The Dalai Lama once stated that “the purpose of our lives is to be happy.”
Even John Clarke said that being “early to bed and early to rise, makes a man happy, wealthy, and wise.”
Now, while we can’t really attest to the whole wealthy bit, it is true that cannabis makes people happy, healthy, and wise.
So, we’re going with that twist of the quote.
Lately, it feels as though all of the things we love are on the chopping block. For example, eating red meat creates more greenhouse gasses than simply driving to work; if you eat gluten, you’ll feel ill for ages; and if you consume cannabis, you’ll become addicted and die.
We don’t argue against the first two, but that final popular assumption couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, cannabis is the secret to being happy, healthy, and wise.
But, how does cannabis do these things?
How Cannabis Makes People Happy, Healthy, and Wise
Many scientists, consumers, and even non-stoners would agree that people who consume cannabis are generally happier than those who don’t. This belief is prevalent throughout our society, but is there any truth to it?
The answer can be looked at from many different levels, from the mindset of the consumer to the physiological reactions within the body.
Cannabis Makes People Happy
Debunking the myths of the lazy, unmotivated stoner, a California study found that 20% of cannabis users had graduated college with a master’s, whereas it was only 12% for those who wouldn’t even consider taking a single puff.
Furthermore, nearly five in ten consumers from a Colorado survey stated they felt more satisfied with their life at present than they did a year prior, compared to only four in ten among those who don’t partake.
Healthier habits, increased social activity, and volunteerism were also higher among cannabis consumers.
Why is this?
For decades, it was believed that dopamine was behind the fact cannabis makes people happy.
But, in the early 1990s, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, the man who first identified and synthesized THC, discovered the neurotransmitter anandamide.
Seemingly able to produce a significantly heightened sense of happiness and euphoria, anandamide is often referred to as the “bliss molecule.”
As it turns out, this neurotransmitter is the one responsible for more than just euphoria. Anandamide also plays pivotal roles in memory, motivation, motor function, pain, hunger, fertility, and even possibly inhibiting cancer cell proliferation. But, because of the role it plays in the formation of new nerve cells, anandamide can serve as an anti-anxiety and antidepressant supplement.
Unfortunately, anandamide breaks down rather quickly in the body, so the state of euphoria only lasts for a couple of hours.
Such is life.
But, because the neurotransmitter is also an endocannabinoid (cannabinoids present within the body), it has a phytocannabinoid (cannabinoid present in the plant). Because of this, anandamide is naturally occurring in the body, it demonstrates a strong affinity for binding to the endocannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. It’s binding to the CB1 that causes euphoria, which is one way that cannabis makes people happy.
Given the fact THC and anandamide share similar properties, consuming cannabis will produce the euphoric effects associated with being “high.” When you smoke, dab, or vape, the THC hits your brain within seconds and starts acting on the brain’s neurons.
Like a perfect puzzle piece sliding into place, the THC tells your body to do several things. In this case, it creates that sense of euphoria.
Cannabis Makes People Healthy
Since the mid-1990s, cannabis legalization for medical purposes has spread across the country. In all that time, the benefits of cannabis have remained a bit hazy. Despite a mounting pile of research showing cannabis is beneficial for pain and muscle inflammation, many of the claims about other ailments being treated with cannabis have been based on anecdotal evidence and are not yet proven scientifically.
That being said, there have been solid findings of the benefits of cannabis consumption.
There are literally hundreds of chemical compounds present in cannabis, many of which are cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are able to provide relief for chronic pain because of their chemical structure.
The THC may help to temporarily relieve chronic pain by the way it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid receptors, reducing pain signaling and perception. Chronic pain from systemic inflammation, such as arthritis, may be alleviated with cannabis’ anti-inflammatory effects as well. CBD can help to stimulate immune response and attenuate pro-inflammatory proteins involved in pain signaling – cytokines.
Improved lung capacity
It may surprise you, but smoking cannabis may not adversely affect your lung capacity. In fact, a long-term study found cannabis actually increases lung capacity rather than damage it.
Aid in weight loss
Move on over, SlimFast. The newest weight-loss plan revolves around the thing you smoked out of an apple in high school. That’s right, many scientists are linking THC to weight loss.
