Often associated with hungry teenagers, the marijuana plant is one of the oldest plants known to humans, dating back over 5000 years. As old as it is, scientists are just now starting to understand all the health benefits of the drug. With qualities that improve both physical and mental health here are the six ways cannabis can build immunity:
Consciousness & Cannabis
Far from the munchies eating couch potatoes, many of those who smoke regularly begin to grow more conscious of their body in general. Anecdotal information tells us many people who partake in smoking weed, come to have a higher appreciation for their body.
THC, the compound largely responsible for the psychoactive effects in marijuana is known to create an awareness in certain people that can lead to better health outcomes in healthy eating, exercise and other positive outcomes.
COVID-19 & Cannabis
With the world currently embroiled in the COVID19 crisis researchers at the University of Calgary, in western Canada have found a surprising link between COVID and cannabis. Known for the scratchy lungs smoking weed can give, researchers believe that the anti inflammatory effects of specific cannabinoid agents.
The study points to a specific terpene known as caryophyllene, as the major benefit against inflammatory cytokine, the agent involved in covid’s respiratory severity. For the health conscious smoker the study even goes further into what strains to use. The study at Pathways Research states:
‘“Cannabis sativa, especially one high in the anti-inflammatory cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD), has been proposed to modulate gene expression and anti-inflammatory properties”
While research is still in its infancy scientists are excited as cannabis has been known to be anti-inflammatory, and using it against COVID can be a major tool in the fight against the pandemics’ worst effects.
Cancer & Cannabis
The use of cannabis in cancer patients is a growing form of treatment as many use the drug to treat both the effects of cancer, through the death of cancer cells, and by treating the effects of chemotherapy, like nausea or loss of appetite. With studies still in their infancy, cannabinoids within marijuana have been shown to connect to cancer cells in animals, they can reduce or eliminate cancer cells altogether, in patients cannabis oils have been shown to reduce terminal diagnoses.
A toxin itself, chemotherapy poisons cancer cells to get rid of them, but in doing that the drug also causes deleterious effects like headaches, nausea and loss of appetite. According to a study by WebMD 82% of oncologists believe cannabis should be used to alleviate the drawbacks of chemotherapy, bringing back mood and fitness to patients, who due to treatment, may be in pain. With improved responses to chemo many patients immune systems work better to fight any virus.
‘Feel good, live good’
The use of cannabis is strongly associated with its CBD compound that causes mentally relaxing effects, known to alleviate depression & anxiety in certain people. Weed can regulate & normalize serotonin production through the central nervous system, it is that act that increases the mood of the user. Lowered negative moods like anxiety & depression are important in building proper immune responses.
Opioids & Cannabis
Used as a pain reliever cannabis is quickly overtaking opioids as the go to for relief. Beyond the increased risk of drug abuse with opiates like morphine, patients that move away from opiods to cannabis also alleviate pressures on the immune system. Exogenous opioids such as morphine and fentanyl have been found to impair the function of macrophages, natural killer cells and T-cells and to weaken the gut barrier in animal studies. In epidemiological studies, high doses and the initiation of opioid therapy for non-malignant pain have been correlated with a higher risk of infectious diseases such as pneumonia.
Switching to marijuana alleviates much of the pain opioids do, and have less delirious effects on human immune systems, making it a worthwhile switch for some.
Cells & Cannabis
In the fight against HIV & other diseases scientists are learning cannabis plays an important role.
In several studies heavy marijuana use was linked to increased white blood cell count. While getting a count too high may be negative, in many patients with HIV cannabis is seen as a possible supplement to strengthen the immune system. Along with anti inflammatory properties, cannabis use in people with HIV has shown to improve outcomes by increasing white blood cells. Increased white blood cells create antibody markers that allow the immune response to properly kill foreign agents.
As marijuana becomes legal across the United States, and abroad, more scientific studies can be done, and there is much more we can learn from cannabis. These are just six different ways cannabis can help immunity, there are many positive, and negative effects of cannabis use, the best thing to do is stay up to date. See you at the snacks aisle!