***Kiva Confections content related to both the effects of cannabis and the results of cannabis use is based upon general user experiences and testimony. This content should be considered anecdotal, and should not to be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult with a medical professional before adding or altering consumption of medication or medical-related activities. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Cannabis is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. ***
Until recently, mental health was swept under the carpet and never discussed publicly. Fortunately, it has now been significantly de-stigmatized; today, it is treated as important as physical health.
Recently, cannabis has been adopted as an effective treatment for mental health conditions. The abundance of studies on its effects has accelerated its legalization across many states.
Dissecting The Inner-Components Of Cannabis
Cannabis is a plant that belongs to the nettle family and has grown around the world for centuries. People use it for many reasons, but it is most commonly consumed to relieve stress.
Cannabis is typically available in two forms:
- Resin - A black-brown lump commonly referred to as hashish, ganja or bhang
- Herbal cannabis - Made with flowering tops and dried leaves, and commonly referred to as spliff, marijuana, grass and weed
Cannabis comes with varying strengths and advantages based on its form. For example, skunk cannabis is directly derived from the cannabis plant and contains active chemicals (THC). Hence, it has a stronger impact on the brain and a more positive effect on mental health.
When consumed, cannabis reaches the brain through the bloodstream and binds to the receptors in the brain. These receptors cause the cells to release 'happy' hormones and chemicals, making the user feel calm, happy and less stressed.
The two major components in cannabis responsible for creating the 'high' are:
The mind-altering effects that cannabis is known for are caused by THC. It is a molecule found in cannabis that helps alleviate pain and improve mood.
The concentration of THC in cannabis has increased by four times in the past few decades. When cannabis products with greater quantities of THC are consumed, it can result in unpleasant effects such as intoxication, physical discomfort and anxiety.
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is another molecule found in the cannabis plant. However, unlike THC, this molecule does not hinder cognitive function.
CBD has anti-inflammatory qualities and helps individuals to sleep better and manage pain and other mental health conditions. When studied in laboratory settings, CBD lowered the adverse effects of THC.
Cannabis is considered effective in managing the following:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Chronic pain
- Increased sexual wellness
- Substitute for alcohol
- To boost creativity
Positive Effects Of Cannabis On Mental Health
Cannabis is excellent for improving the brain's health by stimulating electrical activity. This produces anti-seizure effects that help patients struggling with epilepsy. The regular use of cannabis is also beneficial for individuals suffering from Dravet syndrome as it helps alleviate associated symptoms. Dravet syndrome causes repetitive, prolonged and lethal seizures. 1 in 5 children diagnosed with Dravet syndrome does not survive beyond the age of 20.
Patients of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome were made part of a study in which they were given cannabis to manage their symptoms. It was found that cannabis had a positive effect on their mental health and condition, encouraging doctors to introduce cannabis into the treatment.
Helps With Depression & Anxiety
Anxiety disorders have become more prevalent in modern lifestyles. It is mainly a result of the challenges of fast-paced routines, such as heavy workloads, tight schedules, social media and relationship issues.
The symptoms of depression and anxiety, particularly social anxiety, can be moderated with the consistent use of medicinal cannabis. When consumed, cannabis releases endorphins, alleviating mood and suppressing negative feelings. It also works to relieve apprehension often associated with social anxiety.
Sleep is an essential bodily function. With sufficient sleep, the cells in your body communicate more efficiently, and you think better and feel less bothered. Without sufficient or quality sleep, the body and mind suffer immediate and compounding side effects.
There may be nights when, although you go to bed on time, you end up staying awake because of insomnia, anxiety and stress. These can disrupt sleep patterns and affect mental and physical health in the long run.
Cannabis helps in managing and improving sleep so that your body has ample time to reset during the night. Cannabis induces feelings of calmness, causing you to sleep better.
If you are a light sleeper and experience disrupted sleep often, cannabis may help you improve sleep quality. Cannabis and its components, including CBD, have been linked to psychoactive effects on the body.
Cannabis has been found for some to reduce and even remove, the need for sleep aids including the use of prescription medication. In one study of monitored patients, (39%) were able to reduce or completely discontinue a prescription medication indicated for sleep.