People assume that cannabis users are going to be overweight because it stimulates appetite. However, that isn’t exactly accurate.
THC boosts metabolism over time, so even if you have raging munchies, the metabolic bump compensates for it. You don’t even need to be a huge stoner to lose those pounds as a one-time cannabis user still bumps their metabolism.
Evidence shows cannabis interacts with the CB1 receptor in the endocannabinoid system, which is the receptor that plays a key role in metabolism and hunger. High doses of THC increase metabolism while reducing energy storage, thereby creating a lower body mass index.
Do keep in mind that cannabis doesn’t just suddenly cause weight loss. But, scientists do believe it may help with some underlying factors that correlate to weight gain in many people. Much more research is still needed.
In addition to sloughing off pounds, THC may also improve the biome of the gut, which also greatly affects weight. Obesity correlates to higher levels of a bacterium called firmicutes, but lower levels of another bacterium, Bacteroides.
In a University of Calgary animal study, obese lab mice eating a high-calorie diet were administered THC. After the THC was introduced to their system, the gut bacteria reached homeostasis, and the mice ceased to gain weight.
All that being said, every individual is different, with different body composition and lifestyle. The effect cannabis has on one person’s weight may not be the same as another person’s.
Regulate and prevent diabetes
With the way cannabis affects insulin, it’s not surprising that cannabis can help regulate and prevent diabetes. Research by the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis (AAMC) has definitively linked cannabis to stabilized blood sugar levels, lowered blood pressure, and improved blood circulation.
The AAMC also suggests cannabis can help:
- Suppress arterial inflammation commonly associated with diabetes, a condition that can lead to cardiovascular disease.
- Prevent nerve inflammation and ease the pain of neuropathy by stimulating endocannabinoid receptors within the brain and the body.
- Lower blood pressure over a period of time, helping to reduce the risk of heart complications and other diabetes complications
- Keep blood vessels open for optimal circulation
- Relieve muscle cramping and gastrointestinal pain
- Can topically relieve neuropathic pain and sensitivity in hands and feet
Additionally, cannabinoids like THC have also been proven to reduce intraocular pressure (fluid pressure in the eyeball) a significant amount in people with glaucoma – an eye disease caused by conditions that severely limit blood flow to the eyeball, such as diabetic retinopathy.
Cannabinoids THCV and CBD have been shown to improve metabolism and blood sugar levels in both humans and animals with diabetes.
A 2016 study revealed THCV and CBD decrease blood sugar levels while simultaneously increasing insulin production in humans with Type 2 Diabetes.
Previously, lab mice have shown that cannabinoids bolstered metabolism, resulting in lowered cholesterol levels in the blood and reduced fat in the liver.
Finally, a 2017 study found cannabis use correlated to lower insulin resistance in numerous people with and without diabetes.
Inhibit cancerous tumor growth and kill cancerous cells
Researchers at Amity University detailed the effects of cannabinoids on different types of cancer, as well as cannabis’ anti-nausea, hunger-inducing, and pain-relieving properties.
Aside from treating the side effects of cancer medications, cannabis also shows promise in slowing the growth of cancerous tumors and even killing cancer cells in certain environments.
But, wait. There’s more!
Aside from its palliative effects, THC also shows potential in the treatment of cancerous growth, neurodegenerative diseases, and alcoholism.
Fight depression and stabilize mood
If you have been feeling depressed lately, you’re not alone. Approximately 17.3 million US adults have major depressive disorder in any given year.
This is a common mood disorder that is the leading cause of global disability. However, many people who have depression are unable to get the help they need. There are currently many treatments and therapies available – including the use of cannabis.
The consideration of medical cannabis as a treatment for depression is still in the early stages of development. At present, researchers state cannabis may restore balanced endocannabinoid function and mood stabilization.
University of Buffalo scientists have studied this in-depth, though the studies have been on animals and not humans. Still, they discovered chronic stress suppresses the brain’s ability to produce beneficial endocannabinoids, leading to depression.
Consuming cannabis makes people happy by restoring normal cannabinoid levels and function, thereby easing depressive symptoms.
