When it comes to our health, we as a nation are pretty on the ball. A study done by the World Health Organization estimated that around 80% of people worldwide regularly relied on herbal medicines for some part of their routine health care.
So, with such a huge amount of people relying on everyday remedies, it seems only fair that we start considering other options that not only fit in with the theme of herbal remedies but could potentially even pit some to the post regarding efficacy.
As cannabis becomes more widely understood, and laws are changed to allow for more access to the plant’s benefits, could it be that cannabis is the new herbal remedy of 2020? Stick around as we find out how marijuana stacks up against some of the world’s most popular herbal remedies!
What Is an Herbal Remedy?
What is a herbal remedy you might ask? We’ve all heard of them, and the chances are you have been advised to try at least one of these during your life to expel a cold, help you sleep, maintain healthy cholesterol or to aid weight loss. The list of benefits attached to many of the most popular herbal remedies can be at times pretty exhaustive, however, for many, there does seem to be some scientific backing.
But other than age-old remedies and old wives tales that have been passed down through the generations, what is a herbal remedy? Well, in short, it is a herbal medicine whose active ingredient is derived from parts of a plant.
Naturally occurring plant-derived substances such as the ones we discuss today are used all over the world and have maintained a high level of popularity for many. The herbal medicine of choice can differ depending on many things such as location, culture and even religious beliefs, but the nature of the substance is always the same, natural and organic.
How Can Cannabis Be Compared To a Herbal Remedy?
Herbal remedies can use any part of a plant, from the leaves to the root and everything in between, but just because they are natural, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are safe. Although the most popular herbal remedies are usually widely advocated and have a good level of anecdotal and scientific backup, this is not always the case, so how does cannabis stack up?
As we know, cannabis is a naturally occurring plant, and most importantly it can be safely consumed. While some individuals may benefit from particular consumption methods over others, the recent turnaround in legislature and media coverage means that we are more aware than ever before of the proper ways to consume marijuana.
Despite an overwhelming number of people across America being supportive of medicinal cannabis, and a huge amount even calling for more states to allow for recreational use of the plant, there are still a lot of misconceptions around the plant.
That being said, the marijuana industry has come on leaps and bounds in the past few years, with 2018 being one of the biggest regarding legal changes across the U.S. as well as other exciting changes such as the first ever cannabis-based pharmaceutical drug being approved by the FDA!
Although cannabis has been utilized for thousands of years as a herbal medicine, and has in fact been around for as long as many of the most popular herbal remedies, it has only been recently that the world has started taking real notice of the benefits of the plant, so much so that it has become tough competition for many of the most prescribed medications!
With these things in mind, let’s take a look at five of the most popular herbal remedies, and how cannabis stacks up against them!
Five Of The Most Popular Herbal Remedies Vs. Cannabis:
Ginger or Gingerols is a flowering plant that has been used for thousands of years as both a herbal remedy and a cooking ingredient. Originating from South East Asia, ginger is more than a delicious and healthy spice; it also has many health benefits, so let’s see how they compare to what cannabis can bring to the table!
Benefits Of Ginger:
- Ginger has an oily resin that comes from the root and acts as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. A study done in 2001 revealed that the consumption of ginger extract had the ability to reduce pain in patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee.
- Packed full of nutrients and bioactive compounds
- Effective in the relief of a multitude of pain, including muscle pain and menstrual pain.
- Said to improve brain function
- Supports healthy digestion
Vs. Benefits Of Cannabis:
- Cannabis is a well-known potent anti-inflammatory, having had dozens of studies done into the effects of the plant on patients struggling with inflammation. For this reason, cannabis is now legal to prescribe in over 30 states, the majority of which have qualified inflammatory conditions such as Arthritis and Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
- Thanks to the research done into the benefits of cannabinoids, which are the compounds that make up cannabis plants, we are becoming more aware of the other benefits associated with the plant such as improved mental health, improved appetite, and sleep, to name a few.
- Cannabis is a great pain relief, and as such is legal to prescribe for a variety of pain-related conditions across many of the states in America. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties as well as its ability to work with our bodies’ endocannabinoid system.
- Amongst the many points raised above, cannabis can also offer a multitude of other benefits, many of which ginger has not yet been shown to do.
Ginseng is a tonic from the plant of the same name, which is native to Asia and North America. Famed for its ability to relax the mind and improve an array of bodily functions, Ginseng dates back as far as the mid 17th century! Below are some of the key benefits of this herbal remedy, and how cannabis competes.
Benefits Of Ginseng:
- Often used for its aphrodisiac properties
- Said to reduce stress levels
- Boost immune system
- Reduce inflammation
- Antioxidant qualities, with one test-tube study finding that a particular type of ginseng extract was able to reduce inflammation and improve antioxidant activity in the skin cells of people with eczema.
