The mere mention of the health benefits of marijuana stirs up strong emotions in researchers, policymakers, and doctors.
Is it safe to use? Have the effects been proven? These are some of the questions that always creep into conversations. While the world is warming up to the medicinal benefits of weed, it’s important to keep your facts straight.
We’ll take you through some of the most popular health benefits of marijuana. We’ll also look at how it works and why it’s beneficial.
Recent studies on the health benefits of cannabinoids
Marijuana has over 100 cannabinoids that all play different and important roles. The stigma surrounding weed is connected to the psychoactive compound THC, which causes the high.
CBD or cannabidiol is the least controversial compound extracted from cannabis. It’s non-psychotropic and responsible for loads of the health benefits of marijuana.
To date, the FDA hasn’t approved the use of cannabis for any medical purposes. The agency has approved these meds.
- Dronabinol and nabilone are used to help cancer patients deal with nausea and vomiting. Dronabinol is useful in the treatment of appetite and weight loss in HIV/AIDS patients. The health benefits of cannabis oil make it a prime choice for these people.
There are currently several NCCIH-funded studies running. These studies look into the potential health benefits of smoking marijuana for pain relief, including the minor cannabinoids and terpenes. These studies aim to provide stronger evidence of the role that cannabis plays in pain management.
NCCIH is also currently supporting the following studies on cannabis and cannabinoids:
- An observational study is looking at the effects that edible marijuana has on pain and inflammation in patients suffering from chronic lower back pain.
- Developing methods to synthesize cannabinoids in yeast. This approach would be cheaper than getting them from marijuana plants.
- Evaluating the bond between smoking marijuana and type 2 diabetes.
27 health benefits of marijuana
The list of potential health benefits of marijuana is seemingly endless, but we’ve gathered the most important ones. The following is believed to be weed’s health benefits.
1. Eases depression
Studies have shown that people with depression could find a simple solution by turning to marijuana. It can elevate your mood but could potentially be a long-term solution.
The benefits of medical marijuana include its great antidepressant properties. Both THC and CBD have proved to be effective antidepressants when administered responsibly and correctly.
2. Reduces anxiety
After numerous trials, researchers believe that marijuana may aid in reducing anxiety. Depending on the strain, of course.
CBD has been an effective treatment, with its calming effects rushing over the users. Furthermore, you could benefit from the THC health benefits; it all depends on which type of anxiety you are dealing with. Read our reports on “marijuana for anxiety” & “CBD for anxiety” to keep learning about this.
3. Alleviates symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder
People diagnosed with PTSD have normally experienced something beyond what humans can handle. Basically, they’ve experienced some hectic stuff.
It could be anyone, from war veterans to children of divorce. Sometimes PTSD results in depression or even suicidal tendencies, which is why it’s important to treat in its early stages.
The health benefits of cannabinoids make it an effective treatment for those with PTSD. It might not be a cure, but it could help relieve the symptoms. It’s especially helpful with reducing or eliminating nightmares.
4. May slow down Alzheimer’s
Feeling forgetful? Cannabis has been used to treat the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that causes memory loss that worsens with time and can’t be reversed. The health benefits of pot kick in here.
Weed could be used to slow down these effects but cannot act as a cure. Along with AD, cannabis has also shown positive results for dementia. Patients can use it to treat the following symptoms:
5. May aid with ADHD
If you always feel super fidgety, then you may need to consider using cannabis. The health benefits of medical marijuana are great for people who fail to sit still or concentrate on tasks.
It’s been used by several people that have been diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and seems to help them calm down and focus.
People with ADHD can use marijuana to treat the following common symptoms:
- Short attention spans
These symptoms aren’t limited to people with ADHD. The health benefits of cannabinoids can help anyone presenting with them.
It’s important to check that you get the right strain for the job. You could end up running the naked mile if you choose the wrong cultivar.
6. Manages epileptic seizures
Epilepsy is a disease that affects the brain and causes seizures unpredictably. These bursts of electricity cause the brain to temporarily change how it works.