Research on CBD has shown that it can help manage seizures, and there are currently ongoing studies to determine the effects of cannabis on people with epilepsy. There is also a cannabis-based medication for seizures, with more being developed.
Slow progression of Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is one of several caused by cognitive degeneration. As we get older, this degeneration is nearly impossible to avoid. However, the progression and onset can be slowed by cannabis’ endocannabinoids with anti-inflammatory properties. These combat the brain inflammation that causes Alzheimer’s disease.
Alleviate PTSD symptoms
PTSD doesn’t just affect those who have been to war, but rather any individual who has gone through significant trauma. Cannabis helps control the adrenaline surge and the resulting “fight or flight” response, preventing PTSD from going into overdrive.
Treat inflammatory bowel diseases
Those with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or irritable bowel syndrome can likely find a great deal of relief by using cannabis. THC and CBD are known to improve immune response while simultaneously interacting with cells that play a salient role in gut function. Cannabis keeps bacteria and other compounds at bay that cause gastrointestinal inflammation.
Reduce Parkinson’s disease tremors
Those with Parkinson’s disease can find relief for tremors, pain, and other symptoms through cannabis consumption.
A research study reported relief from pain (43.9% of participants) and muscle cramping (41.4%). Overall nine symptoms were alleviated, including akinesia and freezing, sleep disturbance, depression, anxiety, and restless leg syndrome (20%).
The last listed, but not the final, way cannabis makes people happy through health benefits is that it is far safer than alcohol and can be used to curb alcoholism.
Many find sobriety help by substituting alcohol for cannabis.
[ Related: Differences Between Stoners vs Drinkers ]
Cannabis Makes People Wise
Did you know that it’s hard for most people to stay focused for any serious length of time? In fact, a 2010 Harvard University study found the majority of people’s minds wander 47% of the time. So, how do you stay focused – especially with the responsibilities and obligations of daily life?
Cannabis can help.
But, what is it about cannabis that makes people so happy, healthy, and now wise? What is it that produces focus, clarity, and productivity?
Because cannabis is still federally illegal in the U.S., it’s not exactly easy for scientists to study the effects it has on humans in a controlled manner. While there have been a few studies done on cannabis and ADHD, there is a serious lack of formal research on how cannabis helps neurotypical individuals function throughout the day.
From what we do know about cannabinoids and terpenes and how they interact with the endocannabinoid system, there are some things to take into account as to why cannabis helps some people stay productive and makes it easier for them to learn new information.
Additionally, cannabis helps you to feel more focused because it decreases the impact of other symptoms, such as pain and stiffness. If a person feels less pain, whether it be mental or physical, because of their cannabis consumption, then they are going to feel more proficient at focusing on a task or on learning something.
The strains for productivity and focus greatly depend on your preference, body chemistry, and how you complete your work. Generally speaking, productivity and learning are associated with having mental and physical energy, so consuming a strain associated with energetic head highs would be ideal over a strain with an abundance of relaxing CBD.
There is also the entourage effect to consider, which is the ways in which cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids come together to result in a more intense and different type of high, ranging from euphoric and energetic to calming and sedating. So, the terpenes present in the strains have a lot to do with the effects.
The method of consumption also matters, given inhalation results in a more immediate, intense high while edibles require nearly two hours to take effect. For some individuals, such a delay would lead to further procrastination and an inability to focus.
Cannabis Makes People Happy…So Smoke Up!
Once you’ve found that perfect strain, it can be hard to stay away. You may even find yourself making excuses to take a dab here and there, or a bong rip now and then. But the good news is, there’s no need to make up any excuses for your sneaky seshes.
It has even been proven that cannabis makes people, healthy, and wise – meaning it can improve your overall quality of life (within moderation, of course)!
Does cannabis make you happy? Well, why not head on over to your favorite Tacoma dispensary! Check our menu for a large selection of cannabis products from the #1 dispensary in Tacoma!
Disclaimer: Marijuana has intoxicating effects and may be habit-forming. Smoking is hazardous to your health. There may be health risks associated with consumption of Marijuana. Marijuana, in any form, should not be used by individuals that are pregnant or breastfeeding. Marijuana is intended for use only by adults 21 and older. Keep out of reach of children. Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of this drug. This product may be unlawful outside of Washington State.