With the growing popularity of cannabis concentrates, oils, edibles and other products, it is important to remember that cannabis flower is still the most whole, full-spectrum cannabis offering on the market today. As concentrates tend to be boiled down to a pure cannabinoid oil, many of these products no longer contain vital terpenes and flavonoids, which work alongside THC to produce the desired effects of that particular strain.

Choosing whole flower is the most ideal way to absorb all of the nutrients that cannabis has to offer – and reap the following benefits.

Chronic Pain Management

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a massive report in January 2017 detailing many of the plants benefits. One of the most crucial findings was its effectiveness for managing chronic pain, which is also one of the most common reasons for cannabis use. One of the reasons cannabis is so effective at managing pain is due to the anti-inflammatory effects whereby cannabis helps to reduce the inflammatory response to pain. This is particularly beneficial to patients with arthritis, which is typically caused by inflammation, as well as chronic pain due to injury or illness, such as fibromyalgia. A study from 2008 found that THC has 20x the anti-inflammatory potency of Aspirin and double that of hydrocortisone, making it an extremely potent treatment option.

Anxiety and Stress Relief

One of the second most common uses for cannabis is self-medication for anxiety and stress. According to a recent study on cannabis use and anxiety, it was found that lower doses of THC (7.5 milligrams) was the ideal “goldilocks” zone for anxiety relief. Higher doses (12.5 milligrams) actually resulted in an increase in heart rate and anxiety for individuals predisposed to this condition. This study was done with non-regular cannabis users, so cannabis tolerance could be a factor in anxiety relief. Meaning that beginners should stick to lower doses, while more experienced users with a higher tolerance level may not experience the same level of heightened anxiety with a larger dose. As every individual is different, it is best to do a little experimenting to see what works for you.

Can Slow Alzheimer’s Disease

Another impressive and surprising benefit of cannabis use is that it can actually slow and even stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. A 2006 study revealed that THC is able to reduce the formation of amyloid plaques, which are associated with Alzheimer’s and known to kill brain cells. THC actually works to block the enzyme in the brain that produces these, thereby slowing or stalling Alzheimer’s progression.

Can Help With Weight Management

Another surprising benefit of cannabis is that it can help with weight management. This seems counterintuitive given that cannabis is well-known to result in “the munchies”, however this phenomenon seems to primarily affect beginner users and those with low tolerance, as opposed to more experienced users. The American Journal of Medicine published a study that found cannabis users have a lower BMI than non-cannabis users and are have a better insulin response – which is handy if you’re munchies include chocolate or any other unhealthy sweets!

Improved Lung Capacity

Most surprising is perhaps that the act of smoking cannabis does not degrade lung capacity, but can actually improve upon it. The 2012 study had researchers test the lung function of over 5,000 young adults over 20 years. The results were incredible, showing that tobacco users lost lung function while cannabis users actually had an increase in lung capacity. While some individuals believe this is simply due to the deeper inhale that occurs with cannabis use, others have noted that cannabis acts as a bronchodilator – hence its applications for asthmatic patients.