50 Surprising Benefits of Cannabis

While the cannabis plant is by no means a panacea, it does offer many benefits that most people don't realize.
While the cannabis plant is by no means a panacea, it does offer many benefits that most people don't realize. | Photo by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash

As the cannabis plant becomes increasingly accepted across the globe, we are beginning to understand more and more about the possible benefits of incorporating cannabis into our lives. From physical ailments like nausea or chronic pain to mental health struggles like depression or anxiety, cannabis consumers have long reported the plant’s ability to bring ease to their symptoms and improve their overall conditions.

Aside from the fact that it may play a role in health improvement and sustainability, cannabis has shown its ability to boost economies as it has slowly but surely enjoyed some form of legalization throughout most of the United States. 

Here are 50 of the most surprising ways cannabis may work in your favor as a consumer:


1.            It May Aid in Weight Loss

The age-old stereotype of the “stoner” is typically accompanied by two key characteristics: laziness and an insatiable bout of the munchies. While certain strains of cannabis show evidence of causing consumers to take in more calories, further research suggests that regular cannabis users tend to have a lower Body Mass Index than the average person who does not use cannabis. This is because of the plant’s ability to regulate insulin production and overall caloric effect.

2.            It May Regulate and/or Prevent Diabetes

Keeping in mind that cannabis helps regulate insulin production and control weight, it makes sense why some could see its potential to help patients with diabetes. Consequently, a 2013 study revealed the following: cannabis compounds may play a role in controlling blood sugar, lowering BMI, and increasing levels of “good cholesterol.” Additionally, a 2015 study on the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) suggests that the cannabinoid’s anti-inflammatory properties may work as an effective treatment for Type 2 diabetes. 

3.            It May Help Fight Cancer

While medical cannabis has been used by patients enduring chemotherapy to soothe the intense side effects, recent research suggests that cannabis may be able to inhibit and/or kill cancer cells without affecting normal white blood cells. Researchers believe that cannabis with higher amounts of CBD (or pure CBD isolate) may be even more effective in killing cancer cells, which could be groundbreaking for the medical community if further tested or elaborated on.

4.            It May Ease Symptoms Of Depression

As depression and anxiety become increasingly common in today’s society, so does the need for relief. From oral medication to therapies, there are several treatments available for depression, and cannabis may be one of them. Researchers at the University of Buffalo have been studying the link between cannabis and depression. Their findings have revealed that depressed people tend to have reduced endocannabinoid levels, which could be resolved by using cannabis to restore the system’s balance.

5.            It Has Shown Promise In Treating Autism

For those living with Autism Spectrum Disorder, cannabis may be an effective treatment for symptoms, without the significant side effects some experience from the two FDA-approved psychotics. Cannabis, specifically CBD, helps regulate mood, which could be helpful with the social and cognitive struggles that people with autism may experience. Some parents of autistic children have begun to use CBD and THCA oil to help regulate mood swings and other challenging symptoms.

6.            It May Protect you From Coronavirus

While there is still very little known about COVID-19 and how it is prevented and/or treated, there seems to be evidence that suggests cannabis may help. Researchers are looking into whether the plant may reduce coronavirus susceptibility as well as its potential to stop deadly cytokine storms.

7.            It Helps Regulate Seizures

Medical cannabis has been used to treat a variety of ailments over the years, including seizures and epilepsy in children and adults. EPIDIOLEX, the first prescription, plant-derived cannabinoid medicine in the U.S., is an FDA-approved formulation of highly purified cannabidiol (CBD) used specifically for the treatment of seizures and epilepsy. 

8.            It May Decrease Healing Time In Broken Bones

If you’ve ever broken a bone before, you’re well aware how agonizing the recovery process can feel. Researchers have discovered that cannabis, specifically CBD, seems to enhance the healing process in fractured bones. A study done by the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research found the healing process in rats with broken leg bones was drastically improved after just eight weeks.