Helps With PTSD
PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is a condition that results from a traumatizing experience people have had in their lives. This unpleasant experience leaves a significant impact on the brain, which means that the individual relives the trauma over and over again, in various ways, for an extended period of time.
Cannabis boosts serotonin levels in the brain, which significantly improves mood and alleviates symptoms such as nightmares, attacks and insomnia in PTSD patients. Controlled dosages can help patients carry on with the daily activities of life.
Lowers Stress Levels
Stress affects everyone at some point; however, too much stress can negatively affect one's mental and physical health. When you are stressed, your body goes into fight or flight mode causing the body to produce cortisol which is a stress hormone. It increases the blood pressure in the body, causing the pupils to dilate and the heart to accelerate its pace.
However, when cannabis products enter the bloodstream, bodily functions are better regulated and abnormal reactions such as pupil dilation, increased blood pressure and palpitations can be suppressed, lowering overall stress levels in the body.
Boosts Cognitive Abilities
The brain undergoes a degenerative process as we age, resulting in declining mental abilities. This is the reason we struggle with remembering things and can possibly develop dementia as we get older.
It is believed that one way to slow down the degenerative process and boost the brain's capabilities is by consuming cannabis. Not only does it have a therapeutic effect on the brain, but it also increases the ability of the brain to comprehend, learn and focus.
The reason for this is that cannabis contains anti-inflammatory properties, which, when consumed, help strengthen the brain and treat neuroinflammatory conditions. This helps to boost cognitive abilities, making your brain more robust and healthier.
Helps With Dementia
Studies have also shown that the use of cannabis plays a vital role in treating dementia due to its antipsychotic properties. It has been found that cannabis suppresses agitation and neuronal excitotoxicity as well as neuroinflammation, which can help reduce the development of Alzheimer's disease.
The Safe Way To Use Cannabis
Since its legalization, cannabis has been subjected to rigorous testing to assess its safety and impact on mental and physical well-being. This testing is to help users be confident that the cannabis products they consume are safe for human consumption. Testing cannabis products in labs also allows users to know how much THC and CBD a product contains.
When purchasing cannabis, always choose safely packaged products and clearly state the THC percentage. It is recommended to opt for products that contain an appropriate mix of CBD and THC to help avoid the negative impacts of cannabis. Remember that more potent products will result in stronger effects.
If you ingest THC, it must pass through the digestive system and liver before reaching the bloodstream. Hence, you must wait approximately two hours to feel the positive effects of cannabis on mental health. Of course, this depends on the kind of edible you consume, but most products peak at 2 hours and their effects can last up to 12 hours.
There is no denying that cannabis has positive effects on mental health, but consuming it in uncontrolled quantities can lead to unpleasant side effects, such as dizziness, nausea and heightened anxiety. Remember, as the high wears down, so do the euphoric feelings; therefore, consuming too much cannabis at a given moment may result in harmful effects.
Here are some effective ways to deal with the side effects of cannabis:
- Drink plenty of water
- Listen to your favorite playlist
- Lying down
- Take long, deliberate breaths through the nose
Cannabis Consumption Guidelines
The most effective way to use cannabis to boost mental health without experiencing any side effects is by avoiding early initiation of the product, at least until the age of 16. Moreover, when choosing cannabis products, try something with a low-potency THC or balanced THC-to-CBD balance.
Avoid using synthetic cannabinoids and combusted cannabis inhalation. It is not recommended to use cannabis every day or every other day as it can damage your health. Instead, choose nonsmoking methods as they are considered safer.
Moreover, if you are at high risk for health problems, do not consume cannabis products without first consulting with your medical provider. Always refrain from cannabis-impaired driving so that you are not a threat to yourself or those around you.
Keep in mind that using cannabis products to avoid confronting your feelings or as an alternative to psychiatric care is not recommended. Repeated use of mind-altering substances is not safe but as long as you are careful and enjoy the occasional use of cannabis, you should be able to enjoy its positive effects on mental health.
Oral cannabis products are the safest and most fun ways to consume cannabis. If you are 21 years or older, and in search of quality cannabis goods that you’ll absolutely love, check out our store to try a wide range of cannabis edibles.