The effects of cannabis use on physical and mental healthFor many thousands of years, humans have been using marijuana. It has been used as a traditional form of medicine, used to cure ailments like gastric pain, headache, mental illness, among other things. Even those not suffering any illness or disease used the drug recreationally. But as modern times approached, tides turned and many people, particularly in positions of power, started to associate cannabis use with criminal activity. It took years of advocacy and scientific research to reverse that negative perception.

As more and more states and countries are slowly warming up to the idea of cannabis legalization for medical and recreational use, a lot more people are becoming curious about the drug. Even the scientific community is benefiting from this turn of events. Before, research about marijuana was nearly impossible; possession of the drug lands you in jail. Now that many areas around the world have lifted the ban, numerous research is underway to understand its many benefits to the body thoroughly.

Physical Effects

Anyone who has ever used marijuana before will know its impact on the body. After just a few minutes of inhaling the smoke, heart rate increases, the breathing passage relaxes and opens up, and the blood vessels in the eyes also enlarge, making them appear bloodshot, a common side effect of marijuana use.

Other obvious benefits of medical marijuana relate to digestion. Frequent users talk about getting the "munchies" or hunger associated with marijuana use. Cannabis helps to stimulate appetite and digestion. This is one reason why cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy are prescribed medical marijuana to help increase their food intake.

Cannabis compounds, particularly CBD, has known anti-inflammatory properties. What this means is that cannabis can be used to help manage pain, especially chronic pain. The process that causes pain is complicated and nuanced, but inflammation is one big part of it. The ability of cannabis to inhibit inflammation is excellent for pain management.

Mental Effects

On the molecular level, cannabis increases the dopamine release in the body. Dopamine is a known neurotransmitter whose effects include the feeling of being high and being relaxed. Dopamine also helps to increase your sensory perception.

THC, the active compound in cannabis that creates the feeling of being high also affects short term memory processing. It also impedes in how you process new information so judgment might be impaired. This is one reason anyone under the influence of cannabis should not drive or operate heavy machinery.

One positive effect that marijuana has on mental health is it decreases signs of anxiety or depression. These kinds of mental issues are related to a neurotransmitter imbalance in the brain, particularly dopamine. Cannabis has been shown to increase dopamine release in the body, many suffering from depression and anxiety have turned to cannabis for relief of its symptoms.


The effects of cannabis listed above are the result of preliminary studies. As more research institutions support cannabis research, we will only get a deeper understanding of the plant's effects in the overall health of the human body.

Author Bio:

Leanne Brooks, a passionate blogger and advocate of legalization of cannabis, adores expounding on the benefits of medical marijuanas. She is currently working with TheGreenAce, one of the best online dispensaries in Canada, which offers legal, safe access to high quality Medicinal Marijuana.