By John Levy
People opposed to cannabis legalization seem to think that puffing on a joint turns people into red-eyed, unemployable psychopaths hell-bent on destroying their lives with weed. Is it true? Is cannabis bad for you? Now that the herb is legal in several states for personal or medical use, scientists finally have the freedom to study marijuana and the effects it has on the human body.
Their results are frankly astonishing. Every day, new evidence gives people ever more reasons to smoke pot, and it is now clear that doing so has several very interesting health benefits. Here are just a few:
1. Smoking pot can prevent obesity and help you lose weight
You may have a hard time believing that stoners can lose weight, especially after watching one get the munchies and devour a large-family-sized pizza in one sitting. However, the fact is that pot smokers are less likely to become obese than those who do not smoke weed, and these findings come from a study published in the journal Obesity.
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Scientists from the Conference of Quebec University Health Centers evaluated 700 adult participants between the ages of 18- and 74-years. They found that those using marijuana had significantly lower body mass index scores, which is an indication of good health. Those with low BMIs have less body fat and their risk for diabetes is notably lower.
2. Cannabis actually improves respiratory function
Marijuana is not as bad for our lungs as we have falsely believed. In reality, pot smokers have better lung function than both tobacco puffers and non-smokers combined. Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that pot smokers actually “train” their lungs to be more efficient by controlling inhalation and taking huge drags of their joints.
3. Weed makes you more creative
Many creative smoke pot to give them inspiration. Back in 2012, a study published in Consciousness and Cognition found that cannabis enhances creativity, at least in terms of language. According to the researchers, “We investigated the effects of cannabis smoked naturalistically on schizotypy and divergent thinking, a measure of creativity.”
The team tested 160 participants for this study. On the first day, they were all completely sober. On another day, they were all high on marijuana. Results showed a significant increase in verbal fluency amongst low creative, which rose almost to the same level as high creative. Anecdotal evidence abounds too, and most are already familiar with the creative effects of marijuana.
4. Pot improves athletic performance
After noting the sheer number of professional athletes crediting cannabis for increased recovery rates and performance, Gordy Megroz from Outside conducted a study of his own. Although his experiment was not particularly scientific, he definitely noticed improved treadmill performance and less discomfort after a session of heavy squats.
In his own words, Gordy said, “I do a heavy squat session while high, which would normally leave me sore for two days, but I am surprisingly fresh 24-hours later. Even when not stoned, other aches and pains seem to dissipate, too. Studies have shown that the drug has an anti-inflammatory effect, which is one reason why medical marijuana is so prevalent.” Because of federal illegality, studies are ongoing.
5. Marijuana kills cancer cells
The U.S. government admitted that cannabis shrinks cancer cells. It says, on the official government website, that marijuana clearly destroys cancer cells in the laboratory, but that this evidence is exclusive to mice studies. As for humans, the site says, “There is not enough evidence to recommend that patients use cannabis as a treatment for cancer-related symptoms or side effects of cancer therapy.”
6. Cannabis is much safer than alcohol
Marijuana is actually the safest ‘available’ drug. Published in the journal Scientific Reports, one study found it 114 times less dangerous than alcohol. The study’s authors spent an exorbitant amount of time analyzing the effects of cannabis, alcohol, crystal meth, tobacco, ecstasy, cocaine, and heroin, and found weed to be the safest of them all.
7. Smoking pot can treat opioid addiction
A recent study discovered that smoking pot helps people quit harmful opioid drugs, including heroin and prescription medications. Scientists from Columbia University studied patients receiving treatment for opioid addiction. They found those smoking pot were sleeping much better, feeling less anxious, and were more able to complete their treatment.
They also found that administering dronabinol to patients helps them handle the withdrawal process easier and relieves them of many associated symptoms. Dronabinol consists of THC, which is the active ingredient in marijuana. Additionally, opioid-related fatalities are much lower in states where recreational cannabis is legal.
As new evidence emerges, it is becoming increasingly clear that marijuana is good for human health. People have a myriad of very good reasons to smoke pot, and the above-mentioned points are only a few of them. As with everything in life, it is important to use weed responsibly and wisely to get the maximum benefit from it. If you use it cautiously and in moderation, and no harm will ever come to you.