Over 50 million Americans are marijuana users. This works out to one out of every 6 people.
This definitely helps explain the push for legalization and the success that it’s had so far. At the time of this writing, 11 states have legalized recreational marijuana use, the most recent being Illinois.
Why is marijuana so popular? There are a lot of reasons, such as being fairly easy to get and safer than most other drugs.
Some even cite health reasons. The majority of states allow the use of marijuana to treat certain medical conditions. Evidence suggests that marijuana can help treat several health conditions.
Keep reading to learn more about the health benefits of marijuana and why people use it.
1. Chronic Pain
The strongest evidence for the health benefits of marijuana involves its effects on chronic pain. Research has shown that cannabinoids, present in marijuana, can reduce this pain and improve the lives of sufferers.
This occurs because marijuana interacts with nerves, where the pain originates. One study used marijuana with a few different concentrations of THC, the highest being roughly 9%, which is lower than most marijuana strains produced today.
The effects differed based on THC levels, with the highest offering the most relief.
This means that not only is the marijuana currently on the market capable of treating pain, but also that THC may be the reason for these effects.
2. Weight Loss and Gain
Though doctors are still far from certain, a few studies have suggested that marijuana could play a role in regulating weight. Those who used marijuana tended to weigh less than those who did not.
Meanwhile, in patients going through chemotherapy, marijuana helped relieve pain and stimulate appetite, causing them to gain weight.
The reason marijuana can do both is that it stimulates appetite while also helping the body process sugar more efficiently. Thus, while marijuana causes cravings, it can also cut the fat from what we consume by preventing sugar from being stored as fat.
Meanwhile, when you haven’t been eating well, your body panics and your metabolism slows. This means that you burn fat more slowly and will often store anything you take in, making it easier to gain weight.
Marijuana’s stimulation of appetite and the storage of fat create a perfect storm and cause weight gain in those that need it.
3. Diabetes Prevention
It probably goes without saying, but marijuana’s effects on sugar processing can help prevent diabetes. Again, we can’t prove this yet, but some studies seem to support this theory, and it would make sense given the effects marijuana has on sugar.
In those who already have diabetes, marijuana may make the condition easier to manage so the patient does not have to worry about insulin levels as much.
4. Seizure Prevention
You may have heard the story of Charlotte’s Web, and we don’t mean the book by EB White. This strain of CBD oil was named after a girl who suffered from a seizure disorder. Her namesake strand was found to effectively manage her condition.
CBD oil and marijuana are created from the same type of plant, which means that they are very similar substances. That’s probably why both of them may reduce the number of seizures suffered by Epilepsy patients.
5. Cancer Prevention
Cancer has become the biggest challenge in the medical field today. While a cure still has not been found for this disease, certain things have been shown to decrease your chances of getting it.
If you’re reading this article, you can probably guess what one of them is already. Marijuana has been tested on cancerous rats to see if it could treat cancer. In some cases, it was found to slow growth and even shrink certain tumors.
However, these studies have not been repeated on humans, so we can’t draw any conclusions for sure. That being said, one of the reasons mice are used in studies is because they often react to things the same ways people do.
6. Anxiety and Depression
Marijuana and mental health is a tricky issue because the amount you use can determine how it affects your mood. The best example of this is anxiety and depression.
Smaller doses of marijuana have been found to calm users down and elevate their moods. Meanwhile, larger doses can actually worsen these conditions.
This raises an interesting question as to how much is considered a small dose. The definition some of the researchers went with was a few puffs.
The problem with this is that even though cannabis doesn’t appear to be addictive, it’s very unlikely that many people pick up a joint or a bong made by zob glass and only take three puffs.
7. Fights Addiction
Strangely enough, marijuana legalization and use have corresponded to a fall in addiction to other substances. This may have to do with the fact legal marijuana is easier to get hold of than harder drugs, which are often illegal.
Others claim that marijuana helps alcoholics recover from their addiction. The reasons for much of this are unknown. We can only hope that studies on this and many other potential health benefits help us understand more in the near future.
The Many Health Benefits of Marijuana
The potential health benefits of marijuana are nearly limitless.
We’ve talked about a few of the known and suspected benefits in the paragraphs above, but there are many others out there. We encourage you to do more research on your own if you’re interested.
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