9.            It Has Shown Promise In Easing ADHD Symptoms

For those who have trouble concentrating or suffer from ADD or ADHD, cannabis may be an effective solution. While medication exists like Ritalin or Adderall, cannabis might be a safer alternative with a lower risk of unwanted side effects. Patients who’ve used cannabis to self-treat their symptoms have reported the plant may help with agitation, irritability, and lack of restraint.

10.    It May Aid In Serious Addiction Recovery

Cannabis may work as an aid in addiction recovery. In the midst of our country’s opioid crisis, patients have reported the plant’s ability to help soothe the withdrawal symptoms that come with detoxing from drugs like heroin or other opiates. And states with medical marijuana laws saw a 20 percent drop in some opioid prescriptions. 

11.    It May Treat Glaucoma

Ever since we first began to see medical cannabis legalization throughout the country, glaucoma was a popular reason for patients to apply for their medical cards. As the leading cause of blindness in the world, glaucoma is not an ailment to be ignored. Cannabis use seems to reduce intraocular pressure, which is a key contributor to the disease.

12.    It May Improve Lung Health

This may seem counterintuitive, especially since the act of smoking has quite a stigma when it comes to lung health, but researchers believe ingesting cannabis does not have any adverse effects on the lungs — in fact, it may improve lung health. If you’re still worried, opt out of smoking and try edibles or tinctures as an alternative — all the benefit of the plant without the toxins associated with smoking. 

13.    It Shows Promise In Easing Anxiety

But be careful — while cannabis may cause anxiety in some users, it can decrease anxiety in others. However, this is more specific to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid responsible for the “high” effect of cannabis. CBD seems to have a better track record when it comes to curbing anxiety.

14.    It May Slow The Development of Alzheimer’s Disease

Recent studies have suggested that cannabis may possess the ability to slow the progress of Alzheimer’s disease, which would be groundbreaking for the elderly community.

15.    It May Help Patients With Multiple Sclerosis

For patients suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, it can be difficult to find an effective treatment for controlling muscle spasms. Cannabis may help soothe the pain and reduce the intake of prescription drugs that may have a long list of side effects. 

16.    It May Calm & Control Muscle Spasms

As patients with M.S. discover cannabis as a possible solution for their muscle spasms, it becomes applicable to anyone who suffers from muscle spasms unrelated to M.S. Researchers have found that cannabis tends to decrease muscle spasms in patients who struggle with stiff, aching, cramping muscles.

17.    It May Help Eating Disorder Recovery Progress

While many believe eating disorders to be physical illnesses, they are actually mental illnesses with extreme physical side effects. Evidence suggests that sufferers may have a chemical imbalance directly related to the endocannabinoid system, and cannabis use may help bring order to this imbalance and regulate appetite. 

18.    It Has Been Used To Treat Arthritis

Among the increasing number of ailments it’s being used to treat, CBD may have a positive effect on patients suffering from arthritis. Animal studies have suggested that CBD’s pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory properties may ease the effects of arthritis.

19.    It May Ease PTSD Symptoms

From war veterans to sexual assault survivors, PTSD is an illness that afflicts many. Luckily, cannabis seems to be an effective treatment for the harrowing symptoms, regulating mood, and overall anxiety and panic. 

20.    It May Help Regulate Metabolism

In the same vein that cannabis may help patients lose weight, the plant may also help to regulate metabolism. Its effect on insulin and other metabolic hormones suggests it may play a role in helping those who have metabolic issues.

21.    It Can Help Ease Medication Side Effects For Those With AIDS/HIV

While cannabis cannot directly cure AIDS/HIV, it has been a recognized treatment for the adverse side effects of medications used to treat the disease since its initial outbreak in the 1980s. In fact, Michael Koehn’s lobbying for medical cannabis as a treatment for those with AIDS/HIV was the reason California first legalized medical cannabis in 1996. 

