How marijuana can assist the disabled to achieve a higher quality of life

Published May 10, 2019 09:43 a.m. ET
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

With cannabis research at an all-time high thanks to marijuana legalization across many parts of the world, there is no better time to be alive than right now as a user of either recreational or medical marijuana. As scientists and specialists from all corners of the globe delve even further into the human endocannabinoid system, we are now learning that there are a lot more for benefits that can be obtained through consuming marijuana or more specifically cannabinoids, than what so many users initially expected. Cannabis naturally produces an array of medicinal cannabinoids that can help to alleviate day to day stress and pain in all species that are equipped with an endocannabinoid system. This specially designed bunch of receptors is meant to work in combination with naturally produced cannabinoids that our bodies make to regulate things we feel like stress, pain, and mood.

There are a couple of different aspects that are critical to point out here, as far as most recent cannabis research releases, and what they mean for all people who have difficulty managing typical bodily processes. Not every person who is disabled will experience pain, and not all of those that do will endure the same severity of symptoms. Many of the reasons that medical marijuana is such an incredible tool for many people with disabilities is the powerful active cannabinoids that are known to alleviate swelling, inflammation, and pain. The second is thanks to these elements natural ability to regulate other disorders and symptoms that are so commonly felt by those who face challenging barriers in their day to day lives.

Many researchers are now beginning to believe that the majority of cannabis consumers are self-medicating for some of the many reasons listed below without even realizing it. Statistically, a marijuana smoker is just as likely to experience depression, anxiety, pain, and more that are all gently alleviated with a portioned dose of cannabinoids. Much of this list is entirely relatable to many who have no disability at all because healthy and regular everyday people also struggle with other inner demons that are difficult to manage. Here are just a few of the reasons that cannabis consumption can assist the disabled in leading a better quality of life.

1. Spasticity

This symptom currently plagues more than twelve million people around the world and is a common side effect of conditions such as cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, brain damage, stroke, encephalitis, meningitis, adrenoleukodystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and phenylketonuria. Numerous cannabis research articles show that those who tried cannabis in combination with their regular medications felt a reduction in spasticity of anywhere from 20%-70%.

2. Chronic pain

Though we now know that cannabis is capable of soothing symptoms that go far beyond pain, even today medical marijuana is most often prescribed for chronic pain issues. There have been hundreds of studies conducted to date that show the efficacy of cannabis to equate to an average of a 74% reduction in the severity of symptoms in patients who are diagnosed with conditions like headaches, migraines, back pain, arthritis, neuropathy, shingles, fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis. Since an individual’s pain levels are also heavily influenced by appetite, amount of sleep, stress, and other factors listed here, cannabis does so much more than just treat the pain. It also helps to balance and regulate the entire system.

3. Inflammation

Inflammation is the body’s natural response to something going wrong, and it will generally surface sometime after an injury. Sometimes our bodies have difficulty in managing the stimuli that have been interpreted by the body as something harmful, which results in a wide variety of conditions including myositis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, eczema, vasculitis, ankylosing spondylitis, and systemic lupus. The cannabinoids after marijuana consumption are absorbed into the bloodstream where they eventually interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors while calms the bodies irregular response.

4. Depression

Depressive disorders are most commonly known for their ability to make a person feel overwhelmingly sad, angry, worthless, and leads to a lack of desire to partake in typical daily activities and hobbies that they would otherwise enjoy. This is one of the most influential reasons behind marijuana suddenly being recommended to those with disabilities. The truth is that almost anyone including those without a diagnose could benefit greatly from the introduction of cannabinoids into their daily routine. Cannabis has an uncanny ability to soothe, relax, distress, and uplift in a gentle and easy to control way.

5. Anxiety

Almost 20% of all adults will experience a problem with anxiety at some point or another in their lives, and for those who are currently battling a medical prognosis or symptoms, that chance increases by 2x the amount. It is estimated that somewhere around 40% of people with disabilities battle with anxiety regularly. The cannabinoids that are found in pot plants can alleviate this effect, with average cannabis research results showing an average 60% decrease in symptoms after the introduction of medical marijuana.

6. Mood

Our bodies are sort of like a computer that depends on regular interaction and instruction to perform as needed. Unfortunately, some people are unable to regulate their day to day mood which can adversely impact their overall quality of life. Thankfully the powerful cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant works in the same way that our naturally produced chemicals should, by triggering a release of hormones that can help to uplift a person’s mood and improve their activity over a day.

7. Appetite

If you have ever been involved with marijuana use or cannabis culture, then you likely already know about the overpowering urge to stuff your face after a good smoking session. When you lose the desire to eat, it can be difficult to urge yourself to get much needed vitamins and nutrients which can be essential to the success of treatment. Our endocannabinoid system is believed to be primarily responsible for appetite, and a lack of naturally produced cannabinoids is often the root of the issue. After cannabis has been consumed, the elements interact with the bodies receptors to trigger a release of chemical induces hunger which can be especially helpful for those with colitis, skin infection, chronic liver disease, hepatitis, HIV, dementia, meningitis, pneumonia, anorexia, hypothyroidism, heart failure, chronic and liver disease.

8. Nausea

Vomiting or at least wanting to is a common symptom of several different kinds of physical conditions such as motion sickness, gallbladder disease, intense pain, medication, infection, overeating, heart attack, brain tumor, ulcers, cancer, gastroparesis, bulimia, appendicitis, and bowel obstruction. It can also be brought on for other than known triggers like smells and tastes. Cannabis research so far has shown promising results in this department with clinical patients reporting an average decrease in severity and frequency of nausea by anywhere from 31%-84%.

9. Tumor shrinking

Though this one is cancer specific and even more restricted by the different types of cancer that cannabinoids have shown to shrink, both THC and CBD have shown promise in clinical research trials that were conducted on rats. For those who don’t experience a decrease in the size of the cancerous tissue, there are the additional benefits of counteracting the symptoms of more traditional treatments like chemotherapy or radiation.

10. Safety

Though not all disabilities are visible, the majority leave people with difficulty in managing typical everyday tasks. Marijuana will not impair motor function or other skills in the same way that alcohol and other mind-altering substances do and is a much safer alternative for those who are most vulnerable to falls or other injuries. It is also entirely natural and non-toxic which makes it impossible to overdose on, and safe to experiment with.

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