Marijuana & Your Health
You’ve Heard the Hype. Can It Help?
In 1996, California became the first state in the nation to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. Since then, more than half the states have followed suit, while several others have moved one step further by legalizing marijuana for adult-use. With so many states deciding to opt out of federal prohibition, the idea that marijuana can have positive medicinal benefits for consumers is no longer quite as far-fetched as it once seemed.
For decades, scientists from around the world have conducted research on the medicinal properties of marijuana – or, to use the plant’s proper name, “cannabis.” Although more study is needed, especially given the improvements in cultivation techniques and the quality of cannabis products achieved since legalization, the overwhelming consensus appears to be that cannabis does indeed show promise in the treatment of a variety of conditions and ailments. Many researchers, including those funded by the National Institutes of Health, have found that the chemical compounds that give cannabis its psychoactive and medicinal qualities could be beneficial in the treatment of diseases that affect the immune system, like HIV/AIDS and multiple sclerosis (MS), as well as inflammation, pain, seizures, substance use disorders, and mental disorders.
These chemical compounds, called “cannabinoids,” interact with the endocannabinoid system in the human body. In fact, our bodies produce their own cannabinoids, and these compounds play a role in regulating pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, body movement, awareness of time, appetite, pain, and the senses. While cannabis contains more than 100 different kinds of cannabinoids, the two that have enjoyed the most attention from both the scientific community and the public at large are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
The most well-known cannabinoid, THC, is also the only cannabinoid that produces a psychoactive effect. While cannabis consumers have long enjoyed the “high” that consuming THC provides, this compound has also been shown to increase appetite, reduce nausea, and potentially decrease pain, inflammation, and muscle control problems.
CBD is gaining more attention in recent years, especially because it does not produce any kind of psychoactive effect. Instead, research has shown that CBD may be helpful in reducing pain and inflammation, controlling epileptic seizures, and possibly even treating mental illness and addictions.
Given the demonstrated medical potential, should you be considering cannabis products as part of your treatment regimen or everyday wellness plan? Of course, consulting your personal physician is always a good idea. But in the meantime, there are many cannabis products available for purchase at dispensaries here in Colorado, most of which can be obtained without registering as a medical marijuana patient. In fact, a growing number of cannabis products do not even need to be smoked to enjoy their effects.
For instance, many cannabis companies sell products that are applied topically to the skin. Brands such as Mary’s Medicinals, Apothecanna, 5 Leaf, Dixie Elixirs, and more sell topical lotions and creams, bath soaks, transdermal pens, and even patches (like those used to help curb nicotine addiction). Even more companies produce edible cannabis products, from brownies and cookies to gummies, chocolate bars, drinks, pills, and even granola.
For more information, visit your nearest marijuana dispensary. The folks over at LivWell Enlightened Health pride themselves on their highly-trained, knowledgeable budtenders who enjoy answering your toughest cannabis questions and directing you to your perfect cannabis experience.
Cannabis products are clearly worth trying, if not for the potential medical benefits, then perhaps for the opportunity to relive the 1960’s in the 21st century.