Cannabis – For Your Health

Nicholas looks into the various health benefits of cannabis as people begin to be more health conscious in the wake of COVID-19.

In a world that is getting more health-conscious and wary of challenges that can incur stress-related illnesses, more and more people are looking to reduce the possibility of missing out on work or life events due to unforeseen sickness brought about by a multitude of factors. One of which, of course being the effects covid-19 has on the public.  Not just in terms of what the disease can do to you physically but also the mental repercussions brought on by the resulting lockdown.  This change in behaviour coincides with the wealth of knowledge brought about from studies on cannabis in light of the surge in cannabis reform around the world.  As a result, here are some benefits cannabis has for your health.   

Pain Relief

Cannabis is home to hundreds of chemical compounds called cannabinoids which are associated with providing chronic pain relief.  Cannabinoids have been the main driving force in the medical community studying the plant for the healthcare industry.

Regulate and Prevent Diabetes

As cannabis is linked to aiding the regulation of insulin in the body, it only makes sense that cannabis can help regulate and prevent diabetes.  THCV and CBD have been proven to improve metabolism and blood glucose for those with disabilities.  The American Alliance for Medical Cannabis (AAMC) has conducted a study showing that cannabis is linked to lowering blood pressure which can reduce the risk of heart disease, stabilised blood sugars, and improved blood circulation by keeping blood vessels open.  Cannabis compounds have also been linked to reducing intraocular pressure (fluid pressure in the eye) for people with glaucoma.[1]

Fight cancer

One of the most commonly known benefits of medicinal cannabis is its link to fighting cancer. With every year comes new research demonstrating how cannabinoids help combat cancer or at the very least, certain forms of it.

Treating Depression

As seen with the covid lockdown, depression has become fairly widespread with many not even realising that they are depressed.  The compound endocannabinoid can help stabilise a person’s moods which in part, can alleviate depression.  Endocannabinoids are naturally produced chemical compounds in the brain that affect motor control, cognition, emotions, and behaviour.

“In the animal models we studied, we saw that chronic stress reduced the production of endocannabinoids, leading to depression-like behavior,” – Senior Research Scientist Samir Haj-Dahmane, PhD. Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions.[2]

Regulate Seizures

The limited studies carried out on CBD in recent years has proven that it can help control seizures.  In the wake of such studies, more research is needed to determine the effect cannabis has on those suffering from epilepsy.  Evidence produced from anecdotal reports and laboratory studies indicates that cannabidiol (CBD) could help regulate seizures. However, due to federal regulations and limited access to cannabidiol, research on CBD has been hard to undertake.  In recent years, several studies have shown the benefit of specific plant-based CBD products in treating specific groups of people with epilepsy who have not responded to traditional therapies.[3]

Healing Bones

Studies have shown cannabidiol serves as a great treatment linked to mending broken bones, quicker than other remedies.  According to a study published by the Bone Research Laboratory in Tel Aviv, cannabidiol also helps strengthen the bone while healing, preventing a similar break from occurring in the future. Yankel Gabet of Tel Aviv’s Bone Research Laboratory, who led the study, said it “makes bones stronger during healing”, which could prevent future fractures. This process occurs as cannabidiol, or CBD, enhances the maturation of collagen, the protein in connective tissue that “holds the body together.”[4]

Helps with ADHD

Since the lockdown, people have had trouble focusing on any particular task while working remotely from home or studying through online classes.  This was nothing new to individuals with ADHD, as they tend to have challenges with cognitive performance and concentration.  Cannabis has been revealed to help promote focus and assist individuals with ADHD.  Compared to Adderall and Ritalin, cannabis is considered a safer alternative by many professionals.

“Cannabis appears to treat ADD and ADHD by increasing the availability of dopamine…. This then has the same effect but is a different mechanism of action than stimulants like Ritalin (methylphenidate) and Dexedrine amphetamine, which act by binding to the dopamine and interfering with the metabolic breakdown of dopamine.” – Dr David Bearman [5]

Helps with Alcoholism

More and more studies show that cannabis is the lesser of two evils when compared to alcohol consumption.  As seen with the many benefits of cannabis, there is little argument to be made that cannabis is far safer than alcohol. While still a drug itself that isn’t entirely risk-free, a smarter way to curtail alcoholism or limit alcohol intake is by substituting it with cannabis. This was proven in a published account of cannabis substitution in a case study of a 49-year-old female alcoholic who by smoking cannabis, was successful in quitting drinking.  Within 5 months of the trial, the woman’s physical and mental health improved remarkably and within 2 years, her liver and general health returned to normal.  Her physician, Dr Tod H. Mikuriya, noted that although alcohol and cannabis differ greatly, they can both instill euphoria and detachment. But while alcohol seriously affected his patient physically and emotionally, cannabis did not produce the same negative consequences.[6]

While this isn’t an all-inclusive list, it is more of a brief assessment of the types of ailments cannabis has been proven to combat, or at the very least provide relief from.  We can only hope that these aspects of the drug are acknowledged in the coming years as we step towards a more fruitful discussion about legalising the plant. 


References:

[1] https://www.diabetes.co.uk/recreational-drugs/cannabis.html

[2] https://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2015/02/004.html

[3] https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/treating-seizures-and-epilepsy/other-treatment-approaches/medical-marijuana-and-epilepsy

[4] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/07/20/can-pot-heal-broken-bones-the-answer-is-yes-study-finds/?noredirect=on

[5]

https://www.leafly.com/news/health/cannabis-and-addadhd

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3992908/

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