Numerous health benefits have been shown to be effective with both physical and mental health related issues. Legalizing marijuana both medically and recreationally has made these remedies more accessible to everyone. Doctors can prescribe cannabis as a treatment or you can take it upon yourself to go into a dispensary and pick up products that help aid your medical symptoms.
Cannabis can be processed in to multiple forms to consume. There are topicals, tinctures (which are ingested sublingually), vaporizers, capsules, edibles, Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), and of course in the form of flower which one would smoke. This provides a variety of forms so that just about anyone can consume cannabis if they so choose. These products can have different ratios of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol) which are designed to help with an abundance of medical issues. THC and CBD are the two main components produced by the cannabis plant. The human body has an endocannabinoid system throughout the body and brain. THC binds to cannabinoid receptors that make up the endocannabinoid system, producing different effects. THC is different from CBD in that it produces a psychoactive “high”. CBD binds to CB1 receptors that affect the brain and other nervous systems and CB2 receptors which affect certain parts of the immune system and does not produce the psychoactive “high” that THC does. Many people will then wonder why people aren’t just using CBD if all THC does is get you “high”. This is because THC combined with CBD actually helps CBD bind to those receptors. Without THC, CBD will just pass right by those receptors which in turn makes the product not quite as effective.
Some potential uses for cannabis products include, use as an appetite stimulant, for pain reduction, managing nausea and vomiting, treatment for glaucoma.
Cannabis is also used to combat insomnia, anxiety, depression, alcoholism, and chronic pain. Cannabis can also help with weight loss, regulate seizures, help with ADHD/ADD and PTSD disorders, deal with pain caused by arthritis, help with tremors caused by Parkinson’s, and help provide relief to people with multiple sclerosis. The list of benefits provided by cannabis really goes on and on.
Studies conducted have also shown significant decline in dependency for opioids, alcohol, and illegal drugs.
“According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, more than 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. In an effort to relieve that constant pain, the number of opiate prescriptions has nearly doubled over the last decade,” (American Addiction Centers Editorial Staff, 2019). As a result of this, opiates, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine have flooded the streets which has caused addiction rates and fatal opiate overdose rates to skyrocket. This has problem has been officially deemed as an “opiate epidemic” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “In 2011, 55% of drug overdose deaths were related to prescription medications; 75% of those deaths involved opiate painkillers,” (American Addiction Centers Editorial Staff, 2019). Opiate related deaths began decreasing as the U.S. first started seeing medical marijuana become legal as a result of the pain relieving properties the plant has to offer.
One study explored the impact on mortality in the U.S. as a result of changing the legal status of marijuana. Data was collected over the past two decades and conclusions were recorded as follows. “Investigators found that legalization and access to recreational marijuana reduced annual opioid mortality in the range of 20% to 35%, with particularly pronounced effects for synthetic opioids,” (Wiley, 2019). The uncovering of these numbers is significant given the scale of the opioid epidemic in the U.S. as demand for marijuana legalization continues to grow throughout the states. The legalization of recreational marijuana and the presence of legal dispensaries therefore decreases opioid mortality rates.
Source: American Addiction Centers Editorial Staff. “Legalizing Marijuana Decreases Fatal Opiate Overdoses, Study Shows.” DrugAbuse.com, 25 July 2019.
Source: Wiley. “Marijuana legalization reduces opioid deaths.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 August 2019.
Source: Holland, Julie. The Pot Book: a Complete Guide to Cannabis: Its Role in Medicine, Politics, Science, and Culture. Park Street Press, 2010.
Source: Halim, Shakera. “20 Health Benefits of Cannabis That Everyone Should Know.” Health Europa, 22 July 2019.