Cannabis, also known as marijuana, has long had a bad reputation as it was only associated with getting high. It has, however, enjoyed an extreme makeover in recent years as scientists uncover the many ways it can benefit us. Studies show that this substance contains hundreds of chemicals known as cannabinoids, which have different effects on our body –mostly positive ones. The two most active ones with medicinal applications are CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). The former impacts the brain without a high while the latter is the primary psychoactive cannabinoid. That being said, both are known to have significant health and medicinal value. New medical research is shedding light on many things ancient people didn’t know about cannabis. One such area is the potential therapeutic healing powers of cannabis. Here are a few of the more surprising ones:
It Can Help Fight Cancer
There have been many studies with a significant amount of evidence describing the beneficial aspects of marijuana against certain types of cancers. Many scientists have discovered that certain non-psychoactive cannabinoids have a variety of positive effects on cancer cells. Our bodies have a physiological process called apoptosis that controls abnormal cells like cancer cells. The cannabinoids found in cannabis can help boost the operation of apoptosis, which in turn helps to destroy cancer cells, especially in their early stages. The cannabinoids have also been found to prevent the division of cancer cells, reduce the risk of cancer cells penetrating healthy neighboring tissue, and prevent new blood vessels from being tumors. These effects are, however, under laboratory conditions, which is why cannabis is not yet recognized as a cure for cancer. The good news is the research is still ongoing.
That being said, we cannot dispute the fact that cannabis can make the life of a cancer patient better. Although not scientifically proven, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to back this up. Here’s how cannabis can help cancer patients:
- It reduces nausea and vomiting, which are common side effects of chemotherapy
- It increases appetite, which is a common struggle for cancer patients
- It alleviates pain, which is a common aftereffect of certain synthetic cancer drugs
Improves Heart Health
There are many ways that cannabis has been shown to improve heart health. For starters, several animal studies have been conducted to demonstrate that treatment with cannabis oil can help prevent certain cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks, atherosclerosis, and stroke. A British research team found that these animal studies can also apply to human heart conditions. They found that cannabinoids can cause blood vessels to relax and dilate. This allows for improved blood circulation and lowers blood pressure, which is essential for a healthy heart.
Cannabis oil has also been found to contain antioxidant properties, which could help treat heart-related ailments by balancing out negative oils in the human system. There are over two hundred dispensaries in Portland, OR where you can get your daily dose to help eliminate bad cholesterol and improve your overall heart health.
As if that’s not enough, ingesting cannabis makes you thinner, or at least less likely to be obese. We all know how weight can affect heart health. Using marijuana for weight loss seems like a contradiction considering it’s widely known to stimulate the appetite. But the truth is it’s the unhealthy foods consumed while using marijuana that causes weight gain. THC seems to boost metabolism and reduce energy storage, which results in a lower BMI. Cannabis is also linked to aiding your body in insulin regulation, which enables the body to manage caloric intake while helping the pancreas to digest sugar efficiently.
Last but not least, the calming effects of cannabis also prevent the need for compulsive stress eating. Consuming cannabis may not result in sudden weight loss, but it helps with some underlying issues that could contribute to weight gain. Have you ever noticed that long-term marijuana users are usually not overweight? Well, that should count for something!
Improves Mental Health
There are so many studies to prove the effectiveness of cannabis in treating several physical conditions. But perhaps its more surprising health benefit is its potential ability to deal with mental health issues. But how does it work?
Well, marijuana can penetrate the blood-brain barrier (BBB), meaning it can act directly on the brain. This is promising for doctors trying to treat diseases related to the central nervous system. Sometimes the damage caused by neurological disorders can alter communication between neurons and result in mental problems. In other words, cannabis ensures a healthy nervous system, which in turn can aid mental health.
Studies also show that cannabis can be used to combat certain mental illnesses. It generally relaxes the body and induces a sense of peace and ease, which helps to alleviate anxiety.
Secondly, the cannabinoids interact with the transmitters in your brain to stabilize your mood, make you happy, and offer a sense of mental clarity. This can help ease depression.
Last but not least, cannabis has also been proven to promote focus and mindfulness, which can help those with ADHD/ADD.
This is not an exhaustive list of the healing powers of cannabis. And, with more research underway, we can only imagine the further implications of adding it to our daily lifestyle as a seeming cure-all for the body, mind, and spirit. That being said, note that not all cannabis plants or products are the same. Therefore, make sure you choose a marijuana dispensary that fits your needs.