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Five Reasons Cannabis is What You Need in Your Preventive Healthcare Toolbox

Lydia K. RN

Preventing brain tissue injury. Mitigating heart attack damage. Building stronger bones. The latest research strongly suggests that cannabis is the ultimate preventive healthcare.

No one enjoys being sick. But, it turns out “a joint a day keeps the doctor away” may replace the old adage. New evidence suggests that cannabis is a powerful prophylactic remedy to help prevent a myriad of illnesses. Here are five of the top ways cannabis is the queen of preventive healthcare:

Information on cancer prevention is all over the internet. This makes it quite hard to draw out fact from the fiction. But, one sure way to find the truth is to pick what scientific research backs.

A study conducted in 2012, on lab animals, found that treatment with CBD reduced the likelihood of developing colon cancer following exposure to carcinogens. A meta analysis, conducted in California in 2013, revealed that bladder cancer rates in male patients were 45% lower among cannabis users. CBD has also been found to be the only outside agent to regulate Id-1 cells in breast cancer cells and stop their metastasis.

Several studies have corroborated the finding that THC prevents the growth of tumors and can even lead to tumor shrinkage as it kills cancer cells.  Definitely more research needs to be carried out on humans to establish the role of cannabis in preventing specific types of cancer, but preliminary findings are very encouraging.

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CBD Reduces the Risk for Diabetes and Obesity

Studies show that cannabis users have a lower risk for developing obesity, which may seem contrary to the held perception of ‘stoners’ craving high calorie munchies. In spite of cannabis being an appetite stimulant, it also speeds up metabolism, meaning that you will burn more calories than a non-consumer. The same hormone, ghrelin, that makes you feel hungry after taking cannabis, also works to speed up your metabolism.

Research has shown that regular consumers will have a reduced a lower body mass index and smaller waist circumference compared to non users; this significantly reduces the risk for obesity, diabetes and other related diseases. A 2011 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology revealed that obesity prevalence was about 33% lower among cannabis users, in spite of higher calorie consumption. CBD prevents obesity by promoting the conversion of white fat into weight reducing brown fat. CBD also regulates the production of insulin in the body.

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Cannabis: Preventive Healthcare for Heart Disease

Atherosclerosis, a chronic inflammatory disorder that results in the accumulation of fat/plaque deposits in major vessels, eventually hinders proper blood flow into the heart. This occurs as a result of injuries to the arteries. High blood pressure, infection, or amino acid accumulation cause these injuries. These injuries trigger an inflammatory process that causes the formation of atherosclerotic lesions in the vessels.

Anandamide, one of the endogenous cannabinoids, decreases this inflammatory process by acting on the CB2 receptors. This receptor is also stimulated by phytocannabinoids. A 2005 animal study on animals revealed that orally administered CBD effectively slowed down the progression of atherosclerosis.

Cannabinoids Protect the Brain from Injury and Degeneration

Both THC and CBD have been shown to be neuroprotective because they reduce glutamate toxicity. Glutamate is a compound in the brain. It stimulates the activity of brain nerve cells. When overstimulated, it causes the nerve cells to fire continuously to the point of causing apoptosis or cell death. Cannabis counteracts this action, when taken regularly, and in moderation.

Aside from this, cannabis will also prevent degenerative diseases of the brain by stimulating neurogenesis. As we age, we tend to slow down on the generation of new brain cells. Studies have revealed that cannabis promotes adult neurogenesis.  Cannabinoids have also been shown to prevent other nerve-related diseases, such as neuropathy and Alzheimer’s disease.

Finally, cannabinoids have proven to be neuroprotective in the event of injury or stroke. CBD is a potent anti-inflammatory molecule that, in the context of TBI, would reduce neuroinflammation of the brain tissue at both the site of injury and the immediate surrounding area.

Cannabinoids Protect Against Bone Disease

Osteoporosis is a nightmare for millions of old people around the globe. When your bones start to lose mass, you run the risk of developing pathological fractures at even the slightest of injuries.

CBD may be great preventive healthcare. It hinders the process of bone degeneration by inhibiting the enzyme that destroys bone-building compounds in the body. It further promotes osteogenesis, which is the process of generation of new bone cells. This eventually aids in the healing of fractures and preventions of formation of new ones.

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Much of this research is preliminary. Still, it gives us hope, and points toward the need for further studies and human clinical trials. We might prove cannabis to be effective in preventive healthcare. If we do, then we should spare no coin in gathering conclusive evidence.

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Lydia Kariuki

RN, Expert medical writer who is passionate about cannabis!

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