This neurological disorder comes with various symptoms. The health benefits of marijuana are exceptionally helpful in treating this disease. It usually starts in people over 60 or in early childhood.
Experts have reported that the controlled use of CBD could manage the symptoms of epilepsy. After conducting multiple surveys, CBD is believed to interact with certain receptors in the brain to prevent seizures – check our report on “CBD oil for seizures“.
We have a few fantastic strains for those who experience seizures, such as:
- CBD Harlequin: 1% THC, 18% CBD
- Cannatonic Feminized: 6% THC, 17% CBD
- CBD ACDC Feminized: 1% THC, 18% CBD
7. It can relieve chronic pain
One of the most celebrated health benefits of marijuana is that it alleviates chronic pain. The crippling condition is characterized by continuous pain that often lasts beyond six months. Chronic pain degrades lives.
Some of the compounds found in marijuana have been identified for their analgesic properties.
Sativex is a whole-plant extract that was developed to manage symptoms of spasticity in MS patients. The medical benefits of THC led researchers to the idea that it can help with pain too. More specifically, treating pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and central and peripheral neuropathic pain.
The increase in opioid-related death and addiction is one of the biggest social issues affecting the US. Unfortunately, it’s the only known conventional treatment for severe pain.
The analgesic health benefits of cannabinoids are not only a great alternative but act as an opioid-sparing agent. The use of cannabinoids leads to decreased opioid dosages and far fewer side effects.
8. May aid with arthritis
Arthritis is a general term used for the inflammation of your joints. It’s extremely common and normally starts between 40 and 60, and women are more susceptible.
There are over 200 joint-related conditions classified as arthritis, but osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are more common than the rest.
So what can marijuana treat? Many states have authorized the use of weed to treat various forms of arthritis with loads of success.
Thankfully, the miracle plant is your answer for this issue as well. Studies have shown that certain cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory qualities. A quick puff puff, and they’ll have your joints working together in no time.
9. It may help the formation of bones
If you’re looking to the bone, then this is the place to be. By that, we mean bone formation, of course. People struggling with brittle bones could find relief in the health benefits of pot.
When a bone is broken or cracked, it requires a lot of minerals to regrow. When CBD is introduced to this process, it aids by helping the collagenous matrix mature better.
In turn, this allows the bones to grow back more compactly and less brittle.
10. May aid the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD)
Various studies support the theory that weed can treat IBD’s such as ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD). Thank goodness the medicinal benefits of weed alleviates the symptoms of IBD. Now you can enjoy your munchies in peace.
A study done in 2011 showed the relief of abdominal pain, poor appetite, and diarrhea in IBD patients. Researchers interviewed almost 300 patients. Various reviews published in 2016 and 2017 supported these findings.
11. May help with liver conditions
Responsible for over 500 functions in the body, the liver is a very important organ. Its main responsibility is detoxification. Good thing, too, the marijuana health benefits can’t save us from all the junk food in modern-day diets.
Some studies found that CBD can aid the body with a process called fibrosis. Fibrosis is the repair of fibrous tissue, which is what the liver is made of.
With liver diseases, the tissue is damaged, causing your body’s detoxification process to slow down. Cannabis can prevent you from becoming toxic.
12. May help with nausea and vomiting
Does weed help nausea? There has been loads of talk about the link between the benefits of medical marijuana and the big C. People who have cancer often undergo chemotherapy, which can cause vomiting and nausea.
Due to the strong medication they receive, they often struggle to consume conventional medication; this is where weed comes in.
Cannabis is sometimes extremely effective against chemo-induced vomiting or nausea.
13. May stimulate appetite and food intake
Who knew that the munchies are one of the health benefits of smoking weed. A few tokes and everything will look like a good snack.
Some people may experience weight loss and low appetite. Consuming certain strains can increase their food craving and help them gain some weight.
Studies have shown that those who used cannabis as a treatment for HIV or cancer had increased appetites. Depending on the weed strain, the medical benefits of THC and CBD can be life-changing. We would recommend looking into Sour Diesel or OG Kush.
