Health Pros and Cons of Weed (Infographic)
With all the latest hype about cannabis, its legal status, and its uses, you can’t help but wonder a bit about the pros and cons of weed for your body. Even if you’ve been an avid consumer, are you consuming it right? What is your body receiving by taking CBD and THC into your system? If you haven’t tried weed yet, should you? From all the news you’re getting, perhaps cannabis will do wonders for your well-being.
If you’re conflicted, that’s completely understandable. Medical marijuana is allowed under certain conditions only, but the demand for it is very high as it seems to work very well in practice while we’re waiting for more research to be approved. Despite the beneficial effects of weed, there are some adverse ones to be avoided.
To clarify all these questions, take a look at our cool and easy to understand infographic. Here’s what all of us should know about weed:
To Legalize Marijuana, or Not to Legalize…
If we look at the course of history, the first evidence of enjoying weed dates back centuries ago, whereas its prohibition was introduced only in 1937.
It all started with the Mexican Revolution in 1910. While marijuana was being used as a medicine for a long time, it slowly began to gain an ominous reputation by associating it with violence and danger. Eventually, the negative effects of weed were emphasized more and more until 1937 and the Marihuana Tax Act, the first law to criminalize marijuana. Followed by its ban from the US Pharmacopoeia, weed was completely removed from medical practices.
Recently, however, the public has shown a perked interest in CBD, THC, and terpenes. Step by step, with a bit of media support and word-of-mouth, the States have become more open to the legalization of weed and producing high-quality CBD oil. Not only for medical purposes but for recreational as well, with Washington and Colorado taking the lead and pronouncing marijuana legal in 2012.
So far, 33 states have legalized marijuana, though the rules and regulations do vary from state to state. At the moment, almost 70% of Americans are feeling supportive of cannabis legalization.
The Top Health Pros and Cons of Smoking Weed
In order to present you with the arguments for and against, we have decided to show you both the good and bad effects of smoking marijuana. Hardly anything is perfect in this world, and weed is no exception to this rule. The following will hopefully guide you through the advantages and downsides, so you can decide for yourself whether consuming marijuana would work for you.
10 Key Marijuana Benefits for Our Health
What we are giving you right now is just a glimpse of all the things marijuana could do for you, so you are entitled to a lot more if you start using it. Here is a brief preview of its powers:
1. Weed Helps to Get Off Drugs
Believe it or not, smoking marijuana helps reduce the tensions caused by drug abuse. For instance, it can reverse the consequences caused by heroin use for our brains. Legalizing marijuana would help a lot of people fight their demons simply because their brain would function better. 8 out of 10 doctors agree marijuana should be fully legalized.
CBD is especially useful here since it can undo the effects heroin has on cannabinoid receptors. By the way, the receptors are spread throughout our body, so the CBD effect is felt profoundly. In addition, this compound does wonders in reducing anxiety and cravings.
As a result, high-quality CBD oil is very much in demand.
Cannabis is also very useful in treating OUD (opioid use disorder), and there is potential for replacing opioids altogether someday because the plant does not generate so many side effects.
2. Benefits of Weed for Bone Health
If we take a look at recent studies, it appears that smoking marijuana should be prescribed to all patients who are recovering from fractures. Weed can help you strengthen your bones and speed up the healing process.
Trabecular bones will be especially grateful for the weed treatment, and they are vital for our health seeing as this is where blood cells are made.
3. Multiple Defenses Against Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms
Those struggling with multiple sclerosis could provide quite a lot of insight into the discussion about the pros and cons of weed.
Firstly, stiffness and spasms are very much decreased if one includes cannabis in the treatment, and the muscle tone gets better as well. Marijuana has anti-inflammatory effects, which comes in handy, to say the least, in fighting the auto-inflammatory reaction of the immune system.
4. Dealing with Diabetes
If an average cannabis user is to take a HOMA-IR test, the results would be 17% lower than the usual response. Overall, Diabetes 2 is not frequent among marijuana consumers. Legalization of marijuana would enable a greater number of people to have a lower fasting insulin level—weed consumers have 16% lower fasting insulin levels than those who don’t.
5. Marijuana Fights Depression
In one study, 89% of the participants confirmed weed helped them reduce the symptoms. Marijuana has such power over depression, anxiety, and insomnia that its endocannabinoid signaling mimics common antidepressants, but without the problematic side effects.
6. Medical Marijuana Benefits for Treating Dementia
This is where THC comes under focus, especially if applied in the early stages when it prevents cell death. Agitation and aggression are very much decreased. So, does weed kill brain cells when you smoke it? Not in this case. The effect of THC keeps the cells safe and sound.
7. ADHD Disorder Gets Controlled with Cannabis
Weed can act in two ways when fighting the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. First, it treats nausea and insomnia, common for ADHD. Secondly, more severe (and opposing) symptoms of ADHD are reduced, too, such as depression and hyperactivity.
8. Weed Makes the Pain Go Away
One of the medical benefits that marijuana is famous for is its pain relieving properties. Those suffering from chronic pain wonder why is marijuana illegal when it gives them pain relief without the annoying side effects of common painkillers. Weed works wonders for different types of pain, from digestive and nociceptive to chronic pain. Over 60% of patients use their medical marijuana to this purpose, sometimes even in the form of THC-free gummies.
