Benefits of Cannabis
When it comes to cannabis, we are only beginning to truly understand this plant. Inside every cannabis plant are hundreds of potent compounds with unique therapeutic potential. There is so much for us to learn from the cannabis plant, and this list will only expand in the coming years as more research illuminates the world of weed.
1. Alleviates Stress & Muscle Tension
Some would say there are few things better in this world for alleviating stress than some good cannabis. Adding to the mental relaxation that cannabis produces, it also helps melt away our physical tensions. Of the cannabinoids inside the cannabis plant, THC is the primary driver of this health benefit.
3. Anti-Inflammatory Power
While THC gets all the credit, it is one of many amazing compounds inside the cannabis plant. Combined, cannabinoids demonstrate remarkable anti-inflammatory properties. By using cannabis, we can help our body use inflammation the right way, without going overboard and causing more harm than good.
4. Reduce Nausea and Vomiting After Chemotherapy
Numerous studies have demonstrated that cannabinoids can help improve nausea and vomiting that results from chemotherapy. This is one of those benefits that we all hope never to discover for ourselves.
5. Pain Management
People suffering from various persistent pain problems have found the benefits of cannabis to outweigh every other option they’ve tried.
6. Mental Health Management
In recent years, there has been growing interest in studying medical cannabis and mental disorders. Topics have spanned various human conditions, from anxiety and depression to schizophrenia and Alzheimer`s disease. Overall, these studies are too small and too few to draw conclusions. That said, cannabis has been shown to help alleviate several symptoms associated with mental disorders.
7. Body Weight Management
While this one may sound a bit counter-intuitive, hear us out. Researchers decided to find out whether cannabis consumers eat more (due to the munchies) and thus develop a higher body mass index (BMI). These researchers were shocked to find out that cannabis consumers do eat more calories, but they weigh less. In fact, large population studies demonstrated the consistent finding that cannabis consumers, on average, have a lower BMI than non-consumers.
8. The Many Benefits of CBD
While THC is a beautiful compound, we think CBD also deserves a bit of time in the spotlight. CBD is a potent cannabinoid capable of some excellent health benefits. CBD has been shown to be anti-inflammatory, it reduces anxiety, and it even reduces seizures. All of this happens without any euphoria. So there is no "high" or impairment when CBD is used by itself. When used alongside THC, CBD is usually more effective, and it helps take the edge off by reducing the odds of unpleasant side effects from THC.
It Only Works Because of Our Endocannabinoid System
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is a complex network of receptors and enzymes in the body that works to maintain a state of internal balance (homeostasis), enabling all systems and organs to function optimally together. It is responsible for regulating functions such as sleep, appetite, inflammation, mood, pain sensation, and more. It is activated by cannabinoids, which are natural compounds produced by our own bodies. When the ECS is functioning properly, it helps the body stay balanced and healthy and is considered to be the 'Master System'.
Though most people aren’t aware that the ECS even exists, it’s important to understand that it has a major role in several processes within the human body. This system makes its own cannabinoids called endocannabinoids! (endo = internal) In fact, when we get sick and medicate with phytocannabinoids (phyto = plant) in cannabis, it’s because the system has a deficiency, which cannabis can treat. This is why cannabis also works well for treating emotional and mental imbalances. Each time you have an ailment or condition, whether it’s the common cold or cancer, it’s likely that this is a result of an instability or deficiency within the endocannabinoid system.
Cannabis isn’t just for sick people. You have an endocannabinoid system, and it’s running on empty. Just like a vitamin D deficiency can be restored by taking vitamin D pills, an endocannabinoid deficiency can be treated by using cannabis, CBD, or other terpenes. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is your largest neurotransmitter system and regulates dopamine, serotonin, and all your other neurotransmitters.
As a coach, helping you understand the ECS and how it works is key to helping you reach your health and wellbeing goals.
Works like a lock and key system between cannabinoid receptors and cannabinoids.
When a cannabinoid or key binds to the receptor or lock, it triggers a chemical reaction in the cell that changes the message that the cell is sending, which can help you feel better.
This system "turns on" only when it is needed.
We may produce too many endocannabinoids, or our receptors may be too few or unavailable, or maybe it's our enzymes that are the culprits. Either way, the tone of your ECS may be poor.
Cannabis like compounds that we produce naturally, internally (endo). These act likes keys.
Phytocannabinoids (plant) are very similar.
Cellular receptors - they receive, they act like locks. We know of two receptors that are unique to our ECS.
