The medicinal properties of cannabis are well-documented and probably clear to most people. After all, Willie Nelson and Iggy Pop are still alive, as of this writing (we check every morning).
Two Strains of Cannabis and Their Effects
As any cannabis connoisseur knows, there are two main strains of marijuana: Indica and Sativa. The effects of cannabis vary greatly from person to person, but
We spoke to Michael, a Master's student studying psychology in California who has a laid-back attitude, easy manner and a love of rock-climbing. He seems like the
Michael was a soldier, deployed on multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He came back to the States with physical and psychological wounds. He struggled with crippling anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder and was unable to focus or function in society. The military has a zero-tolerance policy for cannabis and prescribed him everything from anti-depressants to
When Michael left the military, he tried cannabis and found it was far better at alleviating his symptoms than prescription drugs. He says the long history behind cannabis helped convince him. “Most drugs prescribed for anxiety and depression are so new that we don't truly know all their long-term side-effects and contraindications. Cannabis has thousands of years of anecdotal evidence behind it, proving it helps with all kinds of conditions.”
Just as a soft California drawl has replaced Michael's original mid-Western twang, relaxed California attitudes about cannabis have replaced the stigmas around marijuana that he was exposed to while growing up
Michael speaks of cannabis like he's sampling fine California wines. “When I take a gentle puff of a fine
Cannabis Increases Productivity by Reducing Anxiety
Thankfully most of us do not suffer from combat PTSD, but Michael feels that cannabis can help people with less severe problems too. “I can't say this in a professional context, but as a private citizen, I think that anyone with anxiety disorders, depression or trouble focusing could find cannabis helpful. Sativa cannabis just calms your central nervous system down so you can focus again.”
But Michael stresses that cannabis wouldn't improve your performance with every task. “When I'm scaling a cliff face and my climbing partner is counting on me to have fast reflexes, I'll leave the marijuana at home. If you work on the bomb squad, this is probably not the solution for you.” But it certainly has been the solution for Michael -- at least when he has both feet on the ground.