Science & tech

The Medical Minute: Cannabis’ Impact on Alcohol, Stress, and Vision Loss

Published on March 4, 2014 · Last updated July 28, 2020

“The momentum to treat marijuana as a legal drug is irreversible,” Barry McCaffrey told the Washington Post this week. The former U.S. drug czar is right: cannabis — both medical and recreational — is here to stay. Through education and research, massive strides have been taken in recent years, and we at Leafly are delighted to share with you three more ways cannabis is changing lives in its medical application.

1. Breaking Up With Alcohol

Cannabis is stealing the hearts of former booze enthusiasts, according to a recent review published in Alcohol and Alcoholism. The survey aimed to identify whether or not cannabis satisfies the same criteria (a published checklist of seven items) by which people choose to consume alcohol. In other words, could marijuana be used to replace unhealthy drinking habits?

Data indicates that all criteria items were fully or partially met by cannabis, and while the researchers believe the study’s design was flawed, they did state that “cannabis does appear to be a potential substitute for alcohol” and “[it] is both safer and potentially less addictive than benzodiazepines and other pharmaceuticals that have been evaluated as substitutes for alcohol.”

In a recent High Times poll, 65% of respondents noted decreases in their alcohol intake after taking up marijuana. Has cannabis had this impact on you?

2. The Science of Cannabis Stress Relief

It doesn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to know cannabis relieves stress, but it might require a scientist to find out why. A study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology explains how activating our body’s cannabinoid system, specifically C2 receptors, reverses inflammation caused by overexposure to stress. This discovery could also lead to advances in the treatment of neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases.

3. Cannabis and Degenerative Vision Disease

We often associate cannabis use with red or dry eyes, but a new study published in Experimental Eye Research suggests there’s something therapeutic going on. Retinitis pigmentosa is a genetic eye disease in which cells in the retina die, resulting in vision loss. Using synthetic THC, researchers in Spain discovered that cannabinoids may slow retinal degeneration, as treated rats maintained 40% more photoreceptors than those left untreated.

Given marijuana’s success in treating other eye diseases like glaucoma, we’re excited to see what possibilities will open up with further research.

Image sources: Vincent Van Gogh's Olive Trees with Yellow Sky and Sun, Still Life with Five Bottles, Old Man in Sorrow (On the Threshold of Eternity), self-portrait

Shop highly rated stores near you

Showing you stores near
See all stores
Bailey Rahn
Bailey Rahn
Bailey is a senior content manager at Leafly, specializing in strains and health. She's spent 7+ years researching cannabis products, spreading patients’ stories, and exploring healthy ways of integrating cannabis into daily life.
View Bailey Rahn's articles
Get good reads, local deals, and strain spotlights delivered right to your inbox.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to Leafly's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Stay In Touch

Receive updates on new products, special offers, and industry news.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to Leafly's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Leafly mobile app
Get high for less.
Download the Leafly app.
Download Leafly: Marijuana Reviews on the App Store
Download Leafly Marijuana Reviews on Google Play

The material provided on Leafly is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Leafly is not engaged in rendering medical service or advice and the information provided is not a substitute for a professional medical opinion. If you have a medical problem, please contact a qualified health professional.

© 2024 Leafly, LLC
Leafly and the Leafly logo are registered trademarks of Leafly, LLC. All Rights Reserved.