Where does cannabis come from?
Cannabis is a flowering plant containing more than 500 components, of which 104 cannabinoids have been identified (NCBI). Historical evidence suggests that it has been used for medicinal purposes since antiquity.
What are the compounds in cannabis?
Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds secreted by cannabis flowers and include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the primary psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis and its concentration is used to evaluate the potency levels within cannabis. (NCBI)
How cannabis reacts in the body?
When cannabis is consumed, cannabinoids bind to receptor sites in the brain and body mimicking naturally occurring compounds in the body known as endocannabinoids.
Different cannabinoids have different effects depending on which receptors they bind to. For example, THC binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain and other body sites, whereas CBD has a low affinity for these receptors but conceivably stronger affinity for other -as yet unknown- receptors. Different types of medical effects can be achieved through targeting different receptors using differing quantities of cannabinoids (eg. THC vs CBD).
What are the medicinal benefits of cannabis?
A broad range of medical indications have been shown to be alleviated by medical cannabis.
Cannabis based medication is currently available and used widely to treat the following conditions:
- Spasticity in Multiple Sclerosis
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Chronic neuropathic pain
- Epilepsy / Seizures
There is anecdotal evidence available to show that medical cannabis can be effective in treating the symptoms of:
- Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
- Sleep disorders including sleep apnea syndrome and insomnia
- Weight loss in HIV/AIDS patients
- Motor neurone disease symptoms
And the list continues to grow as medical cannabis is more frequently prescribed and accepted
Source: American National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine