When it comes to the real benefits of weed, I’m sure you’ve heard enough unbacked, false promises for one lifetime.
For that reason, we prepared a list of scientifically proven benefits of weed for both recreational and medical users.
Check them out below.
Benefits of Cannabis (Ultimate List)
- Relieves neuropathic pain
- Relieves chronic pain
- Relieves anxiety
- Relieves depression
- Relieves craniofacial pain
- Relieves symptoms of HIV therapy
- Fights inflammation
- Regulates lipid metabolism
- Regulates blood pressure
- Prevents hippocampal cell death
- Relieves spasms in MS patients
- Boosts appetite
- Relieves nausea and vomiting
- Decreases migraine headache frequency
- Helps relieve seizures
- Inhibits tumor growth
Why aren’t the benefits of weed openly promoted by the mainstream media?
There are two reasons for this:
- There isn’t a whole lot of solid scientific evidence on the health effects of cannabis.
- The plant has been a victim of a negative marketing campaign since the 1920s.
Look, don’t get me wrong, I am an advocate of weed consumption. The plant has done wonders for hundreds of thousands of people and is continuing to do so.
The reason why weed was so loved throughout the history is apparent:
It has a lot of healing properties.
That’s just a fact.
However, the plant was also a victim of one of the biggest marketing campaigns of modern history. And that has an aftertaste, of sorts.
To make a long story short, marijuana was commonly used throughout the civilized society without falling under the banned substance umbrella. That is, right until the Mexican Revolution, which ended in 1920.
Mexican immigrants poured into the United States and so did the recreational use of cannabis.
People and the US government wanted to find a way to control that population, so they instantly started promoting cannabis as “The Devil Drug” with lines such as “it will make you kill people.”
In 1937, marijuana became officially criminalized through Marijuana Tax Act. Ever since then, the conservative public has been bombarded with negative marketing messages.
Some bad and some worse.
Unfortunately, some of those messages resonated with several generations and so we ended up with a bunch of people who still think marijuana will kill you.
Medical research of cannabis, on the other hand, has been largely revolving around this:
“We can’t say for certain if this is true or not.”
“We recommend large-scale testing in order to confirm this hypothesis.”
There have been only a handful of generally useful medical studies, some of which we will explore below.
That’s why I decided to tackle the benefits of weed head on.
The real benefits of weed.
Let’s jump right in.
DISCLAIMER: Even though I’ve spent a lot of time researching, I have to stress that some effects of cannabis are subjective. Greencamp should not be considered as a substitute for a doctor, but rather as a place where you’ll find objective, thoroughly researched information.
Health benefits: how weed helps with medical conditions
There are more and more cannabis studies popping up every single day. Unfortunately, they mostly deal with the possible side-effects of weed.
However, there are also several high quality medical studies that precisely deal with benefits of weed on health — especially when treating symptoms of common illnesses.
The problem is this:
There are very few websites that compile these studies.
University of California’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research has a regularly updated database of completed, active and pending cannabis studies.
And let me tell you— this is a gold mine for anyone that wants to dig into cannabis research.
That is why we are going to leverage CMCR’s collection of studies, Google Scholar and PubMed Central to uncover 16 proven benefits of weed for medical users.
For a long time, cannabis was suspected to have positive effects on patients with peripheral neuropathy.
And there’s a lot of people who suffer from this: diabetes and HIV patients are just some of the more common groups.
So you can see why this one is important.
A study from University of California analyzed the effects of smoked cannabis on 16 HIV patients suffering from painful neuropathy.
Amazingly, 10 out of 16 participants reported more than 30% of pain reduction just after 7 days of smoking medicinal cannabis.
Pain is so complex that its correlation with cannabis cannot be handled through a couple of short-term studies.
But this research on 34 patients with chronic pain has a hopeful conclusion:
“THC and THC : CBD were effective in relieving pain and improving sleep on a small group of patients.”
To be honest, I scrambled the web trying to find a better and more comprehensive study than this one and just dropped everything and decided to look for opinions of real people:
One group claims that weed just distracts from pain:
And another group does find actual relief:
So, combined with studies and the people’s opinion, we can safely say that weed effectively helps chronic pain patients — whether through pain relief or just distraction, depending on the person.
But the most important thing to consider here is to not go overboard:
Strains with THC:CBD ratio closer to 1:1 will probably be the best solution for treating pain.
There is this constant battle when it comes to weed:
Some say that it promotes anxiety and others that it relieves it.
