All Information Displayed In This Post Is For Educational Purposes Only, And Is Not To Be Construed As Medical Advice Or Treatment For Any Specific Person Or Condition. Cannabis Has Not Been Analyzed Or Approved By The FDA. Individual Results May Vary.
While smoking tobacco and good health do not mix, scientists and doctors learn more each day about the possible benefits whole plant marijuana flower, or cannabis, may provide.
Before recent years, federal prohibition halted marijuana research. However, as a large number of American states legalized cannabis, more studies, observations, and treatment data have accumulated. For example, soon Massachusetts medical marijuana patients will see recreational cannabis alongside their medical options, as the state recently legalized cannabis for general adult use, with sales to begin this July.
But what exactly are the benefits this plant may provide, how do they work, and how can you incorporate it into a healthy life?
Cannabis creates medical effects in the body because of your Endocannabinoid system
Everybody on the planet has an endocannabinoid system, or ECS, and it’s a big reason why cannabis creates effects inside the bodies of users. This large system of endogenous neurotransmitters creates and maintains key processes inside your brain and throughout your body. For example, the ECS plays a key role in processing feelings of hunger, pain and even appetite and memory.
Your body produces endocannabinoids of it’s own, the most well known being anandamide, or the “runner’s high” chemical, which produces a feeling of euphoria for those engaged in physical activity. Cannabis chemicals, or cannabinoids, bind to ECS receptors just like body made endocannabinoids.
When you use cannabis, 113 different cannabinoids interact with your ECS, binding and blocking receptors, and this mass of combinations make up the plants effects throughout your body.
For instance, CBD, the second most popular cannabinoid in cannabis, halts your body from absorbing anandamide, the aforementioned “feel good” chemical. By increasing levels of anandamide, CBD from cannabis helps reduce inflammation, as well as aid physical recovery.
Cannabis and chemicals inside it offer non addictive pain management properties
One of the biggest factors in cannabis’ rise toward general acceptance is it’s capabilities as a non morphine or opioid based analgesic.
As mentioned before, certain cannabis chemicals help inhibit absorption of body made compounds like anandamide, which work to reduce pain sensation. Since the ECS already plays role in pain sensation, cannabis works within it, and improves the body’s natural pain management system without causing dependency associated with mainstream painkillers, like vicodin or percocet.
Many athletes champion the pain relief benefits cannabis chemicals provide, and professional athletic bodies, like the US anti Doping Agency, conquer. Recently they removed their ban on CBD products, allowing athletes like UFC fighter Nick Diaz to use the substance.
Cannabis chemicals can help anyone, not just those recovering from the pain of gruelling blows on the gridiron or in the octagon.
Cannabis’ psychoactive effects can help improve workout quality, as well as help you become more aware of your body
CBD became popular and widespread amongst athletes and regular people alike because it provides soothing relief from pain and inflammation without giving users a notable “high.” With that said, CBD alone doesn’t tell the whole story of the cannabis’ medical properties.
I spoke with a former collegiate distance swimmer, Aurelia Sheehan, about her cannabis use. She told me that during swim practices she would be, “much more likely to stretch the right way [after smoking cannabis] then just do it to get it over with.”
Cannabis helped Sheehan focus on her stretches, and it helped her become more mindful of her body, which allowed her to better communicate with trainers to improve her workouts.
She maintained that, “If I’m in that very Indica induced body high [then] I can feel my muscles stretching and I can feel my tendons responding slowly I’m much more likely to stretch the right way…because I would smoke I’d be more inclined to notice small changes in my body that I could report to a trainer or coach so I could more accurately describe the issue.”
Cannabis and mindfulness is not an odd pair. Yogis and mindfulness experts maintain that meditation can be aided by whole plant cannabis’ euphoric effects. While weed yoga studios continue to pop up along the west coast and other states with legal cannabis, it’s important to note in closing that what may be right for some isn’t always right for all.
Cannabis affects each user differently, and cannabis may stimulate each users ECS in different ways depending on the number of available endocannabinoid receptors and one’s history of cannabis use and tolerance.
If you want to explore whether cannabis may improve your health or quality of life, it’s important to consult your local cannabis physician, medical cannabis program, or recreational dispensary for more information. If cannabis has helped you, please feel free to share your story below!
About the Author
Chris Matich is a professional writer, journalist, and editor living in Pittsburgh, PA. Chris blogs for Schenley.net. His writing interests include LGBT+ people/issues, sports writing, and blogging. Chris currently writes about web optimization, blogging practices, medical cannabis, and cannabis lifestyle. He writes fiction and creative nonfiction in his spare time. Linkedin, Twitter