Few people may know this but cannabis, or marijuana, had been popular as a remedy since ancient times. It was in 2727 B.C. when there was the first record of its use in China. It was also familiar to ancient Greeks, Romans and people from the Middle East. It was only during 1600 when cannabis use began to be regulated and restricted. After that, it was generally assumed that consumption of cannabis can lead to violent behaviours, insanity, drug abuse, addiction abuse and criminal activity. It was only recently that the public knew that cannabis has many benefits which were previously unknown to many people. Cannabis has been legalized in some states because it is non-toxic, can be moderately used by adults and has some beneficial effects on health.
Medical cannabis is the term used to refer to the use of marijuana, cultivated with medical seeds, and other cannabinoid substances for treating health problems. Marijuana is a mixture of green, brown, crumpled and dried leaves from the marijuana plant. This mixture of leaves are rolled up and smoked like a cigar or cigarette or smoked through a pipe. It can also be mixed with food and eaten. Its mode of administration to the user includes vaporizing or smoking dried buds, consuming extracts and the ingestion of capsules. Synthetic cannabinoids are even available in some countries such as dronabinol and nabilone. While in some countries the recreational use of marijuana is illegal, in some countries its medical use is legal.
There are two species of cannabis which are able to produce beneficial amounts of psychoactive cannabinoids: Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa. Cannabis is said to contain more than 400 compounds, about 80 of which are considered as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that act on cannabinoid receptors in the brain. The US FDA is currently studying more than 20 cannabinoids for potential use.
Tetrahydrocannabinol is said to be the most psychoactive cannabinoid; other cannabinoids include delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN), cannabicyclol (CBL), cannabichromene (CBC) and cannabigerol (CBG). Cannabinoids are commonly smoked as cigars or cigarettes or using pipes. Using vaporizers for medical cannabis is popular because less harmful chemicals are consumed when cannabis is inhaled rather than smoked. Certain cannabinoids are also available in pills such as dronabinol and nabilone, while others are available as liquid extracts which are later formed into oromucosal sprays.
A major component of medical cannabis is cannabidiol (CBD), a nonpsychotropic substance with unknown effects on brain receptors. However some studies claim that CBD has the potential of treating cough, nausea, inflammation, congestion, convulsions and even cancers. It can also bring about benefits over depression, anxiety, psychosis and other psychiatric conditions.
Some advocates have claimed that medical cannabis has several potential health benefits. Medical cannabis can be used as an appetite stimulant, anti-spasmodic, anti-emetic, and analgesic. It can be used to relieve pain in cancer, nausea, vomiting and other problems. It can also help relieve some symptoms of AIDS patients. However, it is still not approved by the US FDA for treating any condition or disease.
Health Benefits of Medical Cannabis
Medical cannabis can be used to treat nausea and vomiting, or to stimulate appetite in HIV/AIDS patients, though more studies are needed to document this. Cannabis has also been used to treat chronic pain, including neuropathic pain, pain due to fibromyalgia and pain due to rheumatoid arthritis. It can also be used to treat spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis.
Research is currently studying other effects of medical cannabis on other conditions and diseases. Some studies say that medical cannabis may be beneficial in treating Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease, bipolar disorders, anorexia nervosa, dementia, epilepsy and Tourette syndrome. It can also help slowing down cell damage in diabetes and can lower increased intraocular pressure in diabetes.