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How to Use Medical Marijuana for a Healthier Lifestyle

Ruth Lemon
Ruth Lemon - Operations Manager

Sep 29 2020 - 5 min read

Medical marijuana can be used to treat the symptoms from a spectrum of medical problems. From cancer to depression, PTSD to HIV/AIDS, the potential in this little plant is incredible. Leafwell actually calls cannabis a pharmacy in a plant. Not only is it highly versatile because of the hundreds of chemicals found inside, each of which offering a nuanced way to treat a condition or symptom, but the dosing can be tailored to your needs.

Marijuana can deliver incredible results when the dosing is right, for people suffering from any number of medical conditions. And because the dosing is so versatile, medical marijuana is becoming increasingly popular in the wellness space where people are looking for natural ways to improve health and lifestyle. Medical marijuana offers the opportunity to ditch over the counter pills and use naturally occurring chemicals which work in harmony with our bodies own chemical system to deliver better, healthy lifestyles.

Why Marijuana is Healthier than Prescribed Medicine

Medical marijuana is often considered ‘healthier’ than medicine prescribed by doctors because it works with our bodies’ natural systems. Our bodies have an Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which produces cannabinoids just like the cannabinoids which are found in cannabis. Anandamide (the “joy” or “bliss” compound) is like a natural version of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

This means that our bodies are much more receptive and responsive to the chemicals which enter our bodies from marijuana compared to the man-made chemicals in medication prescribed by a doctor.

Pills often come with negative side effects, which are a physical manifestation of how our bodies are unable to cope with their strength. Medical marijuana doesn’t cause side effects like this because our bodies are more able to process and break down the chemicals because they are similar to the cannabinoids we produce naturally. You can read more about the Endocannabinoid System here.

How Medical Marijuana May Improve Health

Medical marijuana programs are no longer limited to those suffering from cancer or chemotherapy side effects. There is a general consensus across states with an MMJ program that medical marijuana can offer a wide range of medicinal benefits and they are not all necessarily for a ‘serious’ illness. Instead, cannabis can be used to improve our overall health and wellbeing.

Read on to find out more about a few of the most common issues people seek to improve using medical marijuana.

Sleep and Medical Marijuana

Whether you are a chronic insomniac or are struggling to get to sleep every now and then, medical marijuana can help you to get a restful night. Sleep is key for our overall health and wellness. Being tired leads to us feeling run down and can make our bodies more vulnerable to illnesses. Getting a good night’s sleep allows our bodies to rest and recharge, so we wake up refreshed and ready to face the day. Regular bouts of bad sleep can lead to worsening chronic pain, weight gain and diabetes.

Interrupted sleep patterns can be very detrimental to a person’s mental health as well as their physical health. A good night’s sleep will lead to a happier and healthier lifestyle. Cannabis contains over 100 cannabinoids and 200 terpenes, which can be dosed according to what each individual seeks from this medication.

Of interest to people who have problems with their sleep is Cannabinol (CBN), which is sometimes called the Sleepy Cannabinoid. Cannabinol works well with THC and terpenes like myrcene, linalool and humulene to treat insomnia and helps to guarantee a restful night.

Sleep; REM sleep; deep sleep. An artist illustration of dreaming during REM sleep.

Pain and Inflammation and Medical Marijuana

In most states, an applicant can get a Medical Marijuana Card for chronic pain conditions. This is because marijuana is a known anti-inflammatory, reducing swelling and relieving pain as a result. This pain could stem from arthritis as well as any number of chronic pain causes such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Or perhaps you’re suffering from a one-off sports injury. Whatever is causing you pain, medical marijuana can help.

When our bodies hurt, we move them less. We know that a sedentary lifestyle is generally unhealthy, particularly for long periods of time. Therefore, if medical marijuana is able to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation and get our bodies moving once more, it is a great way to improve your overall wellness and encourage a healthier lifestyle. After all, most people find that their mood improves after exercise because of the endorphins released when we work out. Two birds with one stone!

