Cannabis consumers often claim the herb has saved them in one way or another. They argue that without it, they might not have the capacity to tolerate all the pain and shenanigans life has to offer.
This lit logic bothers naysayers of the nug. Addiction specialists, those who believe self-medicating with psychoactive substances is the porthole to a downtrodden society, find it hard to believe that smoking marijuana can provide any benefit. They see all substance use as problematic behavior and therefore anyone who lingers in a stoned state for long is in deep, deep trouble.
“I have worked with many potheads who experience low functioning and dysfunctional lives due to smoking pot regularly,” Dr. Debra Lewis, Michigan-based licensed psychologist, and addiction therapist, told The Bluntness. “It's called addiction.”
Yet, if the results of a new study hold any weight, it’s the addiction experts whose logic may need an adjustment.
New Study: Cannabis Equals Higher Quality of Life
A recent study in the Journal of Psychiatric Research finds that habitual marijuana consumers may actually have a better quality of life than non-users. Researchers claim that people who use cannabis regularly – we’re talking daily use – are simply able to escape the throes of anxiety and depression easier than those who do not partake. As a result, the stoned are happier than the sober.
The people we talked to on the subject wholeheartedly agree. “Marijuana gave me temporary happiness that compounded into perpetual happiness,” Clint, a 32-year-old from Florida, told The Bluntness.
Is it possible that the secret to having a happy, sane life in this wild world is making a connection with cannabis? For some, that’s it precisely.
“I’ve been a heavy, daily user for twenty years,” said Josh, a 30-year-old car salesman from Texas. “I do find that I am more optimistic and just generally in a better mood than most. I still have bad days just like anyone, but fewer.”
For others, turning to weed is just about finding the answer to some of the discombobulated madness that often erupts within the hectic nature of existence.
“Cannabis creates an inner calm,” posits Rick, a cannabis advocate out of Michigan. “When stress happens, I know I can retreat to a safe place and burn one, then make corrective plans in a calm mental state.”
Cannabis vs Prescription Drugs vs Alcohol
Attaining a better quality of life isn’t always about mustering optimism or relishing in some much-needed tranquility when life starts to buck. And cannabis is a way out of the mind-numbing mania of prescription drugs for many people – something that isn’t always accepted by the medical community.
“I've been on every depression and anxiety medication possible over the years for severe manic depression, social anxiety disorder and PTSD and nothing has helped more than smoking weed,” Wesley, a 38-year-old Hoosier native, told us. “I could legitimately go off all of my meds if I lived in a legal state.”
Shannon, a 29-year-old retail clerk, seconds Wesley’s sentiment.
“It's been much better than anti-depressants,” she said. “I have suffered from debilitating depression since I was a wee teen. It makes songs better, colors prettier, food yummier, me happier. I dunno, it really just kinda puts my piss poor mental state in check and makes me appreciate everything I have.”
It’s no secret that plenty of Americans lean on alcohol, the most popular legal drug across the globe, as a way to forget about their problems, celebrate their successes and everything in between. But this tactic isn’t always conducive to the best quality of life, especially since booze is a well-documented liver-killer and snuffs out about three million people worldwide every year.
For former drunks like Charles, a 55-year-old hailing from Joliet, Illinois, cannabis filled the void of the bottle in a way that provided him an escape without the impending health problems. “I was able to taper down my drinking and eventually quit completely over a six-month period,” he said. “I'll still have a drink at holiday parties and such, but I no longer have to have anything consistently.”
And with this newfound sobriety from alcohol, Charles proudly asserted, came other unforeseen benefits to his overall well-being and happiness.
“My mental health has improved, and I lost 30 pounds last year,” he boasted. “My kids have even commented to my wife that I seem happy. Not just when I've smoked, but all the time.”
Key Nuances on Better Living through Cannabis
Some medical experts, at least those with experience in cannabis, say it can, in fact, improve one’s quality of life.
“I've seen it in my own practice - for people with conditions such as anxiety, chronic pain, inflammatory diseases and more,” Dr. Rebecca Siegel, clinical psychiatrist, and author of the newly published book The Brain on Cannabis: What You Should Know about Recreational and Medical Marijuana, told The Bluntness.
“And what little research we have out there has validated this through the plant's effect on the endocannabinoid system, which regulates the body's homeostasis.”
This can manifest as relief or happiness for many people, keeping the body metabolically regulated with cannabis, the doctor continued.
“For some, that relief may be subjective (a placebo), but in the end, it's a feeling of relief. In my practice, I have had great success with patients using cannabis to treat chemo-related nausea and even severe Crohn's disease. I certainly believe it can improve a person's quality of life when done under medical supervision.”
And that doesn’t mean getting blasted all day, every day.
“The biggest rule is to use it in moderation and ideally under medical supervision,” Dr. Siegel told us. “Prescribing the proper dose, with the proper delivery method, is critical to ensuring that patients have a positive experience.”
Unfortunately, most street dealers are not equipped with this expertise. Nor budtenders.
“Only a trained physician can properly prescribe it taking into account the person’s medical history and other medications,” the doctor said. “It also goes without saying that it should be purchased from a legal dispensary.”
Now, go forth, and improve your quality of life.
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