After being considered an illegal substance for decades, experts are now reevaluating cannabis, both legally and culturally. This shift has led to new research seeking to better understand how cannabis impacts the body. As more states begin to legalize cannabis, it’s important to know the benefits of smoking weed —and what it might do for your health.
Health Benefits of Smoking Weed
The health benefits of cannabis are thought to come from two active components: Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). While only THC creates the traditional “high” effect, both have relaxing and pain-relieving effects on the brain.
While studies show that cannabis can offer a number of benefits, it can impact each person differently. Different strains may offer different levels of CBD or THC, which can impact the way it affects your body.
Here are a few of the health benefits of smoking weed.
1. Stress Relief
Depending on the dose, smoking cannabis can offer a relaxing and stress-relieving effect. One study found that a low dose of THC can reduce overall levels of stress and anxiety.
However, too high of a dose can create anxiety, paranoia, or a negative change in mood. Experts recommend taking a low dose to maximize the relaxing effect.
2. Relief of Chronic Pain
Cannabinoids can impact the way the brain accepts signals from the nervous system, reducing pain throughout the body. This makes cannabis a popular product to relieve the symptoms of conditions such as:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Nerve damage
- Back pain
3. Reduced Inflammation
The CBD in cannabis is also thought to reduce inflammation. Not only can this combat conditions like Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis, but it can also improve overall health.
4. Decreased Anxiety
Due to its relaxing effect, cannabis can lower levels of anxiety. In higher doses, it can even act as a sedative.
One study found that one benefit of smoking weed is that it may reduce levels of anxiety. However, repeated use doesn’t lead to a long-term reduction of symptoms, making cannabis a better tool for short-term relief.
5. Boost Creativity
Despite stereotypes about feeling “stoned” while high, cannabis has been linked to positive mental effects, including a boost in creativity. While short-term memory tends to be less effective while high, smoking cannabis can lead to an increase in the ability to come up with new ideas.
This creative ability may come from the increase of dopamine in the brain, lowering inhibitions and relaxing the body. This allows the mind to explore new ideas and perceptions.
6. Improves Sleep
The full-body relaxation from smoking cannabis can help improve the quality of sleep, including disorders like insomnia. It also disrupts the stages of REM, which can reduce nightmares brought on by PTSD.
Benefits of Smoking Cannabis
Whether for medical or recreational use, cannabis can relieve stress, reduce pain, and improve the overall quality of life. In addition to the health benefits, the relaxing effect and creative stimulation offer another benefit for regular cannabis smokers.