We know that cannabis is good for our souls, but what about our minds? Decades of government propaganda have drilled into our collective psyche the idea that pot kills brain cells; stoners lose motivation, becoming stupid, forgetful, and lazy.
The truth, after so many years, is finally coming to light. Not only is cannabis not the horrible, brain-destroying, rape and murder inducing gateway drug that we had been led to believe; it actually is good for our bodies, and especially our brains.
There are dozens of ways cannabis helps our bodies, with more being discovered every day. For our minds, specifically, there are several great things that cannabis can do.
1. Cannabis Promotes Neurogenesis
Research has proven cannabinoids cause new brain cells to grow; a process known as neurogenesis. The process of growing new brain cells, specifically in the hippocampus, explains why cannabis is so effective in treating mood disorders like depression, anxiety, and stress; these conditions are all related to a lack of adult neurogenesis.
2. Cannabis Fights Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease, disrupting memory, language, thinking, and reasoning. Early symptoms include irritability, anxiety, and depression; later stages can include sleep disturbances, outbursts, delusions, and hallucinations. Ironically, many of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s are similar to the false claims made for the effects of cannabis use on the human brain.
THC has been confirmed as a potent antioxidant with neuroprotective properties, directly affecting Alzheimer’s by cleaning away beta-amyloid “brain plaque” whose build-up is the primary cause of the disease.
Cannabis treatment is an effective course for other neurodegenerative diseases as well, including ALS, MS, and Parkinson’s.
3. Cannabis Prevents Brain Damage
Statistical rates of concussion damage to players in professional sports compared to admitted cannabis use show proof of the research that cannabis protects the brain against damage from trauma. It has been shown in laboratory studies to protect cognitive function and vital processes against injury, carbon monoxide poisoning, and stroke. Research even suggests that it could be used not only to recover from these incidents, but as a preventative; reducing damage and speeding recovery by use as a supplement for ongoing protection.
4. Cannabis Fights Brain Cancer
The pharmaceutical industry all but admits admits that cannabis helps fight cancer. In fact, it patented Marinol and Cesamet, synthetic versions of cannabinoids to use in conjunction with chemotherapy, to treat nausea and appetite loss. Cannabis has effectively been shown to attack the processes of tumor and cancer cells, while ignoring healthy cells. This combination therapy has dramatically devastating effects on the brain cancers, as well as other cancers.
5. Cannabis Fights Alcohol Damage To Brain
Cannabis’s neuroprotective capabilities have even been proven to reduce ethanol-induced cell death in the brain by up to 60%. That means that while social and binge drinkers may look down their noses at cannabis from their socially accepted standpoint, cannabis may actually be the best treatment for the devastating effects of long-term alcohol abuse.
6. Cannabis And Mental Functions
While excessive use of a mind altering substance can inhibit proficient complex motor fuctions, such as operating a motorized vehicle, studies are now showing that drivers under the influence of cannabis are actually safer than drivers using alcohol, and perhaps even drivers not under the influence at all.
Use of cannabis is now being shown in MRI’s to have no significant differences from control subjects on brain function, and its effects, even in long term heavy users are only temporary.
Cannabis has long been the muse for creative thinking in artists, musicians, writers, poets, and others. Science has proven that subjects using cannabis had faster and more far reaching, accurate mental association in word association and creative reasoning tests, by over double the score of control subjects. This showed not only were they more able to link associations in word groups, but faster able to recognize when no association was there.
7. Cannabis And Overall Mental Health
Study after study, conpounded with common knowledge, proves time and again that happier people live longer, healthier lives; they have faster recuperation times from illness, and greater endurance and performance of stress and adversity. Their overall positive outlook on life gives them better social skills and greater success in interpersonal tasks. If dietary supplements, excercise, meditation, and rest all act to affect our mood, then we should include cannabis as not just a safe medicine and more healthy recreational substance, but should incorporate it into our daily regimen, for positive mood and health.