9. Marijuana Against Migraines
Speaking of pain, there’s no headache like a migraine headache, and only those suffering from it know just how unpredictable and controlling it may be. It is more common in women—18% of women suffer from it, as opposed to 9% of men. Anti-inflammatory effects of weed really help treat neurogenic inflammation, and they prevent the attacks as well.
10. Cancer Treatment and Cannabis
Cancer patients are perhaps the most responsible for weed’s good reputation. It helps them fight back nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. Moreover, the benefits of marijuana include increased appetite, and maintaining a healthy weight is one of the challenges for cancer patients. Also, studies show a reduction of pain, numbness, and weakness.
And now, let’s take a look at the other side of the coin.
10 Known Side Effects of Weed Consumption
Although weed possesses has some undeniable health benefits, it does come with a few downsides as well. Here are the most common ones:
1. Potential Addiction
Even though marijuana is not considered addictive per se, around 30% of weed consumers may develop some kind of cannabis use disorder (CUD). Regular and long-term use can make us too accustomed to some of the marijuana effects, and an abrupt stop may result in withdrawal symptoms such as headache, shakiness, extreme sweating, insomnia, and stomach pain.
2. Cognitive Skills at Risk
Chronic marijuana consumers may suffer from memory impairment. The brain could endure some damage in the form of decreased neural efficiency called SME (Subsequent Memory Effect). Does marijuana kill brain cells in this case? It’s hard to put it bluntly, but the motoric skills are at risk as well because weed makes changes to corticostriatal networks responsible for motor learning and control.
3. Weed Is Bad for Your Oral Health
One of the consequences of smoking weed that you may experience is dry mouth, which is a risk factor for developing cavities and gum disease. Smoking cannabis is oftentimes associated with mouth and neck cancer, too, while leukoplakia (a precancerous lesion) develops often.
4. Side Effects of Weed Cause Breathing Problems
Similarly to regular cigarette smoking, a joint can harm your lungs. Smoke is smoke, after all, and marijuana smoke contains ammonia and hydrogen cyanide among other dangerous chemicals. What’s more, some ingredients in marijuana smoke are even more concentrated than in ordinary tobacco smoke. Large air sacks that diminish your lung capacity can appear in the lungs as a consequence of smoking weed, too.
5. Marijuana Is Not Good for Your Heart
On the one hand, weed is used for relaxation. On the other, recreational weed can cause tachycardia, dilated blood vessels, and overall make our beloved pump work harder than it is supposed to. To sum up, weed is not recommended for patients with a history of heart disease.
6. Do Not Smoke Weed During Pregnancy
There’s a number of reasons for this. Regardless of the fact that weed tends to reduce nausea, pregnant women are not advised to use it. Some of the most harmful effects of smoking weed while pregnant include the low birth weight of the newborn baby, their cognitive damage, emotional disorders, and reduced ability to play or pay attention.
7. THC in Cannabis Causes Paranoia
The “bad boy” THC owes its notorious reputation precisely to this feature. In a new study, THC seems to be the main culprit for sensory perception and paranoid thoughts. Half of the participants using cannabis complained about paranoia, while only 30% of the placebo group had similar objections.
8. Weed Consumers Risk Schizophrenia
One of the biggest arguments in the pros and cons of weed discussions is that prolonged and heavy use of marijuana can lead to schizophrenia. This too is blamed on THC, as it is known to encourage emotional withdrawal, blunted affect, and impairment of motoric skills.
9. Cannabis Lovers Have Low Testosterone
Whoever is trying to conceive should rethink their cannabis consuming habits. It can have an impact on sperm concentration. For example, regular marijuana use was connected to a decrease in sperm concentration of 28%, and if it was combined with other recreational drugs, the percentage was as high as 52%. Other research disagrees, but it reports cannabis can cause erectile dysfunction.
10. Weed Side Effects and Testicular Cancer
The statistics show cannabis can help develop an aggressive form of testicular cancer that occurs in younger men. Regular weed smokers are two times more likely to become ill with the disease. Heavy marijuana use can disrupt the hormonal balance, which can contribute to forming cancerous cells.
The Bottom Line
Is weed bad for you or not? The answer is it could be both. Marijuana possesses a lot of qualities which work together. Although it has become almost as common as drinking alcohol or sipping green tea, it’s wise to use weed in moderation too. Good deals on cannabis make the consumption all the more appealing.
You should consult with your doctor before you pay a visit to the local dispensary and be open about any health issues you may have. Also, deciding on the different ways to consume marijuana is important (vaping is safer than smoking).
In the end, the pros and cons of weed turn out to be quite personal. You decide if and how you are going to use it, and your body and mind will react to it in a way that is unique to you. Marijuana is not a gateway drug, though it is mildly addictive, nor is it a dangerous drug. It is not an instant kit for turning you into a criminal either. Weed is powerful medicine and has been that way for thousands of years. Just be careful to use it in moderation the same way you would with other stimulants.