Several questions dog the use of marijuana. People want to know if it’s safe for use and if it’s effectively proven. Also, they want to see if it’s the wonder drug that can solve medical problems or just a work-in-progress discovery.
Cannabis is legal on the state level in the US but not at the federal level. Today, 19 states, including Washington DC, have legalized recreational cannabis use. Also, 37 states have also legalized medical marijuana. States with legalized medical marijuana use, however, require patients to have marijuana cards, like these Pennsylvania marijuana cards.
About 85% of Americans support the total legalization of marijuana, and this is due to its perceived benefits.
As cannabis undergoes a cultural and legal reevaluation, more and more scientists continue to study the potential health benefits of this plant. Below are some of the most interesting and well-researched benefits of cannabis.
Recreational Marijuana Vs. Medical Marijuana
The difference between recreational marijuana and medical marijuana is primarily a face-off between CBD-based marijuana and THC-based.
Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are naturally occurring chemical compounds found in marijuana. While CBD may be non-psychoactive (does not affect the brain, change the mental state, or cause intoxication), THC, on the other hand, is psychoactive. This difference between CBD and THC probably explains why the former is medicinal, and the latter is recreational—mostly. Researchers have found therapeutic benefits to both, but CBD is more popular due to its non-psychoactive characteristic.
Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) have similar effects on the body, even though they interact with slightly different receptors. However, they differ in use. People use CBD to treat medical conditions such as seizures, depression, and inflammation. People mostly use THC as recreational stimulants for getting high.
Medical Marijuana: Risky?
Humans have used marijuana for thousands of years. Throughout these years, it’s been used to treat ailments in one form or the other. Regardless, cannabis has still not been deemed fit for legalization in many countries.
Like other drugs, there are risks to the use of cannabis. The good side is cannabinoids, which, according to experts, could lead to an entourage effect when put to good use. The risk is intoxication, which is caused by tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Still, scientists believe more research needs to be done to better understand the risks and benefits of cannabis. Unfortunately, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I substance. As this classification is enforced at the federal level, researchers are still running into legal roadblocks, discouraging more comprehensive studies on the plant. The passage of the Farm Bill in 2018, however, did a lot in easing restrictions for cannabis study.
Benefits of Medical Marijuana
The following benefits of marijuana are some of the most interesting and well-researched. These benefits reflect the need for the reevaluation of the plant:
- Pain Management
Chronic pain is a medical condition that affects millions of adults in the US. But this may change with the embrace of cannabis.
In a recent report, cannabinoids in marijuana exhibit great results in pain management. The substance, when consumed, reduces chronic pain by acting on brain receptors in pain perception pathways for relief. Therefore, cannabis may minimize pain associated with:
Aside from pain management, there are tips and tricks to maximize your CBD to get the most out of them.
- Addiction Management
Contrary to opinions about cannabis increasing the risks of drug and alcohol abuse, a new report shows that it may actually help in fighting them.
In a review, researchers found a significant relationship between the consumption of cannabis and the management of risks associated with alcoholism and drug addiction.
The report further showed how the introduction of medical cannabis as a substitute for drug use might help people dependent on alcohol and opioids to fight their addictions. It concluded that medical cannabis doesn’t appear to cause harm to self and others.
- Neurological and Mental Management
Several pieces of evidence point to the benefits of cannabinoids in the management of depression and other post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Experts believe the positive interaction of cannabinoids with receptors in the nervous system may be responsible for managing neurological risks and conditions. These conditions include:
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Stress and Anxiety
CBD-dominant cannabis, in a surprising twist, can potentially alleviate psychiatric disorders.
- Sleep Management
Scientists have shown that cannabis may improve sleep by reducing insomnia. The same interaction of cannabinoids with brain receptors increases the level of sleep-inducing adenosine and suppresses chronic conditions that may interfere with sleep, such as PTSD.
However, the level of sleep management depends on doses and timing. Marijuana consumed at lower doses tends to induce alertness over sleepiness. But when consumed at higher doses, the plant could cause you to sleep rather than stay alert.
The use of marijuana for sleep management also depends on whether the drug is THC-dominant or CBD-dominant. If THC-dominant, you could be stimulated to delay sleep for longer hours, especially when consumed before going to bed. If CBD-dominant, its effects could prompt you to either stay alert or fall asleep without difficulties.
- Bone Health and Management
A recent study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research found a positive relationship between the use of cannabis and bone health. The research investigated the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on mid-femoral fractures in rats. The result was an improvement in the bone healing process of rats and their bone health.
Another study found that cannabidiol (CBD) boosts collagen production and improves bone formation and healing. Collagen is needed as a building block to keep the bones strong and healthy. If collagen is deficient in bones, the bones become weak and brittle, leading to a condition known as osteoporosis. Therefore, cannabis can potentially reduce the risks of osteoporosis by boosting bone collagens.
The use of cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, but more and more states have legalized its use. Cannabinoids (CBD) in cannabis have shown potential benefits in managing pains, addiction, sleep, neurological disorder, and bone health. Nevertheless, the consumption of medical marijuana should still be subject to your doctor’s supervision.
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