22.    It May Be Effective For Treating Nausea

There are several causes for nausea and/or vomiting, but not too many solutions. However, considerable evidence suggests that regulating the endocannabinoid system with cannabis use may in turn regulate nausea. 

23.    It May Soothe Headaches

According to recent studies, cannabis seems to decrease headache and migraine severity by nearly 50%. This would be an ideal alternative to prescription drugs or pills that can have unsavory side effects. 

24.    It May Treat Acne

Acne is a common and often difficult skin condition to address, but research suggests that cannabis could offer a path to relief. While more research is needed, a study published in the  found that CBD inhibited oil production and also had anti-inflammatory effects on oil-producing glands.

25.    It May Help Speech Problems

From stuttering to other voice disorders, speech disorders can be frustrating to work through. Depending on the cause of the speech disorder, cannabis may work as an effective treatment for any spasms or twitches that may accompany the issue.

26.    It May Improve Skin Conditions

Cannabis isn’t just for smoking — with the emergence of cannabis topicals and creams, people are beginning to use the plant to rub on pains, aches, and even skin conditions like skin cancer, eczema, or psoriasis

27.    It May Soothe Chemotherapy Side Effects

As mentioned earlier, cannabis has been used by patients with cancer to better endure the difficult side effects, especially from the effects of chemotherapy. Patients who undergo chemotherapy usually experience intense nausea, and the plant has a track record that suggests it may be a useful treatment.

28.    It May Regulate Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

While anxiety and stress can be heightened in some people who use cannabis, CBD has reportedly worked well to soothe these symptoms. Similarly, it may help those with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). A study done on rats revealed that, even at low doses, CBD was able to reverse OCD symptoms. 

29.    It May Calm Asthma Attacks

Since cannabis has shown signs of being able to improve lung health, it makes sense to assume it may also be able to soothe those with asthma. However, proceed with caution: smoking cannabis may drastically worsen asthmatic symptoms, but ingesting cannabinoids in tincture or edible form may help ease symptoms

30.    It May Be A Natural Alternative To Viagra

From headaches to nausea to overall pain, there are several risky side effects that come with taking Viagra. However, cannabis has been used as an aphrodisiac for centuries and may be a natural solution to popping pills. 

31.    It May Help Lower Blood Pressure

Another possible benefit of using cannabis is that it may help lower your blood pressure. In a study where healthy volunteers were given a single dose of CBD, the blood pressure in all subjects was reduced, which suggests that regular usage may result in an overall lower blood pressure.

32.    It May Soothe Panic Attacks

As previously mentioned, cannabis (and specifically CBD) have been reported to work as an anxiety regulator, although this can depend on the strain, the dosage, and the person. Keeping that in mind, studies have found that cannabis may soothe panic attack symptoms for those who suffer.

33.    It Can Be Used As A Food Source

Although cannabis isn’t lining the shelves at our grocery stores today, the plant has been used as a food source by several communities throughout history. Hemp has been used as a valuable protein source, and is even found as an ingredient in protein powders today. 

34.    It’s A Great Investment Opportunity

With the increase of states offering legal adult-use and/or medical cannabis, the industry is booming more and more every day. And with even more states adding legal cannabis to their ballots for November, now is the time to invest. 

35.    It May Help Fight Climate Change

As the cannabis market begins to legalize throughout the nation, we’ll see an increase in large-scale cannabis farms, which could have an overall positive effect on the environment. Experts say it may help reduce CO2 emissions, which may help reverse the effects of climate change over time.

36.    The Cannabis Industry Creates Jobs

Along with valuable investment opportunities, the increase of legal cannabis has allowed for a massive amount of job creation. From growers to doctors to budtenders, the growing industry has endless opportunities for a good paycheck. 

37.    Cannabis Generates Revenue For Public Programs

Another benefit of legalizing cannabis is the revenue the states get to enjoy from the sales taxes. In states where cannabis is legal, they’re seeing a large amount of revenue from cannabis sales, which are then funneled into public programs like schools, health programs, cannabis research, and more. 

