Cannabis has a long history of being used for its health benefits. Whether you’re struggling physically or mentally, cannabis health benefits can help make life a little easier. In fact, cannabis has been connected to better health in a number of ways.
The Substances Behind Cannabis Health Benefits
The cannabis plant is complex, containing hundreds of compounds that can work separately or in concert. There are two main types of compounds that interest cannabis researchers: cannabinoids and terpenes. Both of these compound groups are being studied for their therapeutic properties.
Cannabinoids are compounds first discovered in the cannabis plant. These include the famous chemicals THC and CBD. However, other cannabinoids like CBN or CBC are also being studied for their benefits to human health. Cannabinoids are the most psychoactive compounds in cannabis, often affecting a person’s state of mind. THC in particular affects the brain’s endocannabinoid receptors, leading to the high most cannabis aficionados love.
Terpenes are found in many more plants. A terpene is an aromatic compound that gives a plant its distinctive scent and flavor. Different strains of cannabis contain different combinations and concentrations of various terpenes, leading to a wide variety of flavors you can experience today. Common cannabis terpenes include linalool, limonene, and pinene, all of which have been connected to improved health.
These compounds all have their own benefits when singled out. However, when combined, research suggests that they work together through the entourage effect. Essentially, different cannabinoids and terpenes reinforce each other, so the total health effect of cannabis is greater than the sum of its parts.
Physical Health Benefits of Cannabis
Cannabis and cannabis extracts have been connected to multiple health benefits. Loss of appetite and nausea have all been proven to improve through regular consumption of cannabis extracts or cannabis itself. These benefits are potentially connected to the way that cannabis reacts with the brain’s endocannabinoid receptors. The FDA has even approved several cannabis-based treatments for loss of appetite or nausea related to HIV/AIDS and cancer.
Research is beginning to show that cannabis is also effective for chronic pain. Patients taking cannabis extracts often report better pain reduction than people taking placebos. There is also evidence that using cannabis can help reduce a person’s dependence on opioids for pain control.
Mental Health Benefits of Cannabis
Cannabis can help more than just physical symptoms. Early studies suggest that cannabis is useful for many people who live with PTSD. Specifically, people who use cannabis may have fewer PTSD-related nightmares than those who don’t.
Cannabis can also help reduce anxiety, whether or not you have an anxiety disorder. The cannabinoid CBD has been shown to help people feel less anxious. Linalool, a terpene found in lavender and cannabis, can also help relax people and reduce anxiety.
Take Control of Your Health
Cannabis is a great way to improve your health in many cases. Just like with any health concern, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor if you have questions about using cannabis for health reasons. Just remember to ask questions, start slow, and remember that your health should always be your number one concern.