As cannabis is legalized in more states and countries, people are turning to this powerful plant to address chronic medical conditions as well as day-to-day health concerns. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), the main chemical compounds found in marijuana, appear to successfully help reduce seizures, manage nausea, combat insomnia, relieve stress and weather the emotional turbulence of depression.
The Most Common Uses for Marijuana
Migraines, anxiety, chronic pain, arthritis and insomnia are five of the most common reasons people use cannabis. According to a HelloMD patient survey of 17,000 patients, 64% used cannabis for relief from their symptoms on a daily basis with 66% using it as their primary treatment for their conditions. Almost all users (96%) even said they would likely recommend cannabis to family and friends who were looking for ways to treat their own symptoms.
Marijuana & Chronic Pain
A recent study provides evidence that cannabis can significantly improve chronic pain and help manage the symptoms associated with it thanks to the analgesic effects of the compounds found in the plant. Both THC and CBD are effective in treating the aching, throbbing, burning, soreness and stiffness associated with a number of conditions that result in consistent physical discomfort. In addition, a new study by HelloMD and UC Berkeley shows that an overwhelming majority of cannabis patients (92%) prefer using cannabis to opioids when managing their chronic pain.
Marijuana & Anxiety
CBD has been shown to assist the brain in regulating symptoms caused by anxiety from feelings of panic and uneasiness to physical tension and trouble sleeping. When CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, its calming properties have been shown to help regulate the type 1 cannabinoid (CB1) receptors in the central amygdala of the brain that manage stress signals.
Marijuana & Arthritis
Though there are various types of rheumatic diseases that fall under the umbrella term arthritis, cannabis has been proven to be a powerful alternative treatment that can help reduce the tenderness, inflexibility and swelling that accompanies many of the condition’s forms. The plant’s interactions with the type 2 cannabinoid (CB2) receptors activates pathways that can produce an anti-inflammatory effect within the body and cut down on joint pain. In addition to consuming marijuana orally, patients can also use infused topical creams and salves for relief.
RELATED: DO TOPICALS WORK FOR ARTHRITIS?
Marijuana & Migraines
Randomized clinical studies have shown that low doses of THC combined with CBD can lessen neurogenic pain and raise serotonin levels to ease the symptoms of migraines. Inhalation has been shown to be the fastest and most effective method for migraines, followed by a tincture or spray taken sublingually to prolong the effects. For some people, consistent dosing of CBD has reduced or even eliminated recurring migraines.
Marijuana & Insomnia
THC and CBD have both been shown to play a role in regulating the endocannabinoid system, which can help people establish more consistent sleep patterns. Studies have also shown that cannabis can help people fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer throughout the night and might even improve the quality of sleep. Indica strains are usually suggested to help induce sleepiness, because they're known for their deeply relaxing qualities.
RELATED: CAN MARIJUANA HELP ME WITH INSOMNIA?
How to Consume Cannabis
Cannabis can be consumed in many different ways including:
- smoking or vaping
- eating edibles
- taking tinctures
- rubbing it on your skin as a topical
- putting on a dermal patch
- soaking in the tub with cannabis-infused bath salts
It’s best to assess your needs according to your condition, consider how you want to consume cannabis and figure out what type of experience you’d like to have after consumption—like whether you want to feel high.