So, what’s the actual truth?
If you use a strain with extremely high THC content, you might develop anxiety after a while.
On the other hand, if you choose a strain with lower and moderate THC content, then you can definitely relieve anxiety and relax.
This study from 2011 researched the effects of cannabinoids (THC and CBD) on people with Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder.
They found that the treatment with CBD (a non-psychoactive compound of cannabis) significantly reduced anxiety and cognitive impairment of the test group.
You can load up on CBD by consuming Indica and CBD dominant strains. Just make sure you keep it moderate.
It’s not a secret that weed smokers are happy people. And that is due to two things:
- The high that the plant produces once consumed
- Chemical compound in cannabis that has antidepressive properties
OK, so the first one is obvious but when it comes to the latter, there is a report published by the British Journal of Pharmacology which states that CBD induces antidepressant-like effect, which can be compared to a drug called Imipramine.
FYI, Imipramine is a tricyclic antidepressant which is given to patients with major depression and, like other strong drugs, has quite a bit of side effects.
Therefore, cannabis strains with higher doses of CBD seem like a perfect alternative, especially with their low risk of side effects.
Craniofacial pain is, in some respect, similar to other types of pain that we mentioned earlier but is different in its location.
This type of pain is chronic and is limited to head and neck. It is mostly caused by dental problems, anxiety and TMD — Temporomandibular Joint Disfunction.
Even though scientists have confirmed, through various studies, that cannabis does actually relieve neuropathy symptoms, craniofacial pain didn’t receive that much research.
However, I dug up a study from 2004 that tackled this issue and concluded that weed indeed may be beneficial for this type of pain.
There are actually plenty of studies that examine use of cannabis in HIV patients.
But the biggest study I could find is this research on 252 patients. They were asked very specific questions concerning their perceived benefits of consuming weed.
Here is what they said weed helps them with:
- Relieving anxiety and depression
- Improving appetite
- Relieving pain
- Increasing pleasure of life
The conclusion of this study was to continue research into how cannabis can improve the quality of life in HIV patients.
I have to say that the overall outlook is positive and that cannabis does seem like a useful addition to standard HIV therapy.
Cannabinoids have been extensively researched for their anti-inflammatory properties.
One particular publication from 2009 claims that administration of cannabinoids can be a potent treatment against inflammatory disorders.
Just think about it:
This can be a valid treatment exploration option for people suffering from various autoimmune disorders, such as Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF), arthritis, lupus, Hashimoto’s disease and many more.
As the research of cannabis progresses, so will the knowledge of the doctors who treat patients with these types of illnesses.
Hopefully, they will be able to use medicinal cannabis to relieve some of the symptoms, at least.
According to a pharmacology study done in 2005, Oleoylethanolamide (or OEA, it’s much easier) is proven to regulate metabolism of fat cells and therefore produce anti-obesity properties.
But what exactly is OEA?
Simply said, OEA is a lipid that activates a nuclear receptor called PPAR.
When you consume cannabis, cannabinoids stimulate your endogenous cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), which stimulate OEA. OEA then activates PPAR to regulate feeding and stimulate fat utilization.
Without going too much into Walter White mode (because trust me, I’m struggling here a bit as well) all of this happens on a cellular level.
Unfortunately for us, there are many factors that go into whole body fat loss, so don’t expect to sit around on a couch all day, smoke weed and become shredded.
Running and reducing carbohydrate intake is still a much better option for that.
So far you’ve got the idea that cannabis stimulates our very own endocannabinoid system, which regulates countless number of physiological processes.
This study breaks it down perfectly:
Cannabinoids have powerful hypotensive effects, which they achieve through complex processes involving myocardium and vasculature.
But if you’re looking to relieve high blood pressure with cannabis, please consult your doctor first.
Hippocampus is a part of the brain that regulates short-term and long-term memory, as well as spatial orientation.
Contrary to the popular belief, cannabinoids are proven to have neuroprotective properties. As a matter of fact, this study found that two CB1 molecules significantly reduced hippocampal cell death.
And if that’s not enough:
THC, CBD and other cannabinoids are powerful antioxidants, especially in neuronal cultures.
Need more proof?
The research is right here.
Multiple Sclerosis is an extremely difficult disease that has no apparent cure. It basically inflames person’s entire neurological system and causes painful and debilitating muscle spasms.
My friend from college actually has MS and I remember that she said, on multiple occasions, how
weed is currently the only thing that helps her. So that’s why I wanted to dig a bit deeper.
