The idea that cannabis can extend your life expectancy is one of those topics that could be legend just as easily as it could be fact. So what’s really going on? Does weed make you live longer?
For many centuries, human beings have been obsessed with the idea of extending their lives. The concept of immortality was central to the beliefs of the ancient Egyptians, and in China, the coveted ‘elixir of life’ has been the subject of legends for millennia.
Although discovering a cure for aging is many a scientists’ dream, we are still a long way away from that goal. However, something has been sitting under our noses for a while which may hold some of the answers, and that is cannabis.
Cannabis was used a medicine long before prohibition gave it its bad reputation, and in recent years its medicinal benefits have been rediscovered. But could marijuana really help you to live longer and enjoy better health well into your later years? We explore the facts.
Life Expectancy and Cannabis
The most common manner for handling the query would be to take it head-on. A study was completed, but not published in the last 90s. It talked about THC given to rats in various doses. The experiment revealed results where rats given THC were having survival benefits over the untreated ones.
It may seem an intriguing conclusion, but several researchers have cautioned against reading or getting too much into it. They were specific about increasing of life expectancy in rats given THC could arise from a wide number of other available aspects. It would not only be caused due to THC.
A good example would be those aspects inclusive of several variables such as appetite, body weight, anxiety or stress levels and more. Nonetheless, one way or the other, you cannot deny the fact that the study involving rats given THC dosage lived longer than those not having THC in them.
The Ancillary Benefits Could Help
The real take away from this study seems to be that cannabis could have its biggest impact on life expectancy through all the ancillary benefits it produces.
To put it differently, it’s still unclear if cannabis does anything to your body to directly make you live longer. But what is more clear is that the plant could do a bunch of other stuff for you that could lead to better overall health, thereby increasing the chance that you’ll live longer.
For example, weed reduces stress and anxiety for many people. And this could help these people live longer. Studies have found that extreme stress has detrimental effects on health and life expectancy. So by decreasing that stress, you could set yourself up for a longer life.
Similarly, cannabis has shown promise in treating or decreasing numerous illnesses and other negative health conditions. For example, it’s shown promise at helping people deal with side effects of cancer and more aggressive forms of cancer treatment.
Additionally, cannabis helps a lot of people who have epilepsy. This also extends to other conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, insomnia, and more.
Assuming that each of these conditions negatively impacts a person’s life expectancy, it’s safe to say that cannabis can extend a person’s life by treating these other conditions.
How Cannabis Could Help You Live Longer
Cannabis contains many different active compounds called cannabinoids. These have a direct influence on many of the human body’s systems. The two most thoroughly researched of these cannabinoids are Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
THC is the psychoactive compound which gives cannabis users the characteristic high associated with the herb. CBD alone does not make you high, but it does have many other profound effects on the body. One of the major advantages of CBD is its anti-inflammatory properties. These have led to it becoming a popular remedy for chronic pain among many other conditions.
Cannabinoids have also been found to act as powerful antioxidants, meaning that they can prevent oxidative stress. They do this by reacting with free radicals and stopping them from damaging cells. Thanks to this, the compounds in cannabis may be useful in the prevention of many chronic and age-related diseases including heart disease and strokes. THC and CBD also have a protective influence over nerve cells which could help to prevent neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s.
Cannabinoids may also help to reduce the risk of developing cancer. They have the potential to do this by increasing the rate of a process called apoptosis, the destruction of old, dead cells. This could help to stop tumors from forming and cancerous cells from spreading throughout the body. Definitely a bonus if you are trying to extend your life!
Cannabis could also help to reduce some of the risk factors for chronic inflammation by relieving the symptoms of stress and improving sleep patterns. There is even some evidence that CBD could help with weight loss and stopping smoking.
Cannabis and Your Brain
Neurological health is another area where cannabis has shown promise. In particular, researchers have suggested that the plant could help reverse negative effects of aging on your brain.
That’s exactly what researchers concluded last year. In a 2017 study, researchers compared the brain activity of mice that were given daily doses of THC to mice that were not. They found that THC helped keep the mice’s brain’s active.
Ultimately, researchers concluded that THC and other cannabinoids can help encourage brain activity. This, they said, could help fend off the mental slowness that sometimes comes with old age.
Further, researchers have suggested that cannabis could help treat other brain disorders as well. For example, many researchers believe that cannabis can help reduce or avoid buildups of the plaque from brain cells that are linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
As with physical disorders, these neurological disorders can contribute to shorter life spans. By mitigating the harm caused by these problems, cannabis could theoretically extend a person’s life expectancy.
There are many benefits associated with cannabis including reducing inflammation and offering protection against a whole range of age-related problems. Because of these benefits, there is a chance that using marijuana medicinally could help to slow down the aging process and help to prolong your life.
That said, the herb is not completely free from adverse effects. For example, we all know that smoking is bad for our lungs, and increases the risk of cancer among other things. This issue is one major downfall in the theory that cannabis could help you live longer since it is typically consumed by smoking. Regular cannabis use could also increase the risk of heart problems and mental health disorders in some people.
Research into the long-term consequences of cannabis use is still somewhat lacking, although this will hopefully change in the near future. Once studies have confirmed the influence of cannabis on life expectancy, and only then, will we know for sure whether marijuana is the elusive elixir of life that humans have been seeking for so long.
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