- Helps weight loss
- Improves lung function
- Increases energy levels
Vs. Benefits Of Cannabis:
- Cannabis has been applied to improved sex life for years. Certain strains have been shown to reduce anxiety around sex, reduce pain and improve sensitivity and overall enjoyment.
- Perhaps one of the most well-known uses of cannabis is to reduce anxiety and stress, with many studies having been done into the benefits the plant can have on mental health including depression, anxiety and even post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
- Cannabis has been shown to be effective in boosting our immune system, which not only lends itself to a host of conditions which can impact this, but also shows it to be a good everyday supplement.
Turmeric is the vibrant, aromatic spice that has been used in Asian cooking for years before making its way around the world. Thanks to its key compound, curcumin, turmeric is considered to be one of the most beneficial spices out there, let’s see why and whether cannabis can pit it to the post.
Benefits Of Turmeric:
- Curcumin is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects
- Linked to increased brain function and lower risk of brain diseases. Many brain conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease have been linked to a decreased level of the growth hormone brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF. Curcumin has been shown to increase this hormone
- Could lower the risk of heart disease
- Could be useful in treating and preventing Alzheimer’s disease
- Good for arthritis
- Helpful in relieving depression
Vs. Benefits Of Cannabis:
- Well-researched antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, with various studies showing the medicinal benefits of these properties.
- Cannabis is a known neuroprotectant, so much so that it has been patented as such by the U.S. government. Studies
- Have shown that cannabis use can protect nerve cells as well as stimulate new cell growth!
- Studies have been done into the role of cannabis in cardiovascular disorders, with some studies showing that the plant has significant benefits.
- Cannabis has been long used for the relief of symptoms of depression, as studies have shown how cannabinoids can positively impact our hormones and moods for the good.
Chamomile has been used for years as a herbal infusion as well as for medicinal use, and can be very easily accessed in your local supermarket! From the plant family Asteraceae, Chamomile is said to be great for a host of things from the skin to our mood, but how does cannabis compare?
Benefits Of Chamomile:
- Perhaps most famously, chamomile is used to promote restful sleep and combat insomnia
- Boost immunity
- Helpful in the treatment of colds and flu
- Helps with menstrual pain
- Reduces muscle spasms
- Good for mild to moderate pains
- Helpful in reducing stress
- Anti-inflammatory properties helpful in skin conditions
Vs. Benefits Of Cannabis:
- Certain cannabis strains, particularly indica types are great for helping combat insomnia and pain-related sleep issues. There have been many studies done into how cannabidiol in particular can modulate sleep, with very positive results.
- We already know that cannabis is an immune system modulator, and can be used as a daily supplement in the right forms.
- Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties as well as its ability to combat pain, many women turn to cannabis to relieve menstrual pains
- As a potent anti-spasmodic, cannabis has shot into the limelight for its ability to help muscle spasms, leading to the first cannabis-based drug being approved by the FDA to treat rare epilepsy in children.
5. Ginkgo Biloba
Originating from the late 18th century, Ginkgo Biloba is a Chinese tree that has been known for its ability to help with concentration and memory as well as a variety of other mental and physical conditions. Let’s check it out in comparison to cannabis, shall we?
Benefits Of Ginkgo Biloba:
- Improve memory and focus
- Contains powerful antioxidants
- Can help fight inflammation
- Can treat headaches and migraines
- Reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
- Improve eye health and maintain vision
- Helps relieve symptoms of ADHD
- Aphrodisiac properties
- Helpful in fighting anxiety and depression
Vs. Benefits Of Cannabis:
- A study done in 2013 looked at how cannabis impacted on memory. The results found that with particular strains of cannabis memory could either be improved or impaired. For those seeking improved focus and memory would benefit more from high CBD levels and lower THC.
- Many people opt for cannabis to help with a variety of pains, including headache and migraine pain. A study done in 2010 looked at the effect of cannabis on our endocannabinoid system in relation to improving migraine pain.
- A study done in 2010 looked at cannabis and dementia, and found that there were a variety of therapeutic benefits to the plant in neurodegenerative diseases.
- We know that cannabis is beneficial to sufferers of glaucoma, as the plant has the ability to lower ocular eye pressure. There have been other studies to show that cannabis has other eye health benefits as well.
- There have been a number of studies done into cannabis for ADHD, with many U.S. states allowing the condition to be treated under their own medical marijuana programmes.
Round Up: Is Cannabis An Effective Herbal Remedy Or Not?
When we look at the evidence, it seems crazy to think that cannabis is still so heavily misunderstood the world over. Although the plant can match like for like many of the benefits associated with the most popular herbal remedies, it appears many are still left unconvinced.
One of the big things to bear in mind is that cannabis comes with very few side effects, and there have been no reports of a fatality associated with cannabis overdose. When we look at some of the negatives of many of today’s herbal remedies, for example, the inability to mix with many prescription meds, it seems a no-brainer that we ought to consider other options.
We would love to know what you think, does cannabis stack up against your favorite herbal remedy, or is it simply for recreational use alone? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!