First, I found this study which states that MS patients frequently report relieved spasticity upon consuming cannabis.
But that’s not enough.
So I found this epic research on health effects of a bunch of different cannabinoids — THC, CBD, AJA, etc.
The biggest takeaway of that research is this:
A combination of THC and CBD lowers the frequency and intensity of muscle spasms in MS patients.
Couple that with marijuana’s ability to reduce pain, and you have an organic supplement to MS therapy.
You probably heard (or experienced) the term munchies — you smoke some weed and then, all of a sudden, you feel like you could eat an elephant (not that you would, actually).
Well, it turns out that this is useful for treating side-effects of medical conditions where patients are underweight, such as HIV or cancer.
A publication from 2012 researched this in more detail and they discovered that a drug containing cannabinoids significantly increased appetite in AIDS patients, which persisted for up to 12 months.
Nausea is a common side effect of many illnesses and their treatments — cancer and HIV/AIDS are among the top causes.
So it’s no wonder why medicinal cannabis was subjected to nausea-related research very early on.
For example, this study proved that CBD may have therapeutic value in treating nausea caused by chemo.
When it comes to picking the right strain for relieving nausea, I’d always go with Indica dominant strains with lower percentages of THC, as they will not make you to buzzed.
I was pretty stoked for this one as I used to suffer from chronic headaches when I was a kid.
A recent study from 2016 researched the effects of cannabis on migraines and concluded that weed indeed can be used for treating this condition.
A total of 121 subjects were involved in the study…
They reported decreased migraine frequency and, unbelievably, 11% reported complete resolution of headaches.
The study does not state which THC:CBD percentages were used in the research, but it does address the fact that edibles caused more side-effects for this group of patients than other forms of cannabis.
There are a lot of people with epilepsy who are treating their condition with medicinal cannabis. And that includes parents who are trying to heal their kids.
We’re gonna check out two studies here:
The first one deals with parents and their kids who are suffering from epilepsy.
Reportedly, the interviewed parents reported extremely high rate of success in reducing seizure frequency and severity. Interestingly, they were using CBD rich cannabis products to accomplish that.
The second study is pretty logical — it explains how endocannabinoid system regulates seizure activity and concludes that administration of THC can completely eliminate spontaneous epileptic seizures.
All in all, pretty amazing outlook, especially considering the difficulty of this particular disease.
I saved the best for last.
Cannabis has been scientifically proven to inhibit tumor cell growth on rodent and human cells (Petri dish) — but it has yet to be officially confirmed through in vivo testing.
However, the overall public opinion on this is that cannabis does indeed help with treating tumors and cancers. Just look at Rick Simpson’s inspiring story.
One part of that can be attributed to weed’s ability to reduce side effects of cancer therapy.
The second part is a bit controversial but still very significant:
An international team of scientists researched the effects of THC on cancer cells and concluded that it actually does destroy cancer cells by stimulating autophagy — a process which promotes cell death.
But the most unbelievable bit is their official conclusion:
“These findings describe a mechanism by which THC can promote the autophagic death of human and mouse cancer cells and provide evidence that cannabinoid administration may be an effective therapeutic strategy for targeting human cancers.”
Whether this will be confirmed in vivo, we’ll just have to wait and see.
After all, if you are suffering from cancer and you are in a position to use high-grade medicinal cannabis to supplement your regular therapy — just go for it, you have nothing to lose.
Lifestyle benefits: how weed improves the way of being
Since we got the science bit down, we’re now gonna explore how weed affects recreational users — most importantly their lifestyle, relationships and work.
But let me get one thing out of the way first:
The most popular use of cannabis is for recreational purposes.
Here’s a fun fact — 44% of Canadians have tried weed at least once and it is thought that the majority of them have done it just for fun.
People are using weed for a bunch of different effects but the majority of recreational users do it for the high:
It’s that buzzed feeling that produces euphoria and uplifted emotions. Usually followed by laughing and quite a bit of munchies — depending on the strain.
The effects of weed on user’s lifestyle is subjective. Therefore, it wasn’t researched through medical studies as much.
What we can do, however, is scour the reddits and forums of the world to explore what people’s subjective opinions are.
So I did exactly that and put everything in a list.
Here are the benefits of weed for recreational users:
Right now, I’d like to put the ball in your court and ask:
Which benefit of weed would you like to learn more about and why?
Share your thoughts in the comments below — I’ll try to answer it right away.