Whether you haven't smoked marijuana in a good 20 years since your college days, or you're a regular Cheech and Chong who's lighting up in your living room while eating homemade pizza and watching Netflix, there's a good chance that you have some concerns with what the drug may or may not be doing to your body.
Sure, pot research has gone through the roof in the past decade or so—especially as more places around the world legalize it—but some people are still skeptical with the side effects it might have.
Now, because we're not what you'd call professionals in such manners, we reached out to some people who can legitimately claim that they are, talking with some of the top experts in the cannabis industry to tell us some of the surprising benefits of smoking weed.
“There are quite a few areas where the use of cannabis is showing amazing results. One is the latest research on cannabis as a treatment for Alzheimer’s patients and others suffering with neurological ailments. Microdosing, or ingesting very small amounts of cannabinoids, is also proving to be remarkably beneficial, with a positive impact on things like mood, insulin regulation, managing a healthy BMI, and overall wellness.” — Shanel Lindsay, Founder and President of Ardent
“Beyond the countless medicinal benefits, we love hearing the increasing numbers of athletes who correlate cannabis use with improved performance and recovery. Most recently, The NFL Players Association is angling to get the NFL to allow medical cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Cannabis is an analgesic and has anti-inflammatory effects – making it that much more relevant to its use for wellness and maintenance. We await the day when recreational cannabis use is seen as both beneficial and essential. Feed your endocannabinoid system daily (the headlines will one day read).” — Lisa Harun, Co-Founder at Vapium
"The biggest surprise about medical cannabis I've learned recently is that micro-dosing, the act of imbibing low doses of cannabis that don't produce a high but provide all of the typical benefits of cannabis consumption without negative side effects, can be effective. People are finding that for conditions like insomnia and sleep apnea, micro-dosing serves as an extraordinarily effective mode of consumption." — William Waldrop, CEO of Signal Bay, Inc.
“Since evidence exists that cannabis has been used as a medicine as early as 5,000 years ago in China, it should come as little surprise that this plant has many time-tested medicinal qualities – it is not just a ruse! That being said, it is surprising to many to see real science be applied to the cannabis plant with credible findings that certain variations of cannabis are effective medicine to children who are suffering from certain conditions that cause them to have numerous seizures a day. Parents are moving to states where medical marijuana is legal to be able to give their kids, who are suffering from these debilitating seizures, a natural product that has proven to be the most effective treatment they have discovered after trying all of the traditional remedies, treatments, and pills made available by the pharmaceutical industry. These kids are given oils derived from strains that do not contain the components that get people “high”, but rather contain the components that are seemingly the antidote to their suffering. Surprise, surprise, this ain’t your daddy’s idea of reefer.” — Mitchell Kulick, Partner at Feuerstein Kulick LLP
"Many people are surprised to learn that cannabidiol (CBD) within cannabis or hemp can provoke your body to make nitric oxide, which, in turn is a known vasodilator. Bottom line: CBD can in some circumstances lead to greater flow of oxygen to the brain and internal organs, and even lower blood pressure. Some people think this may be related to the calming effects that can be part of the cannabis or hemp experience.” — Chris Bunka, CEO of Lexaria
"I've been surprised at the economic impact of the marijuana industry in Colorado. Most point to the $1 billion in revenue last year, which is impressive, but the $2.4 billion in economic impact is even more impressive. Simplifya and other tech companies that service the marijuana industry are part of that impact - it's rewarding to be a meaningful driver in our state's economy." — Rick Matsumoto, Chief Technology Officer at Simplifya
“We have just scratched the surface of finding the benefits of cannabis, because we are only starting to bring together the comprehensive data that shows how effective, or ineffective, cannabis is at helping people, and the impact of its side effects on them. The elements of cannabis have the potential to be the base component of a new generation of treatments for diseases throughout the entire body - but we have to prove whether it works or not. The surprises have yet to come!” — Prateek Dwivedi, CEO of Ehave
MORE: 'Yes, It's OK To Still Experiment With Pot As An Adult'