38.    Legal Cannabis Will Clean Up People’s Records

As states are working to legalize cannabis, they are also working to expunge records of those who were wrongfully locked up for trivial cannabis charges over the past several decades. The MORE Act, which will be voted on by the House this year, will work to decriminalize cannabis on a federal level and expunge some criminal records.

39.    Legal Cannabis Creates New Industries

In tandem with the job creation that cannabis allows for, it’s also created new opportunities for existing industries. According to experts, the cannabis industry is the fastest growing industry in the U.S. today, and allows for industries like medicine, beauty, banking, agriculture, advertising, food, and more to get involved.

40.    Legal Cannabis May Lower Crime Rates

As cannabis continues to remove its prohibited status, the states will continue to see a dip in crime rates. This is a pretty obvious result of legalizing something that was previously illegal, but states that have legalized cannabis have seen overall drops in crime, including violent crimes unrelated to cannabis.

41.    Legal Cannabis May Lead To Safer Roads

An economics study revealed that, in states where cannabis has been legalized, they’ve seen a drop in traffic deaths. There has coincidentally been a sizable drop in alcohol sales in legal states, which may contribute to the drop in traffic deaths.

42.    Legal Cannabis Cheapens Law Enforcement Costs

In Colorado, a state that has offered legal adult-use cannabis since 2012, there has been a drop in taxpayer costs due to the fact that law enforcement is no longer spending money on cannabis arrests. This also frees up law enforcements’ time and allows for them to focus on real crime.

43.    It May Help Keep Your Pets Healthy

As CBD continues to flood the cannabis market with its non-psychoactive healing properties, we’re seeing that it works for all sorts of people, from children to adults — and now, even pets. For animals who are sick, living with chronic pain, or suffering from anxiety or depression, cannabis may be a viable natural treatment.

44.    It May Improve Your Dreams

If you suffer from PTSD or other mental disorders, you may also be plagued with endless nightmares that leave you more exhausted when you wake up than when you went to sleep. Luckily, CBD and THC both seem to have an effect on your REM cycle, which can allow for more pleasant dreams, or the inability to remember your nightmares.

45.    It May Increase Energy Levels

Proceed with caution, as this can vary greatly depending on the strain and your body/mind, but certain strains of cannabis may work to boost your energy levels. Keep an eye out for strains that contain terpenes like pinene and limonene, which tend to have more uplifting effects.

46.    It May Help Improve Sleep

Conversely, other strains of cannabis may help improve your sleep and fight insomnia. Researchers have found that cannabis may help regulate your sleep cycle overall, specifically in strains that have higher levels of THC than CBD.

47.    It May Improve Your Work Day

Depending on what you do for a living, cannabis may help improve your workday. It isn’t necessarily recommended to smoke a bunch before you go in for the day, especially if you have a high-stress, high-engagement role, but there are several CBD options for regulating your mood without having any psychoactive effects that may negatively impact your productivity. 

48.    It May Improve Your Digestive System

Whether you suffer from digestive issues like Irritable Bowel Syndrome or gastritis, cannabis may work as a reliever. As most digestive issues are a result of inflammation, the anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis (and specifically CBD) may play a role in healing.

49.    It May Boost Creativity

As with productivity levels, this will depend on the strain, the dosage, and the person, but cannabis seems to have an overall positive effect on creativity. More studies need to be done to confirm exactly how cannabis should be used to boost creativity, but it seems that a cannabis-induced state of mind tends to allow for more divergent thinking in consumers. 

50.    It May Protect Your Brain

We mentioned earlier that cannabis may have positive effects on reversing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, and studies have found that cannabis seems to have an overall positive neurological effect on consumers. Cannabinoids like CBD and THC have neuroprotective effects, which may work to protect and preserve our brain cells. 

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(This article was originally published by Taylor Engle for Green Flower.)