5 Surprising Benefits of Medical Cannabis You May Not Know About
Updated: Jul 29
Medical cannabis has become an increasingly popular alternative treatment option for a variety of conditions. However, while many patients may be aware of its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, there are other surprising benefits of medical cannabis that may not be as well-known. Always speak with a medical professional about the risk and rewards of using medical cannabis before making any changes to your current health treatments.
Can Cannabis Help Improve Sleep?
According to the American Sleep Association, approximately 70 million adults in the United States suffer from sleep disorders. This includes a variety of conditions such as insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and narcolepsy. Sleep disorders can have significant impacts on an individual's physical and mental health, as well as their quality of life, highlighting the importance of seeking proper diagnosis and treatment.
Improved Sleep: Medical cannabis has been shown to help improve sleep in patients with insomnia. The active compounds in cannabis, such as THC and CBD, may help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation, making it easier to fall and stay asleep.
Can Medical Cannabis Help Reduce PTSD Symptoms?
According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, approximately 7-8% of the US population will experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in their lives. This translates to around 8 million adults in the United States.
PTSD can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, such as military combat, sexual or physical assault, or a serious accident. It can cause a range of symptoms, including flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance, hypervigilance, and negative changes in mood and cognition. It is important for those experiencing symptoms of PTSD to seek professional help for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Reduced Symptoms of PTSD: Medical cannabis has been shown to help reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Studies have found that cannabis can help reduce anxiety, insomnia, and nightmares in patients with PTSD.
Can Cannabis Actually Enhance Athletic Performance?
A 2015 study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence found that cannabis reduced muscle stiffness and spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis.
Here are a few examples of athletes who have used cannabis:
Michael Phelps - the most decorated Olympian of all time has been known to use cannabis. In 2009, he was photographed smoking from a bong, which caused controversy and resulted in him being suspended from competition for three months.
Eugene Monroe - a former NFL offensive tackle who became an advocate for cannabis use after experiencing the benefits firsthand. He has spoken out about the need for the NFL to change its policies on cannabis and allow players to use it as a safer alternative to opioids for pain management.
Nick Diaz - a professional mixed martial artist who has been open about his cannabis use. In 2015, he was suspended from competition for five years by the Nevada State Athletic Commission after testing positive for cannabis, which sparked a public debate about the fairness of drug testing policies in combat sports.
Ross Rebagliati - a Canadian snowboarder who won the gold medal in the giant slalom at the 1998 Winter Olympics. He was briefly stripped of his medal after testing positive for cannabis, but the decision was later overturned because cannabis was not on the list of banned substances at the time.
Enhanced Athletic Performance: Medical cannabis may also have benefits for athletes. Some studies have found that cannabis can help reduce inflammation and muscle spasms, which can help improve recovery time and overall athletic performance.
Can Medical Cannabis Help Reduce Obesity?
Obesity is a major health concern in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2019-2020, the prevalence of obesity among adults in the US was 42.4%. This means that approximately 107 million adults in the US are considered to be obese, which is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. Obesity can increase the risk of several health problems, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some types of cancer. It is important for individuals who are overweight or obese to work with a healthcare provider to develop a plan for weight management and overall health improvement.
Reduced Risk of Obesity: While many people associate cannabis use with the "munchies," studies have actually found that cannabis use is associated with a lower body mass index (BMI) and reduced risk of obesity. This is thought to be due to the effects of cannabis on metabolism and insulin regulation.
Can Medical Cannabis Help Improve Digestive Health?
Improved Digestive Health: Medical cannabis has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that can help improve digestive health. It may help reduce symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
While many patients are aware of the pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory benefits of medical cannabis, there are other surprising benefits that may be worth considering. Improved sleep, reduced symptoms of PTSD, enhanced athletic performance, reduced risk of obesity, and improved digestive health are just a few of the many potential benefits of medical cannabis. As always, it's important to discuss any treatment options with a healthcare provider.
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