10% receive treatment. Between 1999 and 2017, nearly 700,000 Americans died of a drug overdose. Consequently, researchers have been looking for ways to treat the withdrawal symptoms that often force users to relapse. More and more people are using cannabis as a substitute for addictive substances.
A 2009 study found that 40% of participants used cannabis as a substitute for alcohol, 66% for prescription drugs, and 26% for illicit drugs. Furthermore, a World Health Organization report on cannabis and addiction treatment found that cannabis has almost no risk for overdose, making it much safer and less addictive than other drugs.
Inflammation is your body’s immune response against external bodies like bacteria and germs. While ‘good’ inflammation helps protect you from harmful microbes, ‘bad’ or chronic inflammation is linked to many diseases, including heart disease, bowel disorders, headaches, arthritis flare-ups, and multiple sclerosis (MS).
Using cannabis for its health benefits could have a positive effect on inflammation. Cannabis may also have the potential to tame inflammation and alleviate some of the symptoms it causes. As an anti-inflammatory, cannabis may help treat inflammatory conditions, inflammatory bowel diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular diseases, and general pain.
Cannabis Can Cause Health Problems
Many scientists have cautioned that cannabis is not a miracle drug. A lot of the marketing for cannabis products makes them seem completely safe and risk-free. The reality is that consuming cannabis can be a risky affair.
Smoking cannabis flowers, the oldest and most common way to consume cannabis, is terrible for your health. Much like tobacco, cannabis smoke contains ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, and formaldehyde, which may cause cancer. Even though there is no evidence that cannabis causes lung cancer, regular cannabis smokers show signs of precancerous changes and damage in their lungs, especially if they also smoke cigarettes.
So, is cannabis good for your health 100% of the time, or is that wishful thinking? There may be a link between cannabis and mental health issues. Cannabis may cause delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized speech and thinking. It is also known to increase your heart rate within 15 minutes of consumption, increasing your risk of having a heart attack.
Smoking cannabis may also cause acute bronchitis, chronic coughing, increased phlegm, wheezing, and shortness of breath. It can also impair attention, memory, and learning while reducing cognitive function in teens who indulge in the drug.
What Does Cannabis Do To Your Mental Health
With cannabis more accessible than ever and more people turning to it to alleviate various conditions, researchers have been studying the association between long-term cannabis use and mental health. Cannabis use may increase the risk of developing psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia, psychosis, anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders. Anyone who has overindulged in cannabis knows that it can lead to crippling anxiety and paranoia, which is ironic since many people use it to alleviate these same symptoms. As a result, the amount of cannabis you use, the age at which you first consumed cannabis, and your genetics will determine how negatively cannabis affects you.
Smoking high-potency cannabis daily can increase your chances of developing psychosis compared to people who have never consumed cannabis. Strong evidence suggests that individuals with a pre-existing genetic vulnerability have the highest risk of developing psychosis after consuming cannabis. The National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions found that cannabis consumption also increases the risk of drug use disorder.
Healthier Ways to Consume Cannabis
There may be a link between cannabis and mental health issues and an increased risk of damage to your lungs and cardiovascular system if you choose to smoke it. Smoking cannabis flowers is the easiest and most common consumption method, and alternative consumption methods have just become more accessible. These alternative methods are often safer ways to consume cannabis, so you can take advantage of its health benefits without putting your health at risk.
Vaping is one of the safest ways to consume cannabis, but there’s one caveat: the quality of the cannabis should be high. When it comes to cannabis vaporizers, health risks will multiply if you opt for a substandard product.
Many people prefer to use a vaporizer instead of smoking, with 80% saying that they believe vaping is safer than other consumption methods. A vaporizer uses small metal coils and a small battery to heat cannabis until it turns into a concentrated vapor, eliminating tar and carcinogens produced when cannabis is combusted. There are three types of vaporizers: herb vaporizers that use dried cannabis flower, oil pens that vaporize cannabis oil, and wax pens that vaporize cannabis in a semi-solid ‘wax’ state.
Edibles are foods that have been infused with cannabinoids like CBD and THC. They are becoming quite popular as people move away from smoking to safer alternatives. Edibles are even suitable for individuals trying to alleviate conditions like chronic pain. They take 15 minutes to 1 hour to kick in, but their effects can last for up to 6 hours, providing intense, long-term relief. Once you eliminate smoking by turning to edibles, your respiratory and cardiovascular systems won’t be at risk.
Related: How to Dry and Cure Weed Fast & Easy
Did you know that you could eat raw cannabis for its health benefits? Cannabis leaves are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are full of antioxidants, and they are a safe alternative to smoking. If you are talented in the kitchen, you can create different recipes that include cannabis to make the experience even more enjoyable. You’ll get to enjoy all of the benefits while avoiding all the risks associated with smoking cannabis.
How does cannabis affect your health?
There are both good and bad consequences depending on how you choose to consume it, how often you do it, and your genetic disposition to some medical conditions. If you want to grow your own cannabis and use it to alleviate conditions like pain, and anxiety, a Pot for Pot Complete Grow Kit may be right for you. This growing kit comes with everything you need to take a plant from seedling to harvest with ease. Its comprehensive manual will guide you throughout the process, and you can get expert coaching from our customer service team. Happy growing!!
Are cannabis vape pens bad for your health?
Low-quality vape pens with questionable ingredients are bad for your health. In September 2019, there was an outbreak of severe lung illness due to illegal vaping products containing vitamin E acetate. Next time you purchase a vape pen, make sure it is designed by a legal, regulated company.
What are the health benefits of cannabis oil?
Cannabis oil can relieve pain, reduce depression and anxiety and ease cancer-related symptoms. It may also help treat neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis (MS), lower blood pressure, and reduce inflammation.
Is cannabis safe to apply to the skin?
Yes, you can apply cannabis to your skin with minimal side effects. Thanks to cannabis’ potent anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial properties, it is an excellent treatment for skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
Are you looking to grow your own Marijuana? A Pot for Pot can help you grow your own with our easy to grow kit. Shop now.