Cannabis has been used as a medicine for centuries. It is an all-natural plant that can be grown in your backyard and consumed for various purposes, such as medical treatment or recreational use. One of the main reasons cannabis has not been legalized federally is because it was once viewed as a dangerous and addictive drug. But what if I told you there are untold potential health benefits to cannabis? It’s time to discuss some of those benefits, how they work, and why we need to start looking at this natural resource more seriously.
Cannabis has been used in the treatment of a large number of chronic conditions. These include anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. There is also some evidence that its medicinal properties can be used to treat cancer and epilepsy. I know what you’re thinking: “But how do we really know?” Well, there have been thousands of studies on the use of cannabis for medical purposes since before World War II. The plant contains over 60 different chemical compounds called cannabinoids which all provide unique health benefits, and are severely understudied due to the plant’s current status as a Schedule I drug. This puts the plant in the same category as substances such as heroin and LSD, even though it is nowhere near as dangerous. Being classified as a Schedule I drug has put cannabis outside the reach of both medical and university research labs.***
THC and CDB are the most well-known compounds found in the cannabis plant. THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol is responsible for the cannabis high and CDB or Cannabidiol may support brain health and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and calming effects. What is often not talked about are all the additional compounds found in the plant which include a wide variety of terpenes. Terpenes are responsible for the unique smells and flavors of cannabis as well as offering their own potential health benefits. Terpenes can promote mental alertness, reduce anxiety/stress and even treat respiratory issues such as asthma or allergies, and these are only the impacts that we know of.
The potential health benefits of cannabis extend far beyond the treatment of only mental health disorders and minor physical aches and pains. Cannabis also holds promise as a potential cancer treatment and a treatment for epilepsy and seizures.
There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that suggests that cannabis offers significantly greater health benefits than alcohol, tobacco, or pharmaceuticals — not only from the perspective of safety but also in terms of effectiveness. Cannabis can be used to promote physical health as well as mental wellbeing without causing any long-term damage to the body and without the risk of severe side effects. So, how exactly does cannabis manage to do all of this without carrying the same risks as pharmaceuticals or other alternative options? Simply put, it has slowly evolved with humans over thousands of years.***
How Cannabis Interacts With The Body
Cannabis interacts with the body through the endocannabinoid system. There are over 100 known cannabinoids in cannabis plants with each one having a unique impact on human health. The human body produces its own cannabinoid chemicals which is why cannabis has such a potent effect on our bodies when used as medicine or for recreation.
Cannabis can benefit many ailments through these interactions that work to help regulate homeostasis within the endocannabinoid system of your body. This helps improve symptoms associated with conditions ranging from cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, chronic pain syndrome, epilepsy disorders like Dravet Syndrome among others.
The exact underlying mechanisms that facilitate these health benefits is still not well known, and this is directly related to the drugs current status as a Schedule I drug.
The Need For Change
Cannabis holds seemingly limitless potential when it comes to treating some of the most dreaded health issues faced by humanity, and yet we hide it away in a corner behind a tag that makes it inaccessible to not only regular citizens but also the very research institutions that could help unlock its secrets. It begs the question, should cannabis has ever been considered a Schedule I drug, and if not, why do we still have it classified that way? It’s been over 40 years since America began the supposed war on drugs, but the reality is that for 40 years we have deprived ourselves of a potentially valuable resource in our fight for better health.