The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t yet approved cannabis for medicinal use, but you can find medicines that contain cannabinoids, one of the chemicals found in marijuana plant. As new researches help reveal medical marijuana benefits and stigma attached to weed declines, its popularity is going up.
About legalization, we are not so sure, but as for its safety, the short answer is it mainly depends on how you use it while the rest of the guide explores the detailed answer. However, we recommend that you should consult with your physician to choose your method of consuming medical cannabis.
7 Little-Known Medical Marijuana Benefits
There are some potential health risks of marijuana such as it can lead to dependency and can impact your memory, but there are also countless benefits of medical marijuana:
While you might have heard many people say that weed can cause diseases, scientific researches and studies show that it can actually cure many diseases and physical problems. From helping fight Glaucoma to controlling epileptic seizures to helping prevent cancer from spreading to slowing Alzheimer’s to easing multiple sclerosis pain to reducing Hepatitis C side-effects to treating inflammatory bowels to relieving arthritis pain to helping you get through chemo to a lot more, scientific researches confirm the effectiveness of marijuana.
You might be wondering if medical marijuana has so many benefits, why isn’t it legal already? Well, the big pharmaceutical companies can crumble down if a naturally growing, dirt-cheap plant gets legal and starts curing diseases which can otherwise only be cured with their expensive medicines at this point. Despite all that, medical cannabis is becoming legal in most of the states very quickly.
Weed has been shown to regulate insulin production and helps the body manage daily calorie intake more efficiently. This is why, on average, more weed smokers are slimmer than non-smokers. This surely is a great news for the Americans – the world’s most obese nation.
Weed kicks anxiety and depression out of user’s mind, this is one of the most prominent impacts of the drug and no scientific study is needed to demonstrate this. However, for the skeptical minds, a 2010 research carried out at Harvard Medical School showed that drug’s most benefits occur mainly because it helps improve the user’s mood and can even act as a mild sedative.
It’s a matter of fact that our herb is many times safer than alcohol and tobacco, let alone other hard substances. Recent studies show that people find it easier to gravitate towards weed from all other sorts of dangerous addictions. This is the biggest of many amazing weed health benefits and can save millions of previous lives that succumb to the lethal hard drugs.
In total contrast to the stoner stereotype, medicinal marijuana can actually increase creativity and help people focus on their job. While weed might not have a great impact on short-term memory, people perform really well at tests where they’re required to come up with inventive ideas. Studies confirm that medical cannabis improves creativity and instead of making you stupid, it actually makes you smarter.
A groundbreaking study published in 2012 shocked many marijuana critics. It showed that marijuana doesn’t have any severe effects on your lungs, rather it can actually eliminate the side-effects of long-term tobacco smoking, provided you quit smoking cigarettes. More than five thousand subjects were involved, and the result showed that tobacco smokers’ lung health deteriorated over time, however, weed smokers on the other hand showed increase in lung capacity.
A good news for the veterans who have Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): the medical benefits of marijuana make it a great choice for relaxation. And it’s a matter of fact that PTSD can be caused by reasons other than the experiences during war. In fact, weed is the only medication that actually works on relieving the stress in PTSD. In New Mexico, a large number of people have been issued license for medical marijuana to counter PTSD, plus more and more states are approving use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
What’s more, recently the Department of Health and Human Services signed off a study on marijuana’s capabilities to augment the process of treating posttraumatic stress disorder.
Benefits of Legalizing Marijuana
So, should government legalize weed for uses other than medical use? There can be many very convincing benefits of legalizing weeds, here are some of them:
- If government legalizes, regulates and taxes weed, this can help generate considerable revenue.
- If weed is legalized, it will take a huge amount of burden off the criminal justice system and law enforcement agencies. Police officers, judges and prosecutors can focus on serious criminals, and prisons will be freed of space.
- Most organized crimes, terrorists and drugs dealers generate their revenue by selling hard drugs, including weed. If weed is legalized, revenue going in wrong hands can come down big time.
