For the last 100 years or so, people have been made to believe that cannabis is actually the devils lettuce. All the good health benefits that the ancients knew were thrown out of the window in favor of the addictive opiates that are loaded with dozens of side effects. Health, happiness and cannabis are three words that many believed could never exist on the same page ever since cannabis was labeled a schedule I drug by the federal government. If you are still stuck with that thought, then it is time to reconsider.
Mental health and happiness
Happiness is actually a mental state of well-being and it is characterized by pleasant emotions of contentment and joy. Mental disorders on the other hand are responsible for persistent feelings of sadness or being overly happy. These fluctuations of extreme happiness and sadness are witnessed in mental conditions like bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, PTSD, personality disorders, anxiety disorders and so forth. Since happiness depends on mental health and not money, it is obvious that anything that improves mental health improves individual level of happiness.
Cannabis and health
The health boosting benefits of cannabis have been known since ancient times especially in Central Asia where the plant originated from. Even today, extensive biological and chemical research on cannabis has found as many as 120 phytochemicals that include cannabinoids, flavonoids, anthocyanins and terpenes. It is because of this discovery that cannabis is increasingly being legalized for medicinal and recreational purposes across the U.S states.
The link between cannabis and happiness can be established through one link: Mental health. Can cannabis help with mental health? The answer is actually yes and no. Cannabis is a complex plant with a huge number of compounds that have different effects on humans. Of importance are two compounds CBD and THC. CBD or Cannabidiol is a cannabis derived cannabinoid that is used in medicinal marijuana thanks to its non-psychoactive nature and the absence of side effects that accompany the use of drugs like opioids. THC is however the main psychoactive compound in cannabis that is responsible for the high sensations that accompany the use of cannabis. Using high levels of THC can therefore worsen the symptoms of mental disorders.
The work and importance of CBD
CBD works by stimulating the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system regulates and balances many processes in the body, including immune response, homeostasis, appetite, memory and communication between cells. Medicinal cannabis in the form of CBD has been shown to have a broad spectrum of therapeutic properties, including antipsychotic, anxiolytic, immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective and pro-cognitive benefits in humans and preclinical disease models. There is also evidence that other phytochemicals of cannabis help to boost mental health and should be used together with CBD to provide the needed ‘entourage effect’.
Almost two thirds of U.S. states have legalized cannabis mainly for medicinal purposes. A number of happiness studies have shown that cannabis users are more satisfied, successful and socially conscious that the non-users. Many consumers were found to be highly educated, healthier, more social, more giving and spend more time outdoors for recreation. Although the definition of happiness is different for many people, it is clear that the above factors are the major contributors to happiness.