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More people are consuming cannabis than ever before. Yet, when it comes to the overall effects of cannabis on your health, there is a lot of misleading information out there. Unfortunately, thanks to decades of prohibition worldwide, cannabis has been long understudied. It is difficult to say with any certainty how the herb affects long-term health. However, new research gives insight into what the plant does to your brain and body. Here’s an overview of the effects of weed on your health:

Positive effects of weed on your health

Believe it or not, cannabis has many positive effects on your health. They range from improvements to quality of life to the potential treatment of debilitating diseases. In the short-run, cannabis can provide instant relief from various ailments, such as chronic stress and pain. Here are a few of the short-term effects of cannabis on your health:

1. Relaxation

There’s nothing nicer than plopping down on the sofa with a bowl after a tiring workday. One of the most well known and immediate effects of marijuana is relaxation. The moment you breathe in cannabis vapor, a flood of plant-based anti-anxiety compounds called cannabinoids travel through your blood and into your brain.

There are two primary cannabinoids in cannabis worth mentioning. The first is psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which provides the classic cannabis “high”. The second is cannabidiol (CBD), which does not cause a high. Studies have shown that both cannabis compounds can ease anxiety and promote a positive sense of well-being. Within minutes of smoking, you’ll be able to breathe a heavy sigh of relief and start smiling again.

2. Creativity
There’s a reason why so many famous artists smoked weed. Marijuana can make you more creative. When you smoke herb, activity in a certain part of your brain increases. That region is the frontal lobe. In fact, within 30 minutes of smoking, this region is fully activated in your brain. This is the same region of the brain that is responsible for critical thinking and creativity.

Cannabis also increases your ability to connect abstract thoughts. This ability is thought to be a prerequisite to creative thinking. In the art world, this is the epiphany. The moment everything seems to come together. For cannabis users, the light bulb of ideas seems to click on more frequently while you’re under the influence.

3. Pain relief
When you feel pain, your brain is sending you a distress call. It’s screaming: “HELLO! There’s something wrong here! Fix it!” You feel these distress calls as pain because of chemical signals sent by cells, communicated through nerves, and translated by the brain.

Natural compounds in cannabis cut in, disrupting the signals. THC and CBD interact with your immune cells by giving them instructions on what to communicate. When you consume cannabis, those chemical pain signals decrease. This lets you go about your day in peace.

The herb’s power as a natural analgesic works when it’s consumed orally or inhaled. It also works well when it’s applied topically. You can even make cannabis topicals yourself.

4. Sleep

A heavy indica will put you to sleep fast and help you sleep more deeply and longer. Cannabinoids like THC induce sleep. At the same time, they also extend your time in deep sleep. Deep sleep happens during the third and fourth sleep cycles. During deep sleep, your body takes the time to repair itself and clear toxins from the brain. Studies have linked poor deep sleep with a variety of health conditions, including Alzheimer’s Disease.

5. Bliss
It may seem odd, but the effects of cannabis and the effects of exercise are really quite similar. After you workout, bliss-inducing chemicals like dopamine, anandamide, and serotonin are released in the brain. These compounds make you feel amazing. They’re the reason behind the “runner’s high” and why exercise is thought to treat depression.

When you use cannabis, both dopamine and serotonin are released. Further, THC takes the place of anandamide in the body, causing sensations of euphoria. That’s right: the “stoner’s high” is similar to a supercharged version of the “runner’s high.” This herb helps you feel blissful and full of joy.

6. Appetite

Great food is one of the finest simple pleasures in life. We think it deserves to be appreciated. Weed can turn a simple meal into a smorgasbord of blissful flavors and aromas. Cannabis releases excess dopamine, which makes you feel pleasure. It also mimics anandamide, which makes you feel happy and hungry. All in all, this herb makes you love the experience of eating.

When you smoke weed, a couple of things happen that make you love your food. First, marijuana can help turn down the chatter and distraction in your brain. This allows you to give full attention to what’s presently in front of you. Second, cannabis tells your body to secrete hormones that make your food smell and taste better to you.

What do you get when you combine those two facts? An intensely focused and utterly blissful eating experience. Pretty much as close to a foodgasm as you’re going to get.

Negative effects of weed on your health

Nothing in life is perfect. As with all good things, consuming cannabis comes with some costs. As a responsible consumer, it’s up to you to decide whether or not the benefits are worth the harms. From person to person, that answer will be different.

Fortunately, though, many of the harms caused by cannabis can be reduced to a minimal impact. Many of the negative effects of marijuana come from the way that you consume the herb. Because of this fact, we’ve outlined what those effects are and how to minimize them in the sections below.

