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The Healing Benefits of Cannabis

Many cultures throughout the world have turned to cannabis for its healing powers. The oldest written record of cannabis use comes from the Chinese Empire in the year 2727 BCE. Back then, cannabis was a sacred ingredient used by shamans to diagnose and treat their patients. Cannabis was also used among intellectuals searching for inspiration and common laborers to ease their aches and pains while remaining functional throughout their day. Today, cannabis is revolutionizing modern medicine. Cannabis can now be used to treat eye disease, combat the effects of chemotherapy, and ease the withdrawal symptoms of alcohol and opiates.  Although many attach a negative stigma to cannabis, it has proven to have both physical and mental health benefits.

While many recognize cannabis as a healing agent for the mind and spirit because of its psychoactive effects, it also has legitimate physical benefits. For example, dispensaries like Midwest Compassion Center in Romeoville, Illinois sell a variety of cannabis strains that can be geared to help those who suffer from specific debilitating conditions. For those who suffer from epilepsy, high-CBD strains are recommended. This is because the brain’s cannabinoid system works to limit the onset and duration of seizures upon activation of cannabinoid receptors in the brain. For patients suffering from Crohn’s Disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disorder that affects the small intestine, the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis help reduce the swelling in the intestines and, in turn, reduce pain. These are real examples of how cannabis heals the human body in a positive way.

In the article Drugs, Healing, and the Expansion or Repression of Human Consciousness published in the journal of Contemporary Justice Review, Volume 10, 2007, Wendy Chapkis described the research done by WAMM, otherwise known as the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana, a medical marijuana cooperative in northern California, on cannabis. Her insightful research showed that the plants consciousness-altering properties are the most important part of its therapeutic value. For many patients that belong to WAMM, cannabis helps manage the symptoms that are associated with their debilitating condition.

One patient, Jon, remarked that cannabis “…lifts me up past whatever symptoms I have at the moment and creates this sense of wellness and well-being that allows me to just function very much the way I could before I was HIV positive.”

Cannabis helps individuals overcome many obstacles they face every day. In today’s age, many people are prescribed medication, like pain pills and muscle relaxers, that are associated with depression. An increasing number of patients are choosing cannabis over prescription pills.
Jon even says in his interview “…when I’m stoned, I’m able to just rise above it and press on. I love that. It’s a good thing. People who are well might not understand this. When you are really sick, it affects your desire to live.”

What’s significant of the WAMM studies is that patients often claimed that cannabis didn’t fully mask the pain of their condition, but rather it shifted their attitude toward the pain. This shows that cannabis isn’t just healing physical conditions, but it’s also healing the depression that is brought on from the debilitating condition. Those who thought they wouldn’t be able to perform their normal everyday tasks are now able to do so with the help of cannabis.

This is especially true for Richard, a 49-year-old epileptic. Richard said in his interview that “… using marijuana will let you somehow sideline that [pain]. You can take your mind off it. I call it kind of a tai chi for my head, a spiritual tai chi. My spirit lifts, I can taste again, and suddenly things around me are there to be noticed.”

Cannabis’s healing powers are truly immense. Those who need physical relief from their condition are discovering that cannabis also provides therapeutic relief. Some who never thought they would catch a break in their lives are now finding the comfort they’ve been searching for. Cannabis is proving to be an extremely effective alternative to prescription pills. Cannabis is shaping modern medicine, and as research continues to expand, opportunities to learn and educate others about its healing powers will increase.

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