Cannabinoid Receptor 1 (CB1) and Cannabinoid Receptor 2 (CB2)
The role of enzymes is to create endocannabinoids and when the job is done they break them down.
ECS A Deeper Dive
People with chronic illnesses may be cannabinoid deficient, meaning their bodies do not produce enough of their own endocannabinoids to balance the ECS. Or perhaps the required enzymes are not present, or the receptors that receive the cannabinoid may not be functioning. That’s where cannabis comes to the rescue. We can use cannabinoids from cannabis, called phytocannabinoids, as a supplement and support for our Endocannabinoid system.
According to the National Institutes of Health, people have used marijuana, or cannabis, to treat their ailments for at least 3,000 years.
Michelle Ross, PhD, author of Vitamin Weed states, “The cluster of diseases related to acquired clinical endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome is related to stress. Many stress-related disorders have no known cause. With no molecular mechanism previously attributed to these disorders, there were no effective pharmaceutical treatments for patients who suffer from them, and doctors did not take them seriously."
"Finally, patients can breathe a sigh of relief. It makes sense that a deficiency in the most potent neurotransmitter system that regulates all the other neurotransmitter systems would cause such a myriad of symptoms that would be hard to treat with pharmaceuticals that only target one neurotransmitter at a time.”
There are two primary cannabinoid receptors within the ECS called CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are found in the brain, spinal cord, lungs, vascular system, muscles, GI tract and reproductive organs. CB2 receptors are found in the spleen, endocrine system, reproductive system, bones and skin. Both CB1 and CB2 receptors are found in the immune system, liver, bone marrow and pancreas. This list is continuing to grow with on-going research.
The body naturally makes its own cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids, that fit into the CB1 and CB2 receptors, these include anandamide (the bliss molecule) and 2-AG. Phytocannabinoids (plant-derived cannabinoids) have a similar molecular structure to endocannabinoids. The cannabis plant contains an abundance of phytocannabinoids such as THC, CBD, CBC, and CBG. When consumed, they too can trigger reactions via CB1 and CB2 receptors. The title of either receptor correlates to the types of chemicals it can bind to. The phytocannabinoid THC has an affinity for CB1, while CBD, CBC, and CBG show a stronger preference for CB2 receptors. It is through this process that cannabis offers significant medical benefits by allowing the body to naturally fight a wide variety of different diseases and conditions.
Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency was a theory posited by Dr. Russo back in 2001, in which he theorized that low endocannabinoid levels could be behind a range of chronic conditions such as IBS, fibromyalgia, migraines, and other treatment-resistant syndromes. Dr. Russo suggested that because these conditions are all developed over time rather than congenitally, they could be a result of disturbances to the ECS. This also means there’s a possibility of reversing them, and the medicine plant cannabis can hold the answer.
Many people have benefited from cannabis as an aid for
Addressing chronic pain
improving sleep quality
Managing multiple sclerosis spasticity
Nausea and vomiting
Inflammatory bowel disease
... and more
This amazing plant contains not just cannabinoids, but terpenes and flavonoids as well, which bring their own special brand of magic to the medicine. Most terpenes are anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antifungal, and act as antioxidants and they all have other therapeutic benefits as well. They can interact with the endocannabinoid system, and bind with other receptors throughout the body. The bioavailability of cannabinoids can be increased because of these terpenes, they can alter how permeable the blood-brain barrier and skin barriers are making the medicine more effective.
Dr. Ethan Russo has popularized the 'entourage effect' - which is what happens when we consume “whole-plant” medicine rather than isolated compounds. This theory states that all the components within the plant work synergistically to help us feel relief. Think about extracting vitamin C from a vegetable (isolate) as opposed to consuming the actual vegetable (entourage).
In addition to supporting the ECS with cannabis, we can also support the ECS with our lifestyle choices, including eliminating toxins, eating real food, managing stress, moving more, and better sleep habits.
As amazing as this plant medicine is, and it is much safer than alcohol or pharmaceuticals etc., there are still some cautions that must be considered. This is where a cannabis coach, like me, can help. I can provide you with the guidance and assurances you need. Plus my skills as an experienced yoga teacher (movement) along with my HearthMath training (stress), and Mindfulness Meditation Guide (peace), I offer you a fully comprehensive program for a truly transformational experience.
If you are curious about cannabis and how it can help you, get in touch! I would be honoured to help you in your quest for better health, happiness and laughter.