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In 1996, California became the first state in America to legalize medical marijuana. Since that time, 28 states have legalized marijuana in one form or another. And in 2012, Washington and Colorado became the first two states to legalize the drug recreationally.
But while many people use marijuana simply for recreational purposes, there are many others who view it as a legitimate medicine. While cultures have believed that there was some like between marijuana and health, it’s only recently where we’re starting to see the full potential of marijuana’s medical benefits.
So what are some ways that weed can help you? Continue reading and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.
1. Treat Depression and Anxiety
If you live in a state where it’s legal, then you can get medical marijuana for depression and anxiety. That’s because marijuana may have the ability to stabilize your mood and restore your endocannabinoid system back to normal.
The endocannabinoid system is where certain chemical compounds are produced naturally. Some compounds are dopamine and serotonin, which can affect your mood. The compounds in this system also play roles in behavior, cognition, motor control, and emotion.
The chemical compounds in marijuana are known as cannabinoids. And they are called this because some of them fit perfectly into the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The two most abundant cannabinoids in marijuana are THC and CBD.
THC affects your ECS directly and is the compound that’s responsible for the notorious “marijuana high.” CBD, on the other hand, interacts with the ECS indirectly and has no intoxicating effects.
When a person is stressed, their brain won’t produce as many endocannabinoids. And this can lead to depression. Ingesting cannabis can lead to an increase in the production of these compounds, and thus make you happier.
2. Increase Appetite
Many marijuana users have reported getting the “munchies.” This is when you suddenly feel an urge to eat food, even when you normally wouldn’t be hungry.
Why is this? Essentially, when you’re stomach is empty, it releases a hormone called ghrelin. This hormone tells your brain that it’s time to eat again.
When you ingest cannabis, the chemicals trigger an increase in ghrelin production. Cannabis also affects brain cells in the hypothalamus, which makes it more receptive to the ghrelin hormone.
This medical benefit can be especially useful to people who are taking cancer medications that suppress one’s appetite. It can also be helpful to people who suffer from ailments like anorexia.
3. Cancer and Chemo Treatment
Perhaps one of the most helpful uses of marijuana is its application to cancer patients. That’s because it’s able to help in more than one way.
First off, marijuana is able to reduce vomiting and nausea. Smoking marijuana is known to lessen the harsh side effects that come with chemotherapy. And marijuana is often prescribed when conventional nausea meds aren’t working.
Marijuana can also help with pain. This is because the THC binds to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain and can lessen one’s sensitivity to pain. Marijuana is also able to reduce inflammation, which is a major cause of pain in the body.
It’s also able to help with nerve pain. Many cancer patients experience neuropathy. That’s when you feel pain, numbness, or weakness due to nerve damage.
Lastly, many cancer patients experience loss of appetite and loss of weight. As we already discussed, marijuana is an effective appetite enhancer.
4. Treat Insomnia
One important thing to know about cannabis is that there is more than one strain of marijuana. In fact, there are hundreds of strains out there. These strains vary in terms of taste, chemical makeup, and effects.
Two common varieties of marijuana are Sativa and Indica. Sativa has a reputation for giving its users more energy and can provide a boost in creativity.
Indica, on the other hand, is known to relax the user. In fact, it’s commonly said to put the user “in da couch.”
If you’re trying to treat your insomnia, then you would most likely want to get an Indica strain. Preferably one that has more THC than CBD. This is because THC is known to more likely induce sleep while CBD typically provides the user with more energy.
THC can also reduce the amount of REM sleep that you experience. And if you happen to be someone who suffers from PTSD, then that could mean that you’re less like to have nightmares.
The theory behind increasing the THC is that if you spend less time having dreams, you’ll be spending more time being in a deep sleep state. The benefit of being in a deep sleep state is that you’ll be in the more restful and restorative stage of the sleep cycle.
With that said, REM is still important for healthy immune and cognitive functioning. So taking marijuana every night might end up negatively affecting your sleep quality.
The Importance of Knowing About Marijuana and Health
People decide to take marijuana for a number of reasons. Yet unfortunately, due to misinformation and legal complications, there are many people who have been unaware of the benefits of medical marijuana for decades. That’s all changing now, thankfully.
When it comes to marijuana and health, there’s a lot to consider. And if you’re suffering from pain, depression, inflammation, or insomnia, then you should consider using cannabis as a treatment.
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