In times of turmoil and pain, people turn to different things: family, work, faith, friends, and recreation. Some are turning to a plant known as cannabis, or marijuana, to ease their emotional and physical pain. Although the results are mixed and opinions differ, cannabis is growing in both use and popularity throughout the world for recreational and medical use. Our guest, MariJayne, popular podcaster and cannabis educator, gave us some insights on the positive and negatives of cannabis use for mental and physical health. When MariJayne was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, she used cannabis to recapture her well-being and zest for life. Today, she is an advocate for the responsible and healthy use of what she calls the “power flower.” Here’s what we learned from MariJayne:
*The Couch Potato Pot Smoker Stereotype Isn’t always True. In movies, we often see the “stoner” characters who veges out on the couch, eating and smoking pot all day, with little motivation or desire to make anything of themselves. According to MariJayne, this type of person does exist, but they may have other psychological issues that contribute to their lack of motivation and passion in life—perhaps a difficult or abusive upbringing, a particular brain chemistry, or being around similar amotivational people. At the same time, MariJayne tells us that there are plenty of people who function well on cannabis and have successful careers and businesses. These individuals use marijuana as a relaxant or pick-me-up, much like someone else would take vitamins or drink a smoothie for health. It also depends on the strain of cannabis and how it reacts with your brain chemistry, says MariJayne. Too much Indica can make you more lethargic (or relaxed), while Sativa can give you more energy (or make you hyper).
*The Nose Knows. Although paranoia and even psychotic effects (hallucinations) have been observed in some marijuana users, MariJayne says that a person’s reactions to marijuana depends on their brain chemistry. For some people, the THC (psychoactive—gets you high) element in cannabis can trigger adverse reactions such as paranoia. In other people, it may not affect them that way and can give them an elevated, positive feeling. Therefore, MariJayne says that marijuana consumers should know their brain chemistry to determine if they should use a THC product, or cannabis that contains more CBD (nonpsychoactive element that can relax or energize). MariJayne says one way to tell if you may have a bad reaction to marijuana is to take the Nose Test: If the flower smells sweet to you, then it’s probably OK to try it; if it has a bad smell—gassy—then your brain chemistry may not accept it, so you should decline it. The most important thing: If you have any doubts about using cannabis, and how it may affect your health, be sure to consult your medical professional.
*Let your children grow naturally. Research indicates that cannabis use under the age of 16 can harm a child’s brain development—shrinking memory-related structures and decreasing neurons. Marijuana use in early to mid-teens has also been linked to suicide—toxicology reports of teen suicide victims have increasingly found the presence of cannabis in their system. Therefore, MariJayne counsels that parents should talk openly about cannabis to their children. She says parents need to educate young people about the positive and negative aspects of legal cannabis use. Parents should also advise their children to wait until they are adults to make the decision of whether to use cannabis—always in a responsible and healthy manner.
*CBD can be a positive medical option. Some research indicates that cannabis, especially the CBD component, can be helpful for reducing chronic pain, the nausea associated with chemotherapy, and the spasticity (spasms) associated with Multiple Sclerosis. In addition, there are current research trials investigating the use of cannabis to reduce anxiety (social anxiety), PTSD, and even psychotic (schizophrenic symptoms). MariJayne recounts the touching story of how she helped her grandmother who had just lost her beloved husband of 60 years. Her grandmother was depressed, on thirty different daily medications, and was in severe pain. MariJayne brought her several CBD products, and soon grandma was laughing, telling stories, and had considerably less pain.
Cannabis in its different forms, can prove helpful to reduce pain and anxiety in certain individuals. At the same time, it should be used carefully and responsibly, since it is an external chemical that may lead to emotional dependence in some users. The ideal solution for joy and happiness is for human beings to access their inner brain chemicals—dopamine, serotonin—by natural means that are healthy and productive and don’t create an addiction or reliance. Natural methods of inner brain chemical creation include being in love and extending love, spending time in nature, playing with animals or children; fulfilling your life’s work; and enjoying beauty, art, and creativity. And the best brain chemical of all is to give and receive love and express your fullest potential: that is the greatest high of all.