According to the NIH, people have been using cannabis for their medical properties for the last 3,000 years. But in the modern world, a lot of countries have made it illegal to grow or use cannabis. However, thanks to recent clinical studies, doctors and scientists are finding more and more health benefits of using cannabis. As a result, the United States has made it totally legal to commercially grow hemp or Cannabis sativa in the 2018 hemp farming act.
But how exactly cannabis helps us? What are its benefits? Does it have any side effects?
In this article, we’re going to discuss the benefits of using cannabis and how it might be useful in some major diseases to help us live a better life.
Medical Benefits Of Using Cannabis
Although we still have no evidence that cannabis will absolutely cure any serious disease, it can work as a supplementary medicine to reduce the severity of the disease. This, in turn, can accelerate the overall treatment of any specific disease.
In this section, we’re going to see some of the medical benefits of using cannabis for different health conditions.
Here we go:
Cannabis May Help In Chronic Pain: Benefits Of Cannabis
In 2017, a group of medical experts assessed more than 10,000 research papers to figure out the benefits of using cannabis on different diseases. And many of the research papers suggested that cannabis might help someone get rid of chronic pain. Or at the very least, stop the chronic pain from being any worse and reduce its intensity.
And this is good news for around 25 million US adults who are currently living a life of disability due to this medical condition. According to the research, some cannabinoids of the cannabis binds with the cannabis receptor CB1 in our brain. As a result, this leads to a series of chemical reactions in our body that may help us get relief from chronic pain.
Cannabis Can Help You Get Rid Of Alcoholism
In the same year 2017, the journal Clinical Psychology Review had published a review article on alcoholism and drug addiction. And according to that, cannabis may help people fight their alcohol and drug dependency. As a result, it helps alcoholics and drug-addicts get over their alcohol and drug addiction.
However, not all medical experts agree with this conclusion. According to them, using cannabis may also result in an addiction to it. According to them, the more someone uses cannabis, the more the person gets addicted to it. But this happens with only one species of cannabis which we commonly know as marijuana. And the addiction is the result of an incredible amount of THC in it.
But another species of cannabis, the hemp plant, has a negligible amount of THC( around 0.5% at max) in it. So, people who are using hemp has no risk of forming an addiction to it. This makes using cannabis a great way to deal with alcohol and drug addiction.
It Can Help People With Depression, PTSD, And Anxiety
Scientists did a lot of research on cannabis and CBD to figure out how it affects our bodies. And turns out, it doesn’t only boost our physical health, but it also improves our mental health. That’s why experts studied to check how taking cannabis affects people with mental health disorders.
Although the clinical study was rather limited, it did prove that we can safely use cannabis to treat depression, PTSD, and chronic anxiety.
Cannabis seems to help our brain regenerate the neurons of the hippocampus. And this might help people cope with their depression at an accelerated pace. Similarly, other medical properties of cannabis may also benefit PTSD patients.
However, you must understand that these benefits of using cannabis might not be that effective for all the other mental health disorders. For example, cannabis cannot help with bipolar disorder or psychosis treatment.
On the other hand, using cannabis according to your doctor’s recommendation may help you deal with extreme anxiety. But it’s still unclear how exactly CBD might help people cope with anxiety. So, we still have to wait before scientists come up with conclusive evidence of it.
It Can Help People With Epilepsy: Benefits Of Cannabis
There are multiple types of epilepsies starting from the mild ones to the severe ones. And out of them all, two special kinds of severe epilepsies are the trickiest ones. These two are:
- Dravet Syndrome
- Lennox-Gastaut syndrome
These two are particularly tricky because the current pharma medicines didn’t do a good job controlling them. But in 2018, the FDA approved the use of Epidiolex, a CBD-based drug that is working way better than any other drugs to treat Dravet syndrome. And this CBD comes from the cannabis extract.
The drug uses one of the purest forms of CBD that comes from the hemp or cannabis extract. And the best part is that it doesn’t create any psychoactive effect on the patient. And that’s because Epidiolex normally doesn’t have any THC in it at all.
The main reason for the approval of using cannabis is a simple clinical study. And according to that 2017 clinical study patients suffering from Dravet syndrome, children who are treated using CBD instead of using placebo effects suffered fewer numbers of seizures.
The seizures of Dravet syndrome can be quite painful and lethal. In fact, almost 20% of all children who suffer from this kind of epilepsy die before they become 20-years-old.
However, using CBD-infused medicines have proven to work really well for epilepsy. And it can be the key to treating children with epilepsy such as Dravet syndrome. To understand how effective CBD is, let’s take a look at the actual research data below.
The Results Of Actual Research
This 2017 research was conducted on 120 children who were suffering from the Dravet syndrome and all of them were between 2 and 18 years old. Experts then randomly created two groups of 60 candidates each. One group was given CBD supplement while the other one was treated under the placebo effect alongside the usual medication. And they continued it this way for 14 weeks.
And the results were astonishing.
It turned out that the group of children who received the CBD treatment went from having 12 seizures per month to 6 seizures per month. Moreover, 3 of the children didn’t even experience any seizures.
On the other hand, placebo treatment also reduced the number of seizures per month. But it was quite underwhelming. And the children of the group went from experiencing 15 seizures per month to 14 seizures per month which aren’t that impressive.
Also, Cannabis Might Help Us Treat Cancer
While we’re still not sure if cannabis can directly work against cancer and wipe it out, it can help as a supporting medicine to suppress the side effects of the primary treatment. For example, the medicines patients use during and after chemotherapy has a lot of side effects such as vomiting, nausea, etc. And if you’re using cannabis, then you can effectively reduce the side effects of the therapy.
Also, there are other studies that suggest cannabis might interact directly with the cancer cells. The studies gave a hint that cannabis might slow down the growth of those cancer cells or kill some kinds of cancer cells entirely.
However, we still lack any conclusive evidence which can prove the benefits of cannabis over cancer. And the only way to fully understand its effects on cancer cells is by conducting further research.
Are There Any Side-effects Of Using Cannabis?
While there are multiple benefits of using cannabis, it has some side-effects too. Here is a list of side effects of using cannabis:
- If someone is taking in cannabis by smoking it, it can be harmful to the lungs and other respiratory organs. If someone takes cannabis regularly through smoking, then they might suffer from a chronic cough. Also, it might lead to other chronic lung diseases such as COPD. So, if you like to smoke cannabis, you might like to switch to vaping and other methods.
- Also, if a person uses marijuana instead of hemp, then a long-term use might cause the person several mental health issues. The person might fall into depression and have suicidal thoughts. So, make sure you’re taking in hemp and not marijuana.
- The abuse of marijuana might cause testicular cancer in some people
To avoid these risks, make sure you talk to your doctor about the use of cannabis. This is the only way to stay safe and rip the full benefits of cannabis.
In The End
It’s pretty clear that there are a lot of positive health benefits of cannabis. It can help us fight chronic pain, depression, and other mental health issues. The clinical studies proved that it can greatly reduce the frequency of seizure occurrences for epilepsy patients. It can help us tackle COPD and may treat cancer in the future too.
Although it has several side effects, the health benefits of using cannabis totally overshadow it. And to make sure you keep the side effects at a minimal level, talk to your doctor before using cannabis yourself. This way, you can lead to a healthy lifestyle while staying totally safe.
Did you use cannabis? How was your experience? Let us know in the comment section.
The information above should not be considered a medical recommendation. The content is written to enrich the reader’s knowledge. Any use of materials and content mentioned in this article should be first consulted about by a physician.