What about CBD? Read our piece “Do CBD make you hungry?” to get the answer!
14. May help with weight loss
Even though we just discussed how cannabis might promote weight gain, it may do the opposite in some cases.
Patients could use cannabis to lose weight, but it mainly depends on what the underlying cause is. Here’s a list of possible weight gain culprits:
- Lack of sleep
- Lack of physical exercise/activity
When one of these is your kryptonite, then perhaps it’s time to give the health benefits of pot a go.
Many strains can help with any number of these weight gain causes. Northern Lights, for instance, is the perfect cultivar to get back into a healthy sleeping pattern.
Other trains such as Durban Poison might have you doing jumping jacks and sit-ups in no time.
Other studies have shown that another marijuana medical benefit is its ability to burn calories. If you do it right, then you can kiss your love handles goodbye.
15. May help asthmatic patients
Meds known as bronchodilators relax the muscles in the lungs to dilate or broaden the airways (bronchi). They alleviate the symptoms of asthma and make breathing easier. This chronic disease affects the lungs airways.
Research conducted as far back as the 1970s showed signs of THC acting as a bronchodilator. Just one of the many medicinal benefits of weed.
One study pointed towards THC improving ventilatory function remarkably. Researchers in another study found that smoking marijuana could cause bronchodilation in asthma patients—preventing bronchospasm.
16. May bring down the blood pressure
It’s estimated that one in three people don’t know they have high blood pressure. When left untreated, it may lead to more critical diseases like stroke, heart disease, and kidney failure.
Even though it’s known to increase your heart rate initially, THC eventually reduces systolic, diastolic, and intraocular pressure. Another of the many health benefits of smoking marijuana.
17. May treat glaucoma
Also known as intraocular pressure (IOP), glaucoma happens when the pressure in the eyes increases. When left untreated, it can lead to irreversible blindness.
If you’ve watched any old-school stoner movie, you’ve heard about the health benefits of smoking weed for glaucoma.
Some studies have shown vasorelaxant properties in cannabinoids. They can effectively lower IOP as it acts as an ocular hypotensive agent. Many glaucoma patients claim that strains like Blue Dream fem and Green Crack fem helped alleviate their symptoms.
18. May lower the risk of diabetes
Many studies have assessed the medicinal benefits of cannabis for diabetes patients. In 2011 nearly 11,000 adults were studied and showed a lower occurrence of diabetes mellitus. These findings were encouraging.
The health benefits of marijuana for diabetes patients stretch far and wide. It’s easy to understand why considering weed helps control weight and regulate insulin production.
Another study done in 2013 showed that compounds in cannabis help to regulate blood sugar, increase good cholesterol and lower BMI. A 2015 study on CBD suggested that its anti-inflammatory effects are an effective treatment for type 2 diabetes.
19. May help with atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis usually happens when an accumulation of plaque in arteries causes them to harden and narrow. When left untreated, it usually disrupts the blood flow in the body. It could lead to a stroke, heart attack, or heart failure.
A murine model study of atherosclerosis pointed to low dose THC slowing down the disease’s progression significantly—specifically oral treatment. It appears as though the CB2 receptor is a prime target for the treatment of atherosclerosis.
Studies have been done to assess the link between cannabis health benefits and the disease.
Some researchers believe that non-inhalation drug routes can help prevent the disease. It strengthens the findings from other studies. On the other hand, cannabis inhalation has been linked to acute coronary diseases.
20. May help treat degenerative disc disease
Degenerative disc disease or DDD happens when one or more of the discs in the spine breaks down. It’s usually age-related and can cause severe and ongoing pain.
A combination of the various medical cannabis benefits works together to help treat various degenerative diseases.
A study done on rats showed that CBD can reduce the impact of disc injury without side effects. The compound is believed to be useful when treating DDD.
21. Treat alcoholism and drug addiction
A review of evidence published in the Clinical Psychology Review journal suggested that the health benefits of marijuana can help addicts too. More specifically, it can help folks with opioid or alcohol dependencies fight the addiction.
