The cannabis plant has been around for many centuries and has historically been used for its incredible medicinal properties.
Cannabis was initially cultivated over 4,700 years ago in China for therapeutic uses such as pain relief.
It was then widely used in India, where it was honored as one of “five kingdoms of herbs” that releases anxiety.
Keep reading to discover why ancient civilizations used this herb and the medicinal marijuana health benefits that keep people coming back for more.
1. Reduces Anxiety
Many people gravitate towards the use of medical marijuana because of the “mellowing effects” it brings its users. It has a long, complicated history of medicinal use before its eventual criminalization came about in the 20th century that was considered mostly politically influenced.
Nonetheless, it is making a comeback thanks to progressive movements and looser restrictions in some states.
In a 2019 study, researchers set out to determine the prevalence of medicinal cannabis use for anxiety. The results showed 92 percent of the respondents reported that cannabis helped their symptoms of anxiety.
A recent study has made significant developments in the link between cannabis and anxiety. Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers found that a molecule produced by the brain acts in the same way on certain receptors of the brain as cannabis and protects against stress by reducing anxiety-causing connections between two brain regions.
2. Pain Relief
Cannabis has been used for many centuries for its pain-relieving properties. Dating back to the Shennong Ben Cao Jing, a Chinese encyclopedia from 2900 B.C. The encyclopedia recommended uses for cannabis including
- Rheumatic pain
- Female reproductive tract disorders
- And malaria
Today, one of the most prominent reasons doctors prescribe marijuana to individuals is for chronic pain. It is estimated by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), that 50 million Americans have chronic pain, just over 20 percent of the adult population.
The University of New Mexico conducted a study on cannabis and pain relief, specifically using the whole dried cannabis flower. One of the lead investigators, Jacob Miguel Virgil said: “our results confirm that cannabis use is a relatively safe and effective medication for alleviating pain.”
When individuals are asked about the main reasons to smoke weed, one of the most common responses is due to having ADD or ADHD.
People who have been diagnosed with ADHD or ADD may find it hard to sit still and calm down; one of the main functions medical marijuana provides.
Common ADHD prescriptions such as Adderall or Ritalin also may have unpleasant side effects like
- Stomach problems
- And Headaches
These side effects are part of the reason many experts believe individuals with ADHD are more frequent users of cannabis. Stimulant medications are typically the first to be prescribed to patients, and it is widely thought the side effects are what lead the patient to seek alternative treatments.
One study consisting of 30 adults with ADHD concluded that “adults with ADHD may represent a subgroup of individuals who experience a reduction of symptoms and no cognitive impairments following cannabinoid use.”
PTSD is a mental health disorder that occurs after a traumatic event. Individuals with this disorder experience “triggers” that can bring back terrifying memories of the traumatic event.
The problem with PTSD is that conventional treatments are not very effective. Veterans can go to the V.A. to seek help with PTSD and receive talk therapy treatment or prolonged exposure. But the program has a 20 percent drop out rate, and many times includes medication that can have unwanted side effects or the potential for abuse.
Many PTSD patients also resort to drinking alcohol in dangerous amounts to cope with the problems. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, between 60 to 80 percent of Vietnam veterans seeking help with PTSD have alcohol use problems.
A recent study has offered some insight into the potential use of cannabis in treating PTSD symptoms. The study suggested that cannabis heals certain symptoms of PTSD like insomnia, and night scares, among other symptoms.
5. Relieves Symptoms of Parkinson’s
Some researchers are intrigued by the idea that cannabis could potentially be used as a neuroprotective, which could save neurons from being damaged with Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinsons disease occurs when an individual’s neurons die or become impaired in some regions of the brain that control movement. As neurons die or become impaired, it leaves patients with less dopamine, which is part of the reason individuals with Parkinson’s have movement problems.
Clinical studies on the use of cannabis as a potential treatment option for Parkinson’s disease have resulted in mixed results. Some attribute this to not holding high enough standards during the studies, and others didn’t have enough participants to be conclusive.
But an open-label observation study witnessed significant improvements in sleep and pain scores among patients with Parkinson’s disease. Individuals may use cannabis for Parkinson’s to help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with the disease.
6. Treats Glaucoma
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States, affecting around 60 million people. If left untreated, it can lead to a progressive loss of vision and can lead to permanent vision loss.
According to Theresa M Cooney, Michigan medicine ophthalmologist, using medical marijuana use can result in a 25 percent reduction in intraocular pressure in about 60 to 65 percent of individuals with or without glaucoma.
Other studies have suggested similar results in the use of cannabis for treating glaucoma.
7. Controls Seizures
Cannabis has been studied for its potential to help treat and control symptoms of epilepsy and other neurological conditions. In June 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first plant-based drug that had been derived from the cannabis plant, Epidiolex.
There have been several studies published on the use of cannabis for controlling seizures. One study concluded that long term CBD, one of the main compounds of the cannabis plant, use resulted in “clinically significant reduction” in seizure frequency.
For Additional Medicinal Marijuana Health Benefits
These are just some of the more researched medicinal marijuana health benefits that the cannabis plant can bring its users. As more and more states allow for research to be done on cannabis, it should bring about new understandings of how medicinal marijuana works and potentially other health benefits it may bring.
For more articles on reasons for medical weed and other interesting topics, check out our blog!