- More people will have access to it for medicinal use.
- Since Colorado legalized marijuana, the overall crime rate has come down by a whopping 10.1%, while the violent crime dropped a 5.2%. On top of that, the state gathered ten million dollars in the form of taxation in just four months.
Eating vs Smoking vs Vaporizing Marijuana – The Safest Way to Use Weed
When it comes to consuming marijuana, it’s not just rolling a joint and smoking it, as you’ve a wide variety of options. Smoking is the oldest method and has been in practice for hundreds of years, while vaping is the latest trend. While eating marijuana is also an option, but it usually involves a lot of hassle in making cookies or any recipe you want to make with it, plus many claim that it doesn’t even offer all the medical benefits of medical marijuana. Also, eating yet another meal might not be a feasible option for many who are conscious about their diet. Topical and tinctures are also some common practices among medical marijuana users, but not as common as other forms. Therefore, let’s focus on the two most popular methods of taking medical cannabis i.e. smoking and vaping, and their pros and cons.
The most common way to consume marijuana is smoking it, usually rolled up in a joint. While smoking might offer most medicinal benefits of weed, the combustion of plant results in a lot of unwanted, potentially hazardous chemicals.
Vaporizers are modern, high-tech devices that let users vape marijuana and reap its medicinal benefits, and at the same time reduce, if not totally eliminate, the potential harms that arise by smoking it. This happens mainly because the plant doesn’t burn to produce tar or hazardous chemicals, rather it comes in contact with a heating element which increases the temperature to controlled levels and turns it into an inhalable vapor. Recent studies suggest that whether you vape tobacco or marijuana, it’s at least 95% safer than smoking it.
Remember that choosing a cheaper or substandard vaporizer can actually backfire. If you are unsure about which vaporizer you should get, check out our comprehensive guide on the best marijuana vaporizers.
What Science Has to Say
A lot of researches and scientific studies have been carried out to measure the impact of vaping marijuana on human body, and virtually all of them support vaping as compared to smoking. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most prominent studies:
- The first study that showed that vaping weed can help avoid respiratory issues was published in 2007. When vaping cannabis, most subjects in the study reported fewer to no issues that are connected to smoking cannabis such as cough, build-up of phlegm and stiffness in the chest.
- A study published in 2007 suggested that vaping marijuana helps avoid most harmful toxins. It delivers the same THC into bloodstream as smoking, yet hardly carries any carbon monoxide.
- Another study on medical marijuana users showed that subjects felt most functional after vaporizing cannabis, in other words they had minimal physical hangover after vaping cannabis.
- As a follow up to the 2007 study, another study conducted in 2010 showed that when twenty potheads – who had some sort of lung issues because of smoking weed – were given vaporizers, they experienced “meaningful improvements” in their lung health and respiratory system.
- A more recent study published in 2014 highlighted four major benefits of vaporizing over smoking cannabis. These advantages include better taste, no obnoxious smell, perceived health benefits and more “high” from smoking the same amount of marijuana. However, subjects also said they were unhappy about the inconvenience of setting up and cleaning the device, as well as the delay they had to experience for the device to heat up for each use.
Scientific studies confirm that there are many benefits of medical marijuana and even more benefits of legalizing marijuana. There are some potential side-effects also which can be minimized by vaping marijuana instead of smoking it. Whether weed should be legalized or not is still a subject to debate in the United Sates, while several countries are already reaping benefits of legalizing weed. For example, in Israel, you will see marijuana vaporizers in hospitals as well as senior homes as the plant isn’t illegal there anymore. Likewise, it might come as a surprise to some that the popular Volcano Vaporizer is used as a medical device in Canada as well as some parts of Europe.
This guide divulges only a few of the countless medical benefits of weed. It’s weird how it’s illegal in most parts of the country, and still has stigma attached to it. However, we do hope that science will continue to explore its benefits the plant will be used to cure all major kinds of issues mankind is facing. While the debate might continue about its long-term effects and dependency issues, but its harm-reduction potential can’t be denied.