Marijuana’s Positive Effects: 6 Health Benefits of Marijuana
Medical marijuana, or cannabis, has health benefits and positive effects which have been implemented in medical treatment and recreation for hundreds of years. Cannabis has had bad press since the propaganda of “marijuana” painted it as a psychosis-inducing narcotic or devil-drug. The term “marijuana” is based on the Mexican term “marihuana,” which is Mexican for “cannabis.”
Cannabis is the scientific genus name for a plant that, for many hundreds of years at least, has been used to make rope, paper, clothing, and several other procurements. The Americanized spelling and the connotations that go along with marijuana as a dangerous drug from Mexico were completely and intentionally perpetuated by Harry Anslinger, head of the FBI in the 1930s. Anslinger has been recognized for decades as having been an outspoken bigoted racist and used his crusade against marijuana to propagate his mentality of ignorant hate amongst the country and, in turn, much of the developed world, which we all now must heal from.
Marijuana’s Positive Effects
Medical marijuana, cannabis oil, and many other forms have been used by mankind for medicinal treatment and manufacturing material since before Copernicus theorized a suncentric solar system in the 1400s. The simple cannabis plant is an ancient old plant. Let’s refer to it in a correct, respectful manner and call it by its name that has been ascribed to medical treatments and remedies for many ailments from many cultures for hundreds of years: Cannabis. Today, it can help with multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, Alzheimer disease, and post-traumatic stress disorders to name but a few.
1. It’s Not Alcohol
Alcohol has been a part of our species culture for centuries. Historically, there was a great necessity for alcohol, as fresh water would often contain harmful bacteria and contaminants, which were killed off in the making of beers, wines, and spirits. This gave alcohol a prominent role in society, even up though the founding of The United States. Today, however, people in the developed world have plentiful access to clean drinking water and alcohol remains the only legal choice for a social, recreational substance in spite of it accounting for around 40% of car accidents and a myriad of medical ailments, including anemia, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
Alcohol carries an enormously high risk for physical addiction in regular drinkers. This physical addiction is triggered by the creation of dopamine in the brain, which is one of three chemicals that one’s brain produces, which causes a feeling of pleasure. Dopamine is the chemical most ascribed to addiction, as it has been associated with the forming of addictions to cocaine, heroin, morphine, and many other narcotics.
Epinephrine, another of the brain’s three pleasure molecules, does not cause physical addiction, as it does not stimulate the reward center of the brain. The active ingredients in cannabis (THC and CBD) have been proven in medical studies to stimulate epinephrine production in the brain and not dopamine. It is time to end the recreational substance monopoly in this country and to provide the American people with a safer choice: Cannabis.
2. You Don’t Have to Smoke Cannabis
Let’s live and die honestly—smoking, in general, is bad for a human body’s health. One of the greatest benefits of recreationally legalized, regulated cannabis production can be seen in all of the other ways one can safely ingest marijuana. There are THC sodas, cookies, liquid drops, vaporizers, hand creams, cooking oils, capsule pills, and so much more.
The advocates for recreational legalization are, in no way, fighting for smoking—they are advocating cannabis (though this can obviously include smoking marijuana). However, without legalization, it is impossible for many people to take advantage of the many alternative methods of cannabis consumption. In fact, it is downright unsafe for many. The recreational legalization of cannabis would provide the public with a wider range of healthy alternative ways of recreating with cannabis and doing it without smoking.
3. THC and CBD Does Not Exacerbate Aggression
Unlike depressants such as alcohol and stimulants like cocaine, cannabis is an inherently non-aggression causing substance. This fact was verified, once again, in a recent scientific journal study that was published in the Netherlands. The study took into account three groups, made up of sober participants, an alcohol group and a cannabis group. The two latter groups were given equivalent doses of each substance over a specified time period while being exposed to increasingly stressful situations. The study showed a consistently lower aggression level amongst the cannabis test group, followed by an unchanged score from the sober group, and a reliably higher level of aggression in the alcohol test group, paralleled by how much alcohol they had consumed.
In fact, CBD, the non-psychoactive agent in the cannabis flowers, is leading the way for legalization in many states, such as Indiana. In February, the Indiana state senate passed a bill that allows for CBD oils and extracts to be used in the medical treatment of epilepsy patients. CBD is used widely for anxiety relief and pain relief, all because of the substances physically and mentally calming effects. Indiana has one of the harshest stances on cannabis in America and even they have accepted the medicinal value of this natural resource. If Indiana can be a little more open-minded, we all can.
4. Cancer Treatments
The most recognized health benefits of cannabis have been seen in cancer patients. For those who are going through chemotherapy and radiation treatments, appetite is a substantial obstacle. THC is a viable and effective treatment for the stimulation of a patient’s appetite and helping the body stay strong. Unfortunately, for many years, appetite stimulation was treated as the only effective treatment use for THC and CBD. However, that has begun to change and the more uses that medical science looks for from cannabis, the more they find.
In fact, cannabinol, or CBD, has been shown by several preliminary lab studies to contain attributes that stop cancer cells from spreading. A 2007 study, performed at the San Francisco California Pacific Medical Center, found that CBD has a unique quality of turning off the Id-1 gene, which assists in the spreading of cancer. Indeed, studies in the U.S., Spain, and Israel have shown substantial evidence that CBD actually attacks and kills cancer cells.
5. CBD Is a Powerful Anti-Inflammatory
Inflammation either causes or exacerbates a vast majority of the medical issues that we deal with today. Everything from stress to air pollutants can cause inflammation to occur in the body. Inflammation is a natural defense triggered by the immune system when it encounters a harmful outside substance. It protects our body and organs but since we do not live in a world where most people have the luxury of naturally balanced diets, clean air and environmental conditions and a lifestyle of healthy physical fitness, inflammation often creates or enhances health hazards. CBD, one of the active ingredients found in cannabis, is proven to be a natural anti-inflammatory. Using CBD on a regular basis helps the body regulate its immune system activity and has far-reaching implications. Cancer is one of the biggest health risks that can be ascribed in part to inflammation. CBD is now being used in several clinical cancer treatments, with the purpose of exploiting its inflammatory cancer-fighting properties.
6. Creativity and Natural Connection – It’s Nothing New
Humans have been using the flowers from cannabis for thousands of years. In colonial America, many of the founding fathers grew hemp in vast fields. Benjamin Franklin even started a paper press with hemp fiber paper, harvested from his field of hemp. Some sources point to a journaling of John Adams, wherein he describes the discovery of smoking the flowers of his hemp plants. Regardless, the most widespread values of using cannabis for mind and body wellness is the creative expression and “in-the-moment-ness,” which THC inspired in the user. This has been a pleasure (not a necessity) to artists, inventors, and creatives of all kinds for many years.
Cannabis users tend to be more open-minded, intelligent, and welcoming. This is, undoubtedly, a combination of cannabis’ soothing effects and the cultural perpetuation of group identity. Marijuana users are social, outgoing, extroverted, introverted, hard-working, driven, and kind—having nothing to do with cannabis and being inhibited by nothing. At the end of the day, recreating with cannabis is about community, creativity, and communication, which is why it carries the connective connotation, of “peace.”