With so many states legalizing both recreational and medicinal cannabis, people are either rejoicing or protesting. One camp touts marijuana’s medical benefits while others claim that the drug causes irreversible harm. What is true is that science has proven that marijuana has certain effects on the human body. While the negative effects have been widely published, the good things that marijuana is capable of doing seem to be harder to find. Here are five positive effects that happen to your body when you smoke cannabis.
1. It Makes You More Creative
Your brain is where creativity begins. Neurotransmitters pass on neurons from one to another, but there can be a gap in the transmission to help keep your mind calm and controlled. THC, which very closely resembles Anandamide, one of the natural transmitters in your brain, can help to stop the gap and allow for amplification of ideas and information. In fact, a 2012 study proved that cannabis can help to increase creativity. Researchers tested schizotypy and divergent thinking, both measures of creativity. One day, cannabis users were tested when sober and the next, when intoxicated. What they found was that in people who were ‘low creatives’ when sober, cannabis lifted their creativity to the level of ‘high creatives.’
2. It Reduces Anxiety – But Only in Low Doses
Scientists are beginning to uncover that marijuana may be a big beneficial treatment for those with anxiety disorders. Long-time users cite relaxation and stress relief as one of the prime benefits they achieve from smoking marijuana. Vanderbilt University conducted a study in 2014 that found that cannabis increased the naturally occurring endocannabinoids that drop as a response to stress. It may also help to decrease dependence on prescription anxiety medications – a Canadian study found that patients prescribed cannabis for their anxiety were able to come off of prescription benzodiazepines within 90 days. Take care, however, because large doses of cannabis, might actually heighten anxiety temporarily.
3. It Can Help Control Weight and Increase Metabolism
Sure, cannabis may give you the munchies and may make you crave all sorts of bad-for-you junk and fast food, but research indicates that pot smokers are less likely to be obese than those who don’t smoke. A study published in the American Journal of Medicine in 2013 suggested that cannabis smokers’ metabolisms have a healthier reaction to sugars than non-smokers.
4. It Can Help Improve Lung Function
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in January 2012 indicated that smoking marijuana does not have the same carcinogenic effects as tobacco – and it might even increase lung capacity and reverse the damage done by tobacco. Researchers tested the lung function of 5,115 young adults over 20 years. Those who smoked marijuana gained lung capacity while those who smoked tobacco lost lung capacity. Scientists note, however, that pot smokers tend to take deep inhalations of the drug and hold it, and that may explain the increased lung capacity rather than any of the components in cannabis.
5. It Can Help Relieve Chronic Pain, Including Arthritis
Pain and inflammation are two of the primary symptoms in patients who have arthritis. This pain can also interfere with sleep, which can in turn, ramp up pain. However, researchers studying the effects of marijuana on arthritis gave patients Sativex, a cannabinoid-based pain reliever. After two weeks, the patients given the Sativex experienced a reduction in pain and improved quality of sleep.
These are just a few of the many beneficial effects that cannabis has on the human body. Even choosing to vaporize or eat cannabis edibles can have effects on the body. From stopping seizures in their tracks to relieving nausea and even helping athletes potentially perform better, there are definite advantages to the consumption of cannabis. Hopefully, as more research is conducted, more benefits of this amazing drug will be discovered.
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