Cannabis as Medicine
Documents dating as far back as 2900 B.C. tell us cannabis has lived alongside humans for thousands of years and has been cultivated for medicinal purposes for just as long. Cannabis’ impact on the human body can be credited, in large part, to what is called Cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds secreted by the plant’s trichomes that offer a wide array of therapeutic benefits. The two most well know cannabinoids are THC and CBD. Cannabinoids bind to receptor sites in the brain and body – this system of receptors is referred to as the Endocannabinoid System.
The science behind cannabinoids as medicine is strong; so much so that certain cannabinoids have actually been synthesized (artificially made) and received FDA approval for treatment of illnesses like MS (Sativex, Marinol, and others). The two cannabinoids mentioned, THC and CBD, have been shown to help patients suffering from pain, nausea, sleep and stress disorders, as well as stress relief, anxiety, inflammation, and epilepsy. Cannabis contains at least 85 different cannabinoids and more research becomes available every day detailing how cannabinoids can be used to treat a wide range of ailments. However, recent studies have also shown a possible connection between early cannabis use and a negative impact on brain development. Without question, additional research into cannabis’ impact on the human body is needed and appropriate.
One of the best things to understand about cannabis as a modern medicine is that you no longer have to smoke cannabis or ingest a food/liquid that contains an unknown or random amount of active ingredient. Like traditional modern medicine, cannabis can be precisely dosed. Recent advancements in processing techniques have to lead to the ability to have pills, gel caps, tablets and the like created that contain exact amounts of active ingredient; i.e. 5 mg of THC and 10 mg of CBD — this is a significant advancement in the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.
What is medical marijuana?
Medical marijuana uses the marijuana plant or chemicals in it to treat diseases or conditions. It’s basically the same product as recreational marijuana, but it’s taken for medical purposes.
The marijuana plant contains more than 100 different chemicals called cannabinoids. Each one has a different effect on the body. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the main chemicals used in medicine. THC also produces the “high” people feel when they smoke marijuana or eat foods containing it.
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