The review goes directly against what the National Academies of sciences have to say. They suggest that cannabis use can increase the risk of abusing other substances. It also suggests that users can become dependent on the marijuana itself.
22. It’s a promising autism treatment
Some of the FDA-approved psychotics used to treat autism can have severe side effects. Marijuana can be an effective treatment alternative for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder without the nasty side effects.
It’s no secret that the health benefits of smoking marijuana include a relaxed mood.
CBD helps with mood regulation which helps to mitigate social and cognitive struggles. CBD and THCA oil are given to some autistic children to help regulate mood and other symptoms. Check our report on “marijuana and autism” for more information.
23. It may help with multiple sclerosis
Patients who have Multiple Sclerosis often struggle to find effective treatments for muscle spasms. Prescription drugs come with a long list of side effects. The benefits of medical marijuana include reducing the need for these script meds and soothing some pain from MS.
Researchers believe that oral cannabinoids can help to improve spasticity in the short term.
24. It may treat acne
While acne is a common skin condition, it’s often hard to treat. Researchers believe that the anti-inflammatory effects on oil-producing glands could treat acne. This claim is supported by a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. It also pointed out that CBD inhibited oil production.
25. It may help with obsessive-compulsive disorder
CBD is believed to help treat symptoms of stress and anxiety in patients with OCD. In a study, even small doses of cannabidiol reversed symptoms of OCD in rats.
26. Reduces side effects of hepatitis C
There are plenty of side effects from hepatitis C treatments. Nausea, fatigue, muscle aches, and depression can be expected to last for months. The health benefits of medical marijuana reduce the side effects of this treatment and improve its efficacy.
27. Considered a natural alternative to viagra
The little blue pill comes with a long list of risky side effects like pain and nausea. People have been using marijuana as an aphrodisiac for centuries. It’s a great natural solution to synthetic medicine.
FAQs about the health benefits of marijuana
We have gathered some of the most frequently asked questions about the health benefits of marijuana. Pop on over to the Homegrown Forum for more info directly from our community.
How do you take marijuana?
The method of consumption is completely up to you. You can:
- Inhale it through a vape which turns it into a mist
- Eat it
- Apply it topically as a cream, lotion, or spray
- Place it under your tongue as a liquid
The medicinal benefits of weed kick in no matter how you consume it.
Keep in mind that each method of consumption reacts differently with your body. You’ll feel the effects of the liquid under your tongue fastest as it’s a capillary-rich area. You’ll wait much longer for the effects to kick in with edibles, but they last much longer.
How do you get medical marijuana?
To date, 33 states have legalized some form of weed—usually medicinal. You need a written recommendation from your healthcare professional in states where it’s legal. Keep in mind that not all doctors will recommend weed for their patients despite the health benefits of marijuana.
There’s a list of conditions that qualify for a medical marijuana card in most states, and it varies in each state. Once you are registered, you can buy weed from any dispensaries in your area.
Fewer anecdotes, more facts
Using weed for medicinal reasons dates back to ancient times. Thanks to activists advocating for the many health benefits of marijuana, more and more advantages are coming to light.
Cannabis is still one of the most disputed topics today—from the legal and medical standpoint. For all parties to agree, more research around the medicinal benefits of weed is needed.
We know so little about how weed is good for you because it’s classified as a dangerous drug. The federal government has made it virtually impossible to conduct research and clinical trials. That’s also why there’s a lack of research during these times.
We are witnessing the era of change with many states legalizing and decriminalizing medical use. Without the risk of prosecution, there’s been a spike in research about medicinal marijuana health benefits.
Meanwhile, if you plan on using THC or CBD for its medicinal benefits, be sure to chat with your doctor first. Your healthcare professional will guide you through all the dos and don’ts. Never use drugs to treat any medical conditions by yourself.
Check out the awesome selection of CBD weed seeds once you get the green light. Growing your own is the easiest way to ensure you get the best quality reefer.