Digestive Problems and Medical Marijuana

Diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Diseases and other gut conditions including Crohn’s Disease is on the rise. Modern diets, which can be full of processed and standardized foodstuffs, can wreak havoc on our gut microbiome. People suffering from IBDs and other medical conditions which impact their digestion find their lives impacted in myriad ways. Firstly, their capacity to enjoy their day to day life is made much harder. Going out of the house to public spaces where toilet facilities are not easily accessible becomes a problem. Eating out at restaurants can be extremely difficult if not almost impossible.

Digestive problems are not only physical problems but can negatively affect people’s mental health as well because their ability to enjoy life becomes challenged. Early research into medical marijuana for bowel problems has been very promising with symptoms being minimised or even eliminated for many participants in research projects.

There are many cannabinoid receptors in the gut, second only to the brain and spinal column. Activating cannabinoid receptors within the gut inhibits peristalsis and gastric acid secretion and enhances food intake, on top of reducing the inflammation associated with IBDs.

Mental Health and Medical Marijuana

Marijuana has a reputation for making its users zen and chill. It’s one of the most common assumptions when we hear the word ‘stoner’. By correctly dosing marijuana, the positive effects of feeling more relaxed can be enjoyed without compromising the user’s cognitive capacity. Those suffering from anxiety and depression often enjoy a significant improvement in their mood and a reduced level of anxiety when using cannabis.

In general, THC should be avoided by people suffering with their mental health, although it can be used in small doses. Those with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia ought to avoid using THC. Low doses of THC can help beat stress, whereas using higher doses can prompt anxiety and paranoia. Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is antipsychotic in low doses, but psychoactive in higher doses. Compared to THC’s more sedative effects, THCV can have a more “up” or “energetic” effect, which could make it particularly useful for depression.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is much more effective for reducing anxiety. Many people come to medical cannabis after being dissatisfied with prescription drugs which either don’t work, have negative side effects or are so powerful as to numb out every emotion, good or bad. Marijuana doesn’t do that, and its versatility allows users to dose according to what feels right for them.

In many states, you can get a Medical Marijuana Card for anxiety or depression. In fact, it’s the most common reason our physicians sign medical marijuana certifications for. This is partially because, alongside chronic pain and insomnia, anxiety and depression are a common side-effect of many other conditions.

Depression; cannabis for depression; medical condition; cannabinoids.

Don’t Smoke – Alternative, Healthier Consumption Methods

Everyone understands the impact smoking cigarettes have on our health. Smoking marijuana is less harmful than tobacco but still has a negative impact on our lungs. Therefore, if you’re looking to use medical marijuana for a healthier lifestyle, we recommend you try some alternative consumption methods.

Most medical marijuana users do not consume through smoking. Instead, they may choose use some of the following options which are considered healthier:

  • Tinctures
  • Oils
  • Vape pens
  • Infused products
  • Topicals
  • Salves
  • Soaps
  • Cosmetics
  • Edibles – tip: avoid edibles with high sugar content to ensure they are healthy. We’ve got a great recipe for healthy pot brownies!
  • Pills or capsules
  • Wax, shatter, budder
  • Sprays
  • Transdermal patches

Using Medical Marijuana Legally

Remember, you’ll need a Medical Marijuana Card to legally buy cannabis in most states. Even in states which have legalized marijuana use, we recommend you obtain a Medical Marijuana Card because this provides you access to higher quality products, as well as more reasonable possession limits, the ability to grow your own cannabis, and greater legal protections in some states.

The marijuana available in licensed dispensaries is generally correctly labeled and more stringently monitored which means you are better able to dose, vital when using medical marijuana for a healthier lifestyle.

Find out if you’re eligible for a Medical Marijuana Card in your state today and begin your application to see a Leafwell medical marijuana doctor online.

Written by
Ruth Lemon
Ruth Lemon - Operations Manager

Ruth Lemon has worked in Cambodia and Australia, gaining experience in the non-profit sector, education and international development, and digital marketing. New to the cannabis sector, Ruth is helping Leafwell to scale without compromising the customer experience and seeks to create a frictionless customer journey. She now lives in the UK with her rescued Cambodian cat and believes Leafwell is improving access to and understanding of a valuable medical alternative.

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