Cannabis sativa is one such plant that receives rejection and acceptance in equal measure. In various states, consumption of marijuana could warrant you a jail term. At the backdrop of these stringent measures taken against those found consuming cannabis, several people and nations have focused on its advantages. The main benefit is that this plant contains many medicinal benefits. Countries such as Canada, Israel, Netherlands, and many states in America have since approved the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. So, what exactly do you need to know about cannabis and what can it mean to your health?
The term medical marijuana usually refers to the use of the essential extracts of, or the whole, unprocessed plant, to treat various conditions and symptoms of illnesses. The scientific study of chemicals present in cannabis (called cannabinoids) has led to the approval of medications containing cannabinoid chemicals in the form of pills and oil tinctures. Considering that marijuana contains various chemicals capable of treating a range of symptoms and conditions, most people advocate for its legalization throughout the world.
The use of cannabis as a medicinal plant dates back thousands of years and across many cultures around the world. However, due to recent legal restrictions, research into the medicinal effects of cannabis has been severely limited. As the legalization and decimalization of cannabis increases throughout this country and the rest of the world, the ability to research its potential will grow and open-up.
So far, eleven states including Washington, DC, have legalized recreational and medical marijuana use, with Illinois slated to join January of 2020. Aside from this, 19 states have already legalized medical marijuana. A recent survey of 170,000 adults published in JAMA reports that nearly 10 percent of respondents use medical marijuana, with close to 5 percent doing so daily. Yet despite this, researchers have a hard time gaining access to the plant because of a decades old federal law classifying cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug (defined as having no real accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse).
What frustrates many researchers and scientists is that people in this country are going to their local dispensaries to obtain medical marijuana it to ease their pain and anxiety, but in order to further investigate marijuana’s medicinal effects, scientists have to jump through hoops to obtain it for clinical trials due to its federal illegality. That means there’s a delay between cannabis and scientists’ knowledge of how its compounds affect the brain and the rest of the body.
Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds secreted in cannabis flowers; there are over 100 confirmed cannabinoids that provide relief to an array of symptoms including pain, nausea, anxiety, and inflammation. These diverse chemical compounds act on cannabinoid receptors, which are part of the endocannabinoid system found throughout all the cells in the body. The EC system—named after the plant itself —is a unique communications system in the brain and body that affects many important functions, including how a person feels, moves, and reacts.
The two main medicinal components of cannabinoids from the cannabis plant are CBD and THC.
CBD cannabinoid is non-psychoactive – which in layman’s terms means the user does not feel "high." There have been many recent studies that show unequivocal proof that the use of CBD works to ease symptoms of epilepsy specifically those associated with Dravet syndrome, an epilepsy disorder that affects children. Other indicators point to its effectiveness in these additional areas:
According to the World Health Organization, even sufferers of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease as well as multiple sclerosis, psychosis, anxiety, depression, cancer and many more could benefit from CBD. CBD is also useful in treating addiction and mental illness, as well as reducing pain and inflammation.
Unlike CBD, THC does have intoxicating effects but it shares a long list of potential clinical uses similar to CBD. To date, the FDA has approved two drugs containing THC: Dronabinol, administered orally to treat nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy as well as for weight loss and poor appetite in patients with AIDS. Nabilone also has been approved for nausea and vomiting caused by chemo. As with CBD, there is mounting evidence- both scientific and anecdotal- supporting the use of THC as a medicine. Some of the potential uses include:
Marijuana has several names, most of which depend upon the region. The most common ones are Anashca, Bhang, Bud, Cannabis sativa, Dope, Gaga, Haschisch, Hashish, Huo Ma Ren, Kif, Mariguana, Mary Jane, Pot, Sinsemilla, Banji, Blunt, Cannabis, Charas, Esrar, Ganga, Grass, Hash, Herbe, Joint, Marihuana, Marijuana Medicale, Medical Marijuana, and Sawi.
Marijuana has indeed proven to be a lifesaver. There has been a change of narrative from viewing it as illegal to focusing on its incredible medicinal benefits. When used in the right quantities and under the right supervision, marijuana can control PTSD, nausea and vomiting, and reduce pain, inflammation, and muscle control systems. Cannabinoids such as CBD and THC, which are found in cannabis, have significant health benefits.
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