Cannabis feels like it is everywhere. The spread of legalizing states, CBD products at spas and gyms, even coffee shops, even products for pets. This revolution is needed, and in my opinion, this magical plant could change the way we treat ourselves and even the world. Sounding a little far reached? The ecological benefits of using cannabis for clothing, food, fuel, and more is outstanding as this plant requires very little water, grows easily (thus the name weed), and even puts nutrients back into the soil for more planting.
Regarding my own personal health journey, this plant has transformed my life. My condition, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, bombards me with multi-organ dysfunction and severe chronic pain of every kind. I don’t react well, or at all really, to pain killers and almost always come to have adverse reactions to my medications. I used to be on Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis medications, muscle relaxants, anti-histamines and for intense pain flares, anti-inflammatories and opium pain killers. The side effects were relentless and kept pouring in. At the beginning the meds worked, and they were necessary as I was in a severely incapacitated state and my health declining fast. The pharmaceuticals helped me get off my feet, but they weren’t sustainable. The side effects were concerning: mental cloudiness, forgetfulness, strange phantom sensations in my limbs, complete adverse reactions to my histamines wherein my anaphylactic reactions (which occurred daily at one point) were made worse the second I took an anti-histamines. I learned that even amongst my fellow mutant EDS patients, I was an anomaly, reacting particularly poorly to medications.
My lung specialist in Paris suggested I slowly go off of my medications and supplement them with cannabis. When I told how much cannabis helped for my pain, she suggested that in higher doses, it could replace the Parkinson’s and MS meds as they essentially did the same thing, with cannabis being safer and posing fewer side effects. This plant has also helped to balance my mood, my severe sugar cravings (brought about by imbalances due to nutrient absorption issues), my daily nausea, headaches, migraines, muscle and nerve pain and autonomic dysfunction. It has also healed my colitis, and I’ve heard the same occurence from friends with MS. And CBD oil has saved my from my adrenal flares wherein I collapse to the ground, unable to open my eyes do to sensory overload, rocking back and forth as it feels like a blade of white light pierces through my brain and thoughts. Sometimes these flares even manifest more like seizures with full body convulsions. One drop of CBD oil stops these flares in their tracks. Without CBD, they could last 20 minutes or an hour sometimes. This plant has truly transformed the quality of my life and saved me from the potentially damaging effects of pharmaceuticals that my body does not respond well to.
This is my personal story with cannabis, and I have heard countless others. The benefits of this plant far outweigh the few instances of aversion, especially for those with chronic illness. But it is also very important to cite that there are those whose bodies do not mix well with this plant. I’ve heard a few occurrences of people having allergic reactions to cannabis, sometimes serious reactions, or those who do not support it well. Every body is different.
I could go on for hours talking about the intricacies of the endocannibinoid system which is made to receive cannabis molecules, and the mechanisms of how cannabis helps to balance imbalances in cell communications, inflammatory responses and endless other actions in the body…It’s incredibly fascinating and we need more research above all. The potential of this plant to replace medications and offer new treatments is huge, and we need research in order to move forward.
In an effort to help share this message, here is my list of less known benefits of cannabis (although you might already know a handful of these):
Remember to alway consult a doctor when using cannabis to treat chronic illness and more serious conditions or before supplementing pharmaceuticals with cannabis treatments. While cannabis can benefit many people, it isn’t for everyone and could potentially pose adverse interactions with certain pre-existing conditions and medications.
Depression and anxiety treatment: Depression and anxiety can often be brought on by imbalanced brain chemical. The endocannibinoid system in the brain receives cannabis molecules, that help to rebalance these “misconnections” and re-establish healthy chemical levels and interactions. Serotonin imbalance? Cannabis can help stabilize those levels in some. Studies have even found that cannabis relieves symptoms of bi-polar disorder. (1) (2) (3) (4)
Neurological protector and Alzheimers treatment: Cannabis has been found to protect brain cells from damage and trauma (think concussions and even PTSD). Studies have also found cannabis to prevent the build up of amyloid proteins in the brain (widely recognized as a “cause” of dementia). Cannabis has also been found to treat visible symptoms of dementia in patients as well. (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14)
Spasmodic reactions and dystonia (seen in Parkinsons and MS): Cannabis can help treat autonomic dysfunction and spasmodic involuntary movements and shaking often seen in Parkinsons and MS. (15) (16) (17) (18) (19) (20)
Epilepsy: Cannabinoids, particularly CBD, is seen to alleviate epileptic episodes and grand mal seizures, and can even be used in place of traditional medications or when such medications fail to work. (21) (22) (23)
Blood pressure lowering: Cannabis can help lower arterial blood pressure. It can also alleviate the progression of glaucoma by lowering pressure inside the eyeball. But cession of cannabis use for chronic users can sometimes lead to a sudden, and temporary rise in blood pressure (24) (25) (26)
Inflammatory skin diseases: Due to its powerful anti-inflammatory effects, cannabis can be used to treat pain and irritation associated with conditions like eczema, psoriasis and allergic rash reactions. (33) (34) (35)
Irritable Bowel/Colitis/Crohns: Cannabis can help alleviate the symptoms of IBS, and inflammatory bowel diseases by combatting inflammatory responses in the gastro-intestinal tract. (40) (41) (42) (43) (44) (45)
Cancer treatment: Although we need much more research in this field, there have been miraculous effects of cannabis on the progression of many cancers from breast cancer, leukemia, brain tumors, lung cancer, bladder cancer and even pancreatic cancers. But we still don’t understand the mechanisms. Sometimes cannabis can offer miraculous cures and instantaneous remissions and other times it doesn’t work at all. (51) (52) (53) (54) (55) (56)
Libido boosting: Cannabis has been found to act as an aphrodisiac in both men and women (at appropriate doses). (57)
Addiction: CBD and THC offer incredible relief when detoxing from alcohol and drugs. They can help the body and brain transition away from addiction while alleviating symptoms of withdrawal. CBD has even been found to help people quit smoking. (58)