Marijuana has a complex history, with some people being very anti it, whilst others extol the benefits.
Some places in the world marijuana has been legalised for everyone, in some places it is still a prescription only product, and in other areas it is still illegal, with a fine or prison time attached to possession of this drug.
CBD oil has taken off in a big way in recent years, and is legal in most places, as it does not have the THC component - which is the psychoactive compound responsible for producing a ‘high’.
Those that are supporters of marijuana will tell you about all the medical benefits, but what do we actually know about the benefits of marijuana? Let's have a look at some of the benefits you may not know about.
CBD vs THC
The cannabis plant contains compounds called cannabinoids, there are many of these in each plant, with many different names.
The two most common cannabinoids that most people have heard of are cannabidiol - or CBD - and tetrahydrocannabinol - or THC.
CBD is the part of the plant that is considered to have the most health benefits, and is found in both the marijuana plant and the hemp plant.
THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid that causes the hallucinatory effects, or the high that is experienced when it is inhaled, and is found mainly in the marijuana plant, and in very small quantities in the hemp plant.
CBD is the cannabinoid that is thought to have the most beneficial effects in people. It seems to affect the body in many different ways, which we will look through shortly.
THC however, is still heavily debated in the medical world. THC can have different effects on different people, with some people becoming hyperactive, and other people can become extremely depressed, and can lead to further, unusual side effects.
If a doctor is considering prescribing medical marijuana, they will assess all the risks and the benefits, and discuss them at length with you, so you are fully aware before you start taking it.
Relief From Chronic Pain
CBD is well documented for its anti inflammatory effects, and therefore seems to provide relief from chronic pain for many people.
Chronic pain can be anything that causes long lasting pain, such as arthritis, migraines or fibromyalgia.
For some people who are suffering with cancer, medical marijuana can help to make them more comfortable, and minimise the side effects from chemotherapy.
Marijuana can be taken in several ways, such as smoked, using dab rigs, CBD oil, capsules, and even topical ointments to apply to a specific area.
As well as relieving chronic pain, the anti inflammatory properties of CBD can also help with relieving the symptoms of inflammatory diseases, such as Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
Can Help With Mental Health
Whilst THC can have an adverse effect on mental health, CBD can have positive effects.
The most common condition that CBD is used for, is to help treat the symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder.
CBD also seems to help with the symptoms of clinical depression, and post traumatic stress disorder, although your doctor will probably refer you for some kind of therapy as well, because although CBD can help manage the symptoms, the root causes of mental illness need to be addressed.
Medical marijuana can help with several different types of neurological disorders, the most famous of which is epilepsy.
There have been several famous cases where a person who suffers with debilitating seizures, leads a much more normal life with the help of medical marijuana.
Some people for example, suffer with several epileptic seizures a day and traditional treatments don’t appear to help much, but with medical marijuana, the frequency of the seizures is reduced to only a handful a month - a significant improvement in their quality of life.
However, be aware that for some people, marijuana can actually worsen the seizures, so it is always important to talk to your doctor or neurologist before starting marijuana treatment.
Other neurological disorders that medical marijuana can help with are multiple sclerosis, parkinson’s disease and even tourette’s syndrome, but as previously stressed, always talk to your doctor first.
Marijuana and CBD can also help with sleep disorders. It could be something more serious such as insomnia, but even those that have trouble dropping off, or staying asleep may benefit from medical marijuana.
CBD can make you feel very relaxed, and this can help with sleep problems.
As we have already discussed, CBD can help with chronic pain issues, so if the pain is lessened, that may also make sleep easier.
What Are The Risks?
As with anything, medical marijuana and CBD can have risks, so always talk to your doctor first, to make sure it is suitable, and that it is not going to interact with any other medications that you are already taking.
Marijuana is not considered to be an addictive substance, so you do not have to worry about becoming addicted to it.
If you are using marijuana that has high THC levels, then you could suffer from the psychoactive effects, and have hallucinations. Therefore, it is not safe to drive, or operate heavy machinery, and in some places, this is actually illegal.
Depending on your country, and your job, it could be illegal or against company policy to come to work after you have used marijuana with THC in, due to the same reasons above, in these cases CBD may be better, if that is suitable.
Marijuana usage can also cause the user to become very depressed, or very hyperactive, the side effects differ from person to person.
You may also experience a dry mouth, excessive hunger, hallucinations, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and blood shot eyes.
Therefore, it is important to have your marijuana treatment monitored by a professional, so they can advise you of any side effects, and help get the right dosage for you, and for the condition that you have.