Cannabis, native to Central Asia, is a wild plant with green leaves that belongs to the Cannabaceae family. The cannabis plants develop male, female and hermaphrodite plants. The male plant is less potent and grows with pollen sacs, whereas the female plant bears flowers and is potent.
Most of the cannabis products are derived from female Cannabis plants because the beneficial chemical compounds are abundantly present in flowers. Cannabis, when referred to as hemp, is used for recreational purposes like medicines, edibles, and topical treatments. This is also known as industrial hemp as it contains a controlled amount of THC.
There are more than 400 chemical components found in Cannabis plants, out of which 100 are being studied for their reaction with the human body’s endocannabinoid system.
The most popular components are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).
Strains and differences
Cannabis plants are divided into three commonly known strains.
The individual compounds present in Cannabis are unique in their own properties, effects, and side-effects. During the research on these compounds, the scientist wondered about the interaction of these compounds inside the body and coined the terminology “The entourage effect”.
For example, THC is known as a psychoactive compound. If used in excess, it may cause side-effects like anxiety, paranoia, and cognitive impairment. Another component that is non-psychoactive in nature called CBD can react with receptors in the human body and reduce the intoxicating effects of THC. The way these cannabinoids reacted in harmony with existing receptors in a body is termed as “The entourage effect.”
A human body produces endocannabinoids as per need in several conditions like stress, exercise, anxiety, and pain, etc. The Cannabinoids present in medical Cannabis react with these neurotransmitters and delivers a therapeutic effect to the body.
Medical Cannabis creates a concept of utilizing the chemical compounds present in Cannabis to restore the balance of the endocannabinoid system.
Due to their unique properties, potent strains are being used to produce edible medicines from Cannabis to treat pain, inflammation, anxiety, nausea, etc.
Medical marijuana/Cannabis is gaining popularity in research labs. Hence its effects are mainly studied for the following diseases:
In addition to that, two medicines, nabilone and dronabinol, were successfully tested on chemo patients to counter nausea and vomiting symptoms post-chemotherapy. However, these medicines are generally prescribed to patients who do not respond to other pharmaceuticals.
Medical Cannabis and State Laws
Although Medical Marijuana/Cannabis and its derived products are legalized in few states of the US and other countries like the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Canada, and Australia, its legality status is still under debate.
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