For thousands of years, people in different cultures and countries have found medicinal uses for marijuana. The psychoactive and medicinal compound in the plant, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), affects several areas of the brain, giving users a sense of ‘euphoria’ or ‘high.’ In recent years, however, researchers have discovered that THC may have more positive effects besides just making you high. Marijuana is now being studied for its potential to treat various mental disorders, including PTSD, anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder.
Today, medical marijuana is used to treat several conditions, including chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), epilepsy, and nausea caused by chemotherapy. While many doctors agree that marijuana can have therapeutic benefits, they are cautious about prescribing it. Some doctors, including my own, will not prescribe it, while others, such as some psychiatrists, will.
Marijuana Is a Brain Tonic
Marijuana has long been associated with increased creativity, and with new emerging research, scientists are learning more about the potential mental benefits of marijuana. It is a brain tonic, which is a term that describes drugs that increase brain activity. The mind-altering effects of marijuana come from THC, the psychoactive ingredient. THC works in the brain by binding to cannabinoid receptors. The binding of THC to these receptors creates changes in the brain and body.
Marijuana Is a Medicine
Marijuana is a Schedule I drug, meaning it is recognized (and highly restricted) as a medicinal drug. However, marijuana use is still illegal at the federal level, so patients who use it to treat severe health issues are routinely denied health insurance. This has prompted some states to begin legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Marijuana Has Great Antipsychotic Effects
If you have schizophrenia, marijuana may be the answer. Many studies have found that it can help reduce psychotic symptoms.
Marijuana Is a Great Anti-Inflammatory Drug
Marijuana is a plant. And a plant is a collection of chemical compounds called phytochemicals. You may have heard the term “phytonutrients” used before, but in simple terms, phytonutrients are nutrients found in plants and are vital to how plants work. And many of these phytonutrients are actually excellent for human health, and medicinally, they have a long history of use as anti-inflammatory drugs.
Marijuana Is a Sedative
Cannabis has been used as an anesthetic and sedative for centuries, but after some time, it fell out of favor. Today, marijuana is still used as a sedative, but CBD is the part of the plant that has garnered the most attention lately—and for a good reason. As a non-intoxicating ingredient, CBD is being studied for its potential benefits as a treatment for a variety of diseases and conditions, including anxiety, depression, insomnia, and more.
Marijuana Relieves Pain
Studies have proven that marijuana can help with anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Furthermore, it has anti-inflammatory properties, which may be used to help with the pain.
Marijuana Calms Anxiety
Studies suggest that cannabis can enhance certain mental health symptoms, such as anxiety. If you have anxiety, then you can likely find relief and benefit from medical cannabis.
Marijuana Is an Anti-Depressant
Marijuana can treat many health problems. Medicinal marijuana, specifically, has been used for seizures, epilepsy, PTSD, cancer, and chronic pain. It is also a natural antidepressant, according to some experts. People suffering from depression often turn to it as a solution. The anti-anxiety, sedative, and appetite-suppressing properties of marijuana make it an appealing option, particularly for patients suffering from chronic pain.
Can medicinal marijuana help your mental health? The short answer is yes. The long answer is yes—and no. Yes, because it can be beneficial in treating mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, and epilepsy. No, because it is not a cure-all on its own, and its benefits can vary depending on the dosage. The question of whether it can help with mental health conditions has been hotly debated.
Marijuana — whether marijuana or cannabis — can alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and bipolar disorder when consumed in states where it is legal. Evidence suggests that it offers potential benefits for people with diabetes, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. But more research is needed before doctors can confidently recommend marijuana for these conditions.