The debate over legalizing marijuana is sweeping the country. Currently, marijuana is legalized in some form (medicinal, recreational, or both) in 28 states. Coming from a state where it is illegal, I thought it might be interesting to see what the actual health benefits of weed are. And I was pretty surprised by what I found out. So I made a list of 10 surprising health benefits of weed. 

1.  Improves Lung Health

Okay so this surprised me the most. Can you actually improve your lung health by smoking? While this seems counterintuitive to me, ironically enough, smoking marijuana has decreased the effects of lung cancer and Emphysema. It actually increases lung capacity. Who knew?

2.  Decreases the Spread of Cancer

This is a big one. Marijuana can actually stop cancer cells from growing in lung cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer. Some studies even claim that marijuana can kill cancer cells.

3.  Decreases Anxiety

coffee, beer
Alex Frank

If you have anxiety, it takes over your entire life.  Smoking marijuana can help reduce anxiety and depression. While it can help control panic attacks, high doses of weed can actually make you more anxious and paranoid, so make sure to control the amount you intake.

4.  Reduces Pain

Marijuana can help alleviate pain caused from chemotherapy, arthritis, and headaches. Smoke away the pain.

5.  Hangover Helper

We all know how brutal hangovers can be. Apparently, weed can help reduce the side effects commonly associated with hangovers—including nausea, headaches, and light sensitivity.

6.  Regulates Nausea

Nausea regulation is another reason why medical marijuana is commonly used to help treat patients undergoing chemotherapy. Chemical compounds in marijuana react with brain receptors to help ease nausea and reduce vomiting.  

7.  Reduces Itching

Annie Pinto

Cannabis infused lotions and salves drastically reduce bodily itching. Not only can marijuana help with mosquito bites, but it also helps reduce itching associated with hives and allergic rashes. While it may not sound like a big deal, this could be game changing (coming from someone who gets hives regularly).

8. Decreases Seizures

According to a study, marijuana prevented rats from having epileptic seizures for about 10 hours. Apparently the THC in weed, binds with the brain cells that control excitability and relaxation.

9.  Protects the Brain

olive, grape, wine
Danielle Pasalich

Doing drugs kills brain cells— the motto we've all heard our entire lives. However, marijuana can protect the brain after having a stroke or concussion. Studies using rats, mice, and monkeys have found that marijuana reduces the size of the effected area.