As marijuana becomes legal across the United States, both medically and recreationally, research in its effects is becoming more widespread.
Though illegal on a federal level, users can still purchase from local dispensaries and even from online delivery services, wherever permitted.
With a push for legalization, there’s a discussion occurring on the sidelines regarding marijuana. Scientists have touted the medicinal benefits of cannabis and mental health and research is proving true.
What is Cannabis?
Weed and cannabis are one and the same, though the name ‘weed’ may carry negative connotations. Cannabis has over 100 cannabinoids, or compounds, found within it. Some cannabinoids may contain beneficial properties.
THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the compound responsible for giving users a high. Buying recreationally, you would want your cannabis to be THC rich. Another cannabinoid that contains benefits for mental health is CBD or Cannabidiol.
A common misconception is that CBD does not contain any psychoactive properties. While it does interact with the brain on some capacity, it’s classified as psychoactive. Also, CBD may also give its users a small high, though the effects are minimal.
Cannabis with high amounts of THC and low amounts of CBD can be harmful to a user’s mental health due to its ability to induce paranoia. Cannabis with equal amounts of THC and CBD reduces the paranoia in the user. Cannabis with higher levels of CBD can provide some medical benefit.
Since research on cannabis can be difficult considering it’s illegal on a federal level, more research needs to be conducted in order to fully realize the full benefit of it on mental health.
The Link Between Cannabis and Mental Health
The research that was conducted does prove a link between cannabis, specifically CBD, and mental health. Patients in studies have reported reduced feelings of anxiety, insomnia, spasticity, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
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Medical marijuana has been a miracle-worker for users with PTSD. Lynn was Boston Bombing survivor who had been taking prescription drugs to combat her PTSD. The medication she was taking had adverse effects on her body, resulting in surgery and organ damage.
She turned to medical marijuana and found the results were comparable to her prescriptions and didn’t bring any major side effects.
According to the Harvard Health Publishing, marijuana use among veterans who saw combat were seeing a dramatic improvement of PTSD symptoms.
In clinical trials, CBD was shown to treat symptoms of schizophrenia compared to antipsychotic medication. This was done with molecular CBD and performed in a controlled environment.
Another study, which saw six patients who treated their schizophrenia with marijuana, saw improvements in four patients when small doses of THC was added to their regime. Three of those four patients showed a specific antipsychotic effect.
CBD was even shown to have therapeutic potential, and some have labeled it as an antipsychotic.
Dementia and Alzheimer
There has yet been any proof that cannabis shows any benefit for treating dementia. However, it’s a different story for Alzheimer disease. Cannabinoids were shown to target and suppress excitotoxicity and reduce plaque build-up in the brain.
Patients with dementia did find some benefit to marijuana. Medical marijuana reduced behavioral problems, irritability, and help with users’ food intake.
Users of marijuana have claimed to feel more anxious after smoking. Others, however, tout the benefits of treating anxiety with marijuana. It’s a weed paradox.
But who’s right? The answer can depend on who you are.
The fact of the matter is, some reports suggest low doses of THC can reduce anxiety for some. But higher and higher doses can bring on feelings of anxiousness. And other studies have shown CBD to be the anxiety-easer.
Most fascinatingly was the study found in Psychology Today.
Some 48 subjects were shocked seconds after being shown a colored box. This was repeated over and over until the shocking stopped. Despite the shocking having stopped, when showed the colored box again, fear and anxiety would set in each subject.
Researchers introduced CBD in the hopes it would offset the feelings of anxiety. Surprisingly, it worked.
A Push For Change
While the studies mentioned above have shown success in favor of cannabis, the effects of marijuana’s other compounds remain largely unknown.
Currently, the United States classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, which means they’re labeled to have a high abuse risk. Because of this, it makes comprehensive studies difficult.
There has been a push to legalize weed throughout the US.
Ten states have adopted laws legalizing weed on a recreational level, and 23 states have medical marijuana laws in place. Some states even have provisions about how cannabis is to be consumed. For example, Louisiana has provisions that prevent users from smoking cannabis. Instead, users have to resort to oils and topical applications.
As more and more states push for legalizing marijuana, you can discover more about how much money you can make.
Many have touted the mental health benefits of marijuana, and some of the research across the web has proven it does, though more research needs to be done for it to be conclusive.
Want To Read More About Bettering Yourself?
The link between cannabis and mental health is astounding but the need for research is key. There is still a long way to go to prove medical marijuana does have its benefits.
If you live in a state where medical marijuana is legal, here’s a guide to how to properly use CBD oil.