For thousands of years people have used cannabis for a variety of reasons – socially, medically, and spiritually. Historical records show that some of the social reasons include a cannabis-seed dessert by ancient Romans at banquets to induce a good feeling. Ancient Indians used cannabis at weddings to ensure good luck and as a symbol of hospitality. Indians and the ancient Chinese also used cannabis for medical reasons including arthritis and pain management.
The World Health Organization (WHO) lists marijuana as the most popular recreational drug. The difference between marijuana and other recreational drugs is that doctors believe that it has medical benefits. Health is defined by WHO as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” The quality of life is just as important as the absence of disease.
Today people use marijuana socially to relax, concentrate, and enjoy life more. Many people say that they use it as a part of activities that include listening to music, watching movies, writing, painting, having sex, eating and doing chores. It improves the quality of life.
People using medical marijuana use it to improve their quality of life, too. Cannabis contains the active chemicals cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD doesn’t have any associated high with use and is considered useful for administration to children. Medical uses of CBD include treatment of schizophrenia and epilepsy.
THC is associated with the high people experience. THC affects the central nervous system creating a euphoric feeling and blocking pain signals, thus it is considered beneficial in treating chronic and neuropathic pain.
It is also used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). THC has been shown to temporarily impair memory and while that would be considered a problem in some situations it is a therapeutic benefit for PTSD patients. Not only does it help patients to temporarily forget painful memories it also helps relieve other symptoms such as flashbacks and nightmares.
Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy often experience issues with nausea, vomiting and weight loss. The munchies associated with marijuana is a clearly a benefit in such cases. THC is an appetite stimulant.
Other medical benefits of marijuana include relief of symptoms associated with asthma, HIV, multiple sclerosis, insomnia, and glaucoma. As research continues it is important to remember all the many ways that the recreational use of cannabis and medical use of marijuana compliment each other.