Photo by Tan Kaninthanond

Learn | 04.01.2024

Why Do People Smoke Weed?

Ancient medicine turned modern pastime.

Cannabis has a rich history, dating back thousands of years, from ancient funeral rituals to modern-day medicine and recreation.

Today, as millions embrace its benefits, ranging from pain relief to enhanced creativity, cannabis continues to spark curiosity, debate, and research.

Let’s peel back the layers of cannabis use, exploring its historical roots and the myriad reasons millions today turn to the leaf.

When Did People Start Smoking Weed?

The earliest recorded mention of cannabis for its mind-altering effects traces back to the 5th century BC. The ancient Greek historian Herodotus wrote about the Scythians, a group that burned cannabis plants to induce trance-like states during funerals. 

But, as is often the case with history, more recent findings have nudged that timeline even further back. 

In 2019, researchers unearthed evidence in western China that pushed the date of cannabis use back to about 2,500 years ago. They discovered wooden braziers with traces of cannabinoids like cannabinol (CBN), cannabidiol (CBD), and cannabicyclol (CBL). 

Parts of the cannabis plant and hot stones were placed into ancient wooden braziers before smoke was likely inhaled from them/Photo by Xinhua Wu

These braziers, found in the Jirzankal Cemetery of the Xinjiang region, hint at ritualistic use—possibly to honor the dead or communicate with the natural or spiritual world. Hot stones were placed in these braziers, over which the cannabis was burned, suggesting participants inhaled the smoke directly. This practice wasn’t just a one-off; it appears to have been a common element of ceremonies in the area.

Interestingly, while this and other archaeological digs show that cannabis was indeed used for its psychoactive effects, they also reveal that the plant was primarily grown for more pragmatic purposes like fiber, oil, and food.

Fast forward to today, and the uses of cannabis have expanded vastly, covering a spectrum that still includes textiles and nutrition, but has grown to embrace its medicinal and recreational benefits as well. Over 55 million American adults, representing 16.9% of the population, are now reported to use cannabis, with the numbers climbing annually.

And a significant amount report using cannabis nearly every day. 

What Happens If You Smoke Weed Everyday?

Some may consume cannabis daily for medicinal purposes, often times recommended by a healthcare provider in severe conditions where alleviation from cannabis would be helpful. 

Consuming cannabis every day poses several risks:

Risk of Addiction: The likelihood of developing a dependency on cannabis escalates significantly with daily use. It’s an often-cited concern, yet its significance can’t be overstated.

Cognitive Impairments: Long-term, everyday use of cannabis can impair memory, concentration, and the ability to make decisions. This effect is particularly pronounced in adolescents who begin smoking weed early and frequently, suggesting that the younger one starts, the more severe the impact on brain development.

Bodily Impacts: Physically, the repercussions extend to lung health, with habitual cannabis smoking being linked to conditions such as bronchitis, lung infections, chronic coughing, and an increase in mucus build-up in the throat. Though it shares some risks with tobacco use, it’s crucial to note that the consequences are distinct to cannabis.

Emotional Repercussions: Regular consumption can significantly influence mood and emotional well-being, potentially leading to increased anxiety, depression, or emotional dependency on the substance for mood regulation. Individuals might find themselves relying on cannabis not just for physical relief but also as a crutch for coping with stress, social anxiety, or emotional distress.

Cannabis Source: The source of cannabis matters immensely. Illicit market purchases come with their own set of risks, including the potential for contamination with pesticides, other drugs, heavy metals, molds, or fungi. These additives can significantly compound health risks, making a strong case for sourcing cannabis from reputable, regulated sources.

Despite these concerns, for some, the daily use of cannabis remains a vital component of their health management strategy. 

However, being well-informed about the potential risks associated with regular consumption can help you make choices that best suit your health and wellness goals. 

Main Reasons Why People Smoke Weed

Photo by Arthur Poulin

Below are some of the most commonly cited benefits driving the usage of cannabis.

Stress Relief

Perhaps the most widespread use of cannabis is for stress relief. The compounds in marijuana, particularly THC and CBD, interact with the brain’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) to produce a sense of relaxation and calm.

In today’s fast-paced world, cannabis serves as a pause button for many, allowing them to unwind and decompress from daily pressures.

Pain Relief

A major reason people use cannabis is for its effective pain relief. Chronic conditions like arthritis, migraines, and neuropathic pain can be debilitating, and cannabis offers a natural alternative to traditional pain medications.

THC and CBD also interact with the body’s ECS to reduce pain and inflammation. For many, this means a significant improvement in quality of life, with fewer side effects than those associated with conventional painkillers.

Creativity Enhancement

Creatives often turn to cannabis to break through artistic blocks or to find inspiration. THC’s psychoactive effects can alter perception and cognition, potentially leading to more abstract, fluid forms of thinking.

Writers, artists, and musicians may find that cannabis helps in exploring new ideas and perspectives in their work.

Better Sleep

For those wrestling with insomnia or disruptive sleep patterns, cannabis can be a savior. Indica strains, in particular, are known for their sedative effects, helping users fall asleep faster and enjoy more restful sleep. This is a blessing in the modern age, where sleep issues are increasingly common due to stress and screen time.

New Perspectives

Cannabis has the unique ability to shift mental states and perspectives. This can be particularly beneficial for personal development, allowing users to approach problems and challenges from new angles or to simply gain a greater appreciation for life.

Added Enjoyment Of Food, Music, Movies

Cannabis famously enhances sensory experiences. Users report that foods taste more vividly, music resonates more deeply, and movies become more captivating.

In moderation, cannabis can offer significant benefits to quality of life, creativity, and well-being. Users should still be informed and cautious, regulating use to mitigate health risks associated with frequent use.

Increased Socialization

Cannabis often acts as a social lubricant smoothing the way for engaging conversations and deeper connections within groups. Social smoking sessions are common and provide users with a shared experience that can strengthen relationships and create a sense of community.

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