Over the years, cannabis has become extremely popular for recreational purposes.
Marijuana has been declared legal in some of the states in the U.S., and its intake has increased over time, more people are now supporting the cause.
Its active ingredient THC was synthesized back in 1966, and approved finally by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1985, making it medical-friendly.
In 1999 a United States Government-sponsored study by the Institute of Medicine revealed that marijuana has medical benefits in aspects such as nausea caused by chemotherapy and wasting caused by AIDS.
Marijuana is also known to have pain-relieving effects.
Effects of Marijuana on The Brain
People are often biased about marijuana, but don’t let them manipulate you. Marijuana has been linked with several key benefits to the brain and deemed useful in treating certain medical conditions linked to the brain.
Cannabis is now consumed across many states in the U.S. for medical purposes, while also serving as a stress reliever or used for recreational purposes.
Here are enlisted some of the benefits that marijuana has on the human brain –
1. Prevention of Alzheimer’s
THC, being an active ingredient in marijuana, helps in slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, as proven by a 2006 study led by Kim Janda from the Scripps Research Institute.
THC also retards the formation of amyloid plaques by inhibiting the formation of the enzyme in the brain that produces them.
These plaques kill brain cells, and thus lead to Alzheimer’s disease, but are halted by marijuana before they can manifest.
2. Regulates Epileptic Seizure
Marijuana can help control epileptic seizures, based on a 2003 study.
Robert J. DeLorenzo, of Virginia Commonwealth University, conducted tests on epileptic rats by giving them marijuana extract and synthetic marijuana. The drugs halted the seizures in 10 hours.
THC, present in marijuana, prevented the seizures by binding the brain cells responsible for controlling excitability as-well-as regulating relaxation.
3. Pain Relief From Multiple Sclerosis
Marijuana helps in reducing the negative neurological effects and muscle spasms influenced by multiple sclerosis.
A study published in the Canadian Medical Association points out that marijuana can potentially reduce pain caused by multiple sclerosis.
Patients with painful muscle contractions don’t respond well to medications but have reported being in less pain after smoking marijuana for a few days.
The THC present in marijuana bonds the receptors in the nerves and muscles, thereby ridding the patient of pain.
4. Reduces Tremors Caused By Parkinson’s Disease
Smoking marijuana immensely reduces pains and tremors, hence improving sleep for Parkinson’s disease patients. However, smoking weed also resulted in better motor skills among patients.
Patients who suffered extreme episodes of tremors were in much relief after smoking cannabis.
5. Reduced Symptoms of Dravet’s Syndrome
Dravet Syndrome is known to cause seizures and significant developmental delays in patients.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a renowned chief medical correspondent for CNN, has been treating a five-year-old girl with Dravet’s Syndrome, by using medical marijuana strain rich in cannabidiol and low in THC.
After administering marijuana to the girl, the seizures came down from 300 a week to just once every seven days. The same treatment has been given to forty other children, producing similar results.
Cannabidiol present in marijuana interacts with the brain cells to squelch the excessive activities in the brain, which often lead to seizures.
6. Helps with Depression and Anxiety
Smoking marijuana has been linked to reduced anxiety, significantly improving the smoker’s mood and acting as a sedative when smoked in low doses.
It also helps with depression by interacting with the brain cells responsible for overthinking and inhibiting the production of stress-causing hormones.
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7. Treats Symptoms of Lupus
Medical marijuana can also help in treating an autoimmune disorder called Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, a condition where the body starts attacking itself.
Some chemicals found in cannabis help calm the immune system, which could help cater to the symptoms of Lupus.
Marijuana also helps in dealing with the effects of the pain and nausea caused by the disorder.
8. Protects The Brain After a Concussion or Trauma
Research conducted by the University of Nottingham shows that cannabis might even safeguard the brain from damage caused by a stroke by shrinking the affected area.
Other researches have also surfaced, showing that the plant may even protect the brain after head trauma events like concussions. Marijuana is also proven to be an effective neuroprotective agent.
9. Helpful for Veterans with PTSD
Marijuana can even treat PTSD and is legalized in some states in America for this purpose.
Since marijuana has been linked with reducing anxiety and stress by calming the brain and the nervous system, it can thus help deal with PTSD.
Some of the naturally occurring cannabinoids, similar to THC, help in regulating and squelching fear and terror in the brain.
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10. Helps Reduce Nightmares
Marijuana sometimes disrupts the sleep cycle by interrupting the later stages of REM sleep, which might be useful for people dealing with PTSD and daily episodes of nightmares.
Since REM sleep is the stage where we encounter nightmares, many of those horrors may not happen after smoking weed.
Recent research using a synthetic cannabinoid, like THC, resulted in a decrease of nightmares in patients who have PTSD.
Marijuana can even act as a better sleep aid compared to other strong medications or alcohol because the latter two can worsen sleep cycle even further, and also harbor the side effects that come along.
Marijuana legalization has been a topic of national debate as people often demand more proof of the health benefits.
However, considering all the research conducted on the aftermath of smoking weed, marijuana does way more good than harm.
It has also been linked with the better daily functioning of the body, both physiologically and psychologically. It helps reduce episodes of trauma, appeases anger, and induces joy and euphoria.