Anti-drug activists claim that even a few puffs of the hash will make an individual a drug addict or unemployed psychopath for a lifetime. Of course, smoking too much weed may drastically affect the healthy life of an individual. However, using marijuana is legal in many states, considering the recreational and medical benefits of this drug. Some recent studies have brought to light some surprising health benefits of marijuana. Many drug researchers opine that sensible use of ganja can help alleviate numerous symptoms including headache, insomnia, lack of appetite, seizures, and spasticity.
What are the Six Surprising Health Benefits?
1. Reduces the risk of obesity
One of the surprising health benefits of Marijuana is that it can prevent people from becoming obese to a notable extent. A study published in the journal Obesity indicates that hemp users are less likely to become obese as compared to non-smokers. Another study by the Conference of Quebec University Health Centers reflects that weed smokers are likely to maintain low body mass index scores.
These researchers considered a target group of 700 adults aged 18-74 and identified that the body mass index score of weed smokers are lower than that of non-smokers (Waugh, 2016). People with low BMI will not have more body fats, and hence, they are less susceptible to the risk of obesity and diabetes. The reason is that this habit can significantly affect brain mechanism and hunger. To be precise, the smoking practice affects the receptors in the brain that trigger the release of hunger hormones. Also, some types of marijuana are identified to be an appetite suppressant, and therefore, people feel less hungry after they smoke marijuana.
2. Improves athletic performance
Another surprising health benefit of Marijuana is that proper use of ganja can result in enhanced athletic performance. Many athletes credit marijuana use for their commendable performance in the athletic track. They add that smoking marijuana can also contribute to fast recovery from injuries and other related health problems. People who participate in extreme sports need to manage their adrenaline rush properly to keep themselves calm.
Marijuana use helps athletes relax and to prepare for the competition with a free mind. Many athletes claim that marijuana smoking gives them almost a meditation or religious experience. The use of marijuana affects athletes’ brain by activating the endocannabinoid receptors, which, in turn, provide them with a feeling of euphoria. Such a pleasurable experience is a stimulant for extreme sports athletes. Marijuana use can significantly benefit athletes to increase their focus, which is the primary factor determining an athlete’s performance in an extreme sports event. Finally, weed-smoking can suppress physiological responses linked to anxiety. Therefore, it can help athletes to decrease their anxiety levels, thus leading to improved performance.
3. Enhances creativity
Another surprising health benefit of Marijuana use is that it markedly improves the creativity of individuals. A group of researchers conducted a study in Consciousness and Cognition in 2012 to identify the effects of marijuana on people’s creativity. The study found that weed smoking made people more creative. Specifically, this creativity was evident in how well the participants used language.
The researchers mainly investigated the effects of dope-smoking on “schizotypy and divergent thinking, a measure of creativity” (Waugh, 2016). They add that dope-smoking notably increased verbal fluency in low-creative people to the same level as that of high-creative people. The basic reason is that marijuana is a stimulant, thus leading to enhanced creativity.
The world’s famous entrepreneur, the founder and former CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs once said that the use of marijuana made him more relaxed and creative. According to research conducted in the Washington State University, weed smokers performed better than non-smokers in convergent thinking tests. (Hosie, 2017).
4. Eases the pain of multiple sclerosis
According to an article published in Business Insider, relieving the painful symptoms of multiple sclerosis is a crucial benefit of smoking marijuana. The article refers to a research paper published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal to back its claim.
Jody Corey-Bloom studied a sample population of 30 multiple sclerosis patients who were suffering from painful contractions in their muscles. When other treatments did not help those patients to improve their pain, the use of marijuana for a few days decreased their pain considerably. The researcher says that the tetrahydrocannabinol in the pot “binds to receptors in the nerves and muscles to relieve pain” (Business Insider, n.d.).
Also, marijuana use can treat some other symptoms of multiple sclerosis, including stiffness or uncontrolled muscle movements by calming spasms. Marijuana can also ease the spasms that cause patients to feel like they need to pee frequently (Ellis, n.d.). Since this drug can lessen pain in multiple sclerosis patients, it can be a solution to their sleeplessness too. It is a common belief that medical marijuana should be taken as a pill or spray instead of smoking. However, some doctors say that smoked marijuana will also give the same benefits as other forms.
5. Abolishes cancer cells
A highly-potential but still unpopular benefit of smoking marijuana is that it can kill cancer cells. In 2014, a study funded by the U.S government specifically investigated the effects of marijuana on brain cancer. The researchers of this study concluded that the use of marijuana, along with radiation therapy, had significantly reduced the number of cancer cells. It was an effective treatment method for brain cancer.
Experiments on mice with cancerous cells also showed that marijuana was an effective drug to weaken cancer cells. The positive results from this study persuaded the U.S federal government to update the National Cancer Institute’s website in May 2016. It included a page specifically about marijuana (cannabis) under its Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) section. In support of this research finding, currently, many YouTube videos feature cancer survivors and their claims on how marijuana assisted them in recovering.
6. Useful for treating depression and PTSD
Marijuana can even reduce the severity of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and social anxiety. Many pieces of published literature support the use of this substance for relieving patients from the symptoms of depression and PTSD. Researchers indicate that when people with depression smoke cannabis, they may get benefited from ‘restoration of “normal” endocannabinoid function and mood stabilization’ (Marcin, 2016).
When it comes to PTSD, most of the currently available treatments for PTSD are sedatives and anti-anxiety medicines that can have detrimental side effects on the patient. However, the compound named ‘cannabidiol’, found in cannabis, can reduce fear without causing a psychoactive effect. People living with PTSD are likely to have low levels of anandamide, which can be raised to required levels by specific components of weed. Even though researches are still at early stages due to non-legalization of this plant in many U.S states, undoubtedly marijuana has numerous surprising health benefits.
Waugh, R. (7 Mar 2016). 7 really surprising health benefits from smoking cannabis. Metro.
Hosie, R. (16 November 2017). Marijuana users are more creative than non-users, finds study. Independent.
Ellis, R. R. Can Medical Marijuana Treat Multiple Sclerosis? Webmed. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/multiple-sclerosis/features/medical-marijuana-multiple-sclerosis#1
Marcin, A. (2016). Can Medicinal Marijuana Treat Depression? Healthline.