There was a time, just a few years ago, when I found myself in a great deal of pain. I had torn my hip joint and was experiencing major anxiety from my business. I was desperate to try anything no matter how “woo woo” it sounded, because I was not getting the relief I needed from western medicine. One of the options I came across was cannabis.

Now, this was before it became legal in California. You had to get a doctor’s note to buy it, and I was skeptical. I did my research and was amazed by what I found. There were studies on Cannabis for stress reduction, pain relief, injury recover, and even ways it could slow down the progression of certain diseases. But would it actually work? It sure did for me.

If you have never bought Cannabis before, these days you can actually go to a dispensary and learn all about the different kinds and potency levels from staff who can make recommendations to suit your personal needs. My personal favorites in the San Diego area are Golden State Greens and Urbn Leaf, which is like the Nordstrom of marijuana.

Every body is different, and you should always talk to a doctor before starting any treatment or pain management program, but if you’re curious about cannabis as an option, read on for a quick primer on ways it could help.

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Cannabis for Stress Reduction

This is probably the most popular reason Cannabis is used today. Cannabis contains a psychoactive component called THC, which causes a natural euphoric state often known as “the high”.

As with anything, too much will actually cause anxiety, but a study by the University of Illinois of Chicago found that using low doses effectively relieves stress.

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Cannabis for Pain Relief  

According to Medical News Today, Marijuana can actually help ease pain. It does this by binding to receptors in the nerves and muscles, whether it’s pain from arthritis or PMS.

For use as a natural pain reliever, cannabis can be smoked, vaped, or applied as a topical salve. As an added bonus, swapping cannabis for pain pills will help you preserve your gut health.

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Cannabis for Insomnia

If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, the U.S. National Library of Medicine found that cannabis can help your mind relax, resulting in a deeper sleep.

There are two kinds of Cannabis: Sativa, which is known for its energizing properties, and Indica, which is known for its relaxation properties. As you might guess, Indica is best for promoting deep sleep.

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Cannabis for Injuries

If you are suffering from an injury or are recovering from a challenging workout, the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research found that it not only can help treat the pain, but also can reduce muscle spasticity and even aid in the healing of bone.

While THC was found to increase the bone stiffness and force, CBD (the non-psychoactive component) was found to stimulate bone-building cells. This type of research is fairly progressive, but is being explored by some of the leading scientists in Cannabis today, including the man who first discovered THC.

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Cannabis and Disease Management

While Cannabis is not a cure, it has been found to ease symptoms like nausea, vomiting and appetite loss in HIV and cancer patients, according to the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.

Other studies continue to explore potential medicinal uses for the plant with Dr. Moises Garcia Arencibia, Professor of Cell Biology, investigating ways it could help improve motor and non-motor skills in Parkinson’s patients, and Microbiologist, Dr. Sanchez from Compultense University of Madrid, Spain, conducting research on how cannabis may even help to slow down and even kill the growth of cancer cells.

If you are considering cannabis as part of your treatment plan, talk to your doctor, do your research, and keep and open mind. Scientists have only just begun to scratch the surface of the ways this plant may be able to help.

Hero image: LPETTET.

Original version of this article published on December 8, 2018.

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