Medical Marijuana 101

The use of marijuana for medicinal purposes dates back to 5000 years far into history. Marijuana is a drug made from the buds and leaves of the cannabis plant. People smoke or consume in other ways these parts in the dried form.

Most often than not, people consume marijuana to alter their state of consciousness and/or achieve a state of relaxation. We commonly refer to this experience as high. There are different ways to induce this experience in the body including vaporizing, smoking, or using it as an ingredient in food items.

But this article is not about the recreational use of marijuana. This piece of information is about the other less often (but not scarce) times when marijuana is used for its medicinal properties.

What is Medical Marijuana?

Medical Marijuana is literally any component of the marijuana plant that can be used to treat a medical condition. Medical marijuana can include any or all parts of the plant including the two main components, THC and CBD.

The marijuana plant, in all its varieties, consists of more than one hundred cannabinoids each with different properties and effects. Medical Marijuana is the engineering of these cannabinoids into medicine-like products that can help in treating multiple medical conditions.

The term medical marijuana refers to using the whole marijuana plant or its basic extracts to treat symptoms of illnesses and other conditions.

The scientific study of the cannabinoids present in marijuana has led to the discovery of cannabinoid-based medications for multiple health conditions.

The Basics

Rudiment to the understanding of medical marijuana is the ratio of the two main cannabinoids, THC and CBD. Cannabinoids, in the simplest of terms, are chemicals related to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The marijuana plant contains more than a hundred cannabinoids. Some of these cannabinoids are extremely powerful and interact with a similar system in the human body. The cannabinoids produced by the human body play a significant role in regulating pleasure, thinking, memory, concentration, body movement, appetite, pain, and the five senses.

How might cannabinoids be useful as medicines?

The cannabinoids in marijuana function similarly to the cannabinoid system in the human body. Through this interaction, the cannabinoid THC and can aid in increasing appetite and decreasing nausea along with reduced pain and inflammation. THC is famous as the psychoactive compound in marijuana.

CBD, on the other hand, is a cannabinoid that is not as psychoactive as THC. It is majorly the CBD cannabinoid that is thought to be responsible for the majority of medical benefits.

What are the uses of Medical Marijuana?

Medical uses of marijuana are inclusive of both studied and approved uses and off-label uses. Medical Marijuana is commonly divided into three categories:

Sativas

These are commonly used during the daytime. The medical benefits include energising, reducing depression, pain, headaches, nausea, and migraine, increased appetite, sense of well-being, and creativity, and elevated mood.

Indicas

These are primarily used in the night time. The medical benefits include providing relaxation and reducing stress, improved sleep, alleviated pain, inflammation, anxiety, and nausea.

Hybrids

These are crosses between Sativas and Indicas. There are more than 200 hybrids each with unique names. Some examples of hybrids are Blue Dream, 9 lb Hammer, and Chemdawg. Some hybrids possess more effects of Sativa while some have more of the Indica’s effects.

How does Medical Marijuana Affect the Body?

The affect medical marijuana will have on the human body depends on the cannabinoid that is at work. THC engages with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) and influences the brain in a way that alters memory, coordination, decision-making, appetite, and mood.

CBD, according to scientific studies, affects the brain by interacting with the neurological pathways regulating serotonin. CBD thus helps in regulating anxiety, pain, nausea, and appetite.

What are the Health Benefits of Medical Marijuana?

Majority of researches and studies on the medicinal effects of marijuana reveal that medical marijuana binds to the ECS in the body and produces effects that can:

  • Promote neuroplasticity
  • Modulate the Immune System
  • Modulate the Cognitive and Emotional System thus targeting vascular function, motivation, and digestive function.

There is moderate evidence suggesting that it helps in chronic pain and muscle spasms. Cannabinoids have also been recommended for Anorexia, Arthritis, Migraine, and Glaucoma when usual treatments have fallen short. Other preclinical and clinical trials suggest that medical marijuana can treat

  • Diseases that affect the immune system such as HIV/AIDS and MS.
  • Pain and Inflammation
  • Seizures
  • Substance Abuse Disorders
  • Mental Disorders

What are the side-effects to Medical Marijuana

When used at low doses, medical marijuana produces minimal side effects, the two most common being dry mouth and fatigue. At higher doses, the side effects can induce paranoia, dizziness, and mood changes.

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