Cannabis, also called marijuana, is a substance, immensely popular for its recreational use not only among youth but also among the elderly ones.
In the United States, medical marijuana is legal in thirty-one states while recreational marijuana is legal in nine states only.
On June 25th, 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex, a drug that contains an active ingredient derived from marijuana to treat severe forms of epilepsy. Also, even before recent legislation changes, cannabis was already well-known for eliciting feelings of euphoria and providing instant relaxation.
In this article, we will talk only about the mental health benefits of cannabis, so let’s see some details concerning the benefits of using marijuana.
12 Mental Health Benefits of Medical Marijuana
Classified as schedule 1 drug, cannabis is illegal under U.S. federal law, but because it has its mental health benefits, many states have legalized it to use marijuana for medical purposes.
Read more to learn about the top 12 mental health benefits you can get from medical marijuana:
1. Treats insomnia.
10-15% of the total US population suffers from chronic insomnia, and marijuana is used nowadays to improve the quality of sleep of many Americans.
Also, a study from 2013 published in Frontiers of Psychology shows that cannabis also helps people to have better breathing while sleeping.
2. Reduces depression.
According to the WHO, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression.
Scientists at the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions studied chronic stress and depression focusing on endocannabinoids, which are lipid-based retrograde neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors. This study further shows that chronic stress may suppress the production of endocannabinoids in the brain, which in return can cause depression.
As a result of using cannabis, endocannabinoids are restored to function, thus easing depression and acting as a mood stabilizer.
3. Fights anxiety.
40 million adults in the United States have anxiety and other related disorders.
Studies show that CBD has anxiolytic properties, and it also improves anxiety-disorder symptoms.
A study indicates that CBD is effective in treating Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) because of its effects on limbic and paralimbic areas.
4. Treats Schizophrenia.
Listed as the top 15 causes of disability in the world schizophrenia affects over 7.5 million adults in the United States alone.
CBD is proved to be an effective antipsychotic medication, which doesn't affect appetite or metabolic rate (which is a common side-effect of other Schizophrenia medications).
5. Reduces post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.
According to the National Center for PTSD, about 7-8% of the total US population has PTSD; four percent of men and ten percent of women develop PTSD at some point in their lives.
One reason for PSTD is endocannabinoids deficiency, and medical marijuana helps in recovering the missing endocannabinoids, thus treating PTSD.
Researchers at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) found that PTSD patients usually have lower levels of anandamide, which endogenous cannabinoids have in their compound.
6. Treats bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder is a mental condition linked to mood swings, which can be unpredictable and extreme, and it can affect the way you perform your daily activities.
For this mental disorder, administration of CBD comes with several medicinal effects and can be a potent mood booster due to the delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol it contains.
A study in 2016 found that people with bipolar disorder reported having better moods after consuming medical marijuana.
7. Treats opioid addiction.
According to a 2015 study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 33,000 deaths by overdose of opioid drugs occurred in the United States.
Having been used for pain management for decades marijuana helps opiate addicts prevent withdrawal and fight the cravings they experience when they’re coming off drugs.
A more recent study, “Medical Cannabis Laws and Opioid Analgesic Overdose Mortality in the United States, 1999-2010,” also reported a 25 percent reduction in opiate overdose in the United States where marijuana was made legal.
Studies show that cannabis improves impulse control, making cognitive decision-making more likely to occur.Tweet This!
8. Treats ADHD.
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) affects 6-9% children and young adults in the world.
Studies show that cannabis improves impulse control, making cognitive decision-making more likely to occur, thus helping in reversing the ADHD symptoms.
In a study of 268 online discussion threads, 25% of people agreed with the fact that medical marijuana is useful for treating ADHD.
9. Treats Migraines.
Medical marijuana helps in treating migraine headaches and provides better results in comparison with other migraine medications.
In 2016, a retrospective analysis reviewed data of 121 adults with migraines who were recommended to use medical marijuana. The study reported a significant decrease in the frequency of migraine attacks from 10.4 to 4.6 a month.
10. Promotes relaxation.
Studies have found that a low dose of THC helps people relieve stress, whereas moderate to high dose boosts relaxation.
Also, many surveys show that “relaxation” is one of the main reasons why marijuana is so popular among millions of people in the world.
11. Regulates mood and emotions.
Cannabis strains help people focus more on work and improve their quality of life. Harlequin, Jack Herer, Laughing Buddha, Pineapple Express, and Blue Magoo are some of the strains that are well-known for their excellent antidepressant properties.
Studies reported that even low doses of marijuana could increase serotonin levels, thus improving the mood.
As stated in a study published in 2012, the endocannabinoid system activated by THC also helps in the processing of emotions, making this a proper remedy for those who have problems regulating their emotions.
12. Relieves obsessive thoughts.
Usually, obsessive or intrusive thoughts are thoughts that seem to repeat themselves, causing a lot of distress, fear, and anxiety. These type of thoughts can create a psychological barrier by themselves and even though some stick around only for some days, others appear and disappear for weeks, month or even years. Because of their unpredictable nature, these thoughts are stress-fueled and create havoc in the hormonal system of the body.
On the other hand, THC present in cannabis has a soothing effect that can help people reduce unwanted, recurring thoughts and obsessions.
Although there is a wide range of misconceptions regarding the health issues related to the marijuana use, it is a well-proven fact that marijuana is a harmless substance which can relax your body and mind.
In conclusion, consuming marijuana can be very helpful in treating depression, anxiety, and many other mental health conditions, but even though you can use it for medical purposes, you'll need a medical marijuana recommendation signed by a certified doctor in many US states.
Did marijuana help you improve the quality of your life, and if yes, how? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.
About the Author: James J Harper
James is a blogger by profession. He has been writing on medical marijuana for the last 7 years. Presently, he is writing for Medical Cannabis in Orange County & Online Medical Marijuana Card, Orange County, since 2015.