1. Paranoia

Many of us have experienced it. You smoke a little too much herb and all of a sudden you’re freaking out because you think you look a little too stoned for the public eye. When it comes to cannabis and anxiety, imagine an inverted bell curve on a graph. You smoke a little bit, your anxiety level drops down. You smoke too much of an incredible high-THC strain, and that anxiety can shoot right back up again.

For more information on why cannabis eases anxiety but causes paranoia, check out the full article here.

2. Disorientation

Don’t forget: THC is psychoactive. When you consume activated THC, you are taking a psychoactive substance. For newbie consumers, this can feel weird. When you are disoriented, your sense of place and purpose may seem bunk. You may feel like you’re not quite living in reality, or that you’re watching a show from afar. This feeling can be very uncomfortable for some people.

To others? The cerebral disorientation is enjoyable. Filled with laughter, a sense of peace, and a brighter outlook on the world. As you become more accustomed to cannabis, this disorientation subsides. Studies have even found that regular medical users are able to drive and function more or less on-par with the average non-smoking consumer. Others find that they have an easier time focusing on work and getting things done.

The truth is, this experience is different for everyone. If cannabis makes you uncomfortable, you may want to switch to a low-THC strain or avoid the plant. If you find that the benefits outweigh the harms? More power to you. You have the power, freedom, and ability to do what’s right for you.

3. Racing heart

For up to three hours after smoking, cannabis may increase heart rate Your heart is affected the most within the first hour of smoking the herb. In fact, a Boston study found that your risk of having a heart attack is 5 times that of a non-smoker during the first hour.

But don’t freak out! This number is only marginally higher than your risk of having a heart attack while having sex, or getting strenuous exercise. That risk also declines quite rapidly within the second and third hours after smoking. By comparison, your likelihood of having a heart attack while on cocaine is 25 times higher than average.

However, this racing heart may be troubling to those who have pre-existing heart conditions.Bottom line: if you feel like your heart is beating a little too fast, don’t risk it. Try not to exert yourself. Call an emergency medical professional if you experience intense pain like you’re having a heart attack. This racing heart occurs with high-THC strains.

Short-term side effects caused by smoking 

1. Mucus

Heat, plant particles, and bits of residual pesticides or fertilizers all have an impact on your health when you smoke herb. When you take a lighter to a joint, that hot smoke only has a second or two to cool down before you breathe it into your body. All that heat is irritating to the tissues in your throat and lungs.

Research shows that cannabis can cause symptoms of chronic bronchitis, as well as reversible microscopic and visible damage to large airways. As lung tissues become inflamed and irritated, they may begin to secrete mucus. Mucus helps your body flush those hot, ashy plant particles that you’ve just inhaled. This mucus may give you an uncomfortable cough. The coughing will usually end in a minute or two.

The lungs heal and symptoms go away if you abstain from the herb for a while or switch to a gentler consumption method, like vaporization.

2. Allergy

Some people may have an allergic reaction to cannabis. This reaction could be to the cannabis plant itself, or something that happened to hitch a ride on your herb. A flower that hasn’t been properly flushed of fertilizers, pesticides, or miticides may increase your chances of having an allergic reaction. If you’re lucky enough to live in a legal state, opt for cannabis that has been tested and found pesticide-free.

Cannabis that is contaminated with molds can also have a negative effect on your health. For some, molds and mildews may trigger asthma symptoms, chest pain, or contribute to an allergy attack. To avoid molds and mildews, it’s best to purchase cannabis from laboratory tested sources whenever possible.

Some people may also be sensitive to the smoke from rolling papers. When you smoke a joint, blunt, or spliff, you’re also smoking the paper that your weed is wrapped in. While it may seem obvious, it’s easy to forget that any ink or bleaching on the rolling paper may cause allergic reactions. The risk of this happening can be minimized by switching up your smoking method.

3. Headache

Just like mucus and allergic reactions, how you smoke plays a major role in whether or not you develop a headache. Unless you’re using raw rolling paper, rolling papers of any kind can have irritating chemicals in them. These chemicals are free radicals that can damage your cells and cause side effects.

Residual pesticides and fertilizers can also cause nasty headaches. Even medical cannabis samples taken from the Los Angeles Area tested positive for over 1600 times the recommended levels of residual pesticides. It’s statistics like this that make cannabis testing so important. If you can, do opt for buying products that have been tested. If you’re growing yourself, consult a local testing lab about how to properly flush your plants before harvest.

Credit : herb.co

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