The Truth About Marijuana And Stress
Stress is a natural and healthy part of life. When you feel stressed, your body is activating a very crucial part of your nervous system responsible for creating the ‘fight or flight’ response. This response is very important if you’re faced with an angry bear, but not so helpful when you’re trying to manage everyday tasks at work and at home. Stress is supposed to go away when the stressful situation is over. Unfortunately, many people face chronic stress in their daily lives that can eventually result in serious health problems. Recent studies have revealed that cannabis may play an enormous role in slowing down or halting chronic stress by triggering the body to relax.
Most people know that stress is dangerous to long term health, but very few of us actually understand why. When the brain encounters a stressful situation, it releases a cocktail of hormones (including adrenaline and cortisol), that cause specific changes in the body. If these changes are temporary, the effects wear off quickly and no damage is done to the body. If however, the stress continues for days, weeks, or even years, this constant stream of hormones can cause major damage to tissues, organs and your brain function.
One of the most dangerous side effects of long-term stress is inflammation. Inflammation occurs in the brain and other bodily tissues when adrenaline and cortisol build up. If inflammation continues for a long period of time, it can cause depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, insomnia, digestive disorders and sexual dysfunction. Inflammation in the blood vessels can cause arterial blockages, elevated heart rate and rapid breathing. Stress affects absolutely everything in your body, from mood and brain function to skin growth and digestion.
The sad truth is this: chronic stress is an epidemic in America and around the world. In 2010, the American Psychological Association performed a study focused on stress in America. They found that 44% of Americans experienced an increase in stress levels over the past year, and the numbers continue to rise every day. The recent legalization of Marijuana in several states has been wildly popular among residents- thousands of citizens are smoking, eating, or using cannabis in some form. Why? A recent study performed at Vanderbilt University may provide the answer to that question.
Dr. Sachin Patel led the study, which set out to track the effects of stress on the body’s Endocannabinoid system. This system is responsible for creating and distributing hormones that stop the body’s stress response and trigger a return to normal function. When the body doesn’t produce enough cannabinoids, chronic stress and anxiety are the most common result. Marijuana contains the same compounds that our body naturally creates in order to stop stress. A separate study performed at Complutense University in Spain revealed that marijuana may prevent or even help to reverse the effects of chronic, long-term stress in the body. They focused specifically on neurological and psychological disorders like depression.
The bottom line: many marijuana users employ the drug as a way to combat chronic stress- and it works. Using or consuming cannabis temporarily halts the body’s stress response, helping to reduce inflammation and facilitate the natural healing process. Many of the diseases and conditions marijuana is used to treat are stress-related diseases, like depression, cancer, and heart disease. Chronic, debilitating stress affects millions of people, causes disease, and lowers our quality of life. Cannabis has the potential to make an enormous impact on stress in America and around the world.
Do you know someone who suffers from chronic stress or anxiety? Chances are, you may suffer from it yourself. The American Institute of Stress recently published a list of common stress symptoms– if you or someone you know experiences any of these symptoms on a regular basis, it may be the result of stress or stress-related disease. Take the time to educate yourself about stress and it’s dangers. Marijuana is one simple treatment with the potential to help millions suffering from chronic stress to change their lives.