Medical marijuana is a type of medicine that is derived from Cannabis plants. It is generally resorted to for the relief of signs and symptoms of, or in the therapy of illnesses and disorders. It is most commonly extracted from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica species. It is comprised of more than 400 chemicals or compounds, the most active of which are cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabinol (CBN).
Current studies indicate that there are recognized medical uses for marijuana with rational grounds to pursue more research with regards to the therapeutic benefits of this drug.
At least three of the active chemicals in marijuana have been extensively studied with positive results toward treatment modalities. These are cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Cannabidiol has been observed to have the most positive neurological and therapeutic effects without being psychoactive, meaning, it does not induce the “high” while tetrahydrocannabinol produces the “high” along with pain relief. Cannabinol, on the other hand, is mildly psychoactive and has sedative effects. CBN was the first of the cannabinoids to be isolated and was, before the isolation of THC, thought to produce the psychoactive effects of cannabis.
There are numerous other chemicals in marijuana, many of which are cannabinoids with the potential for medicinal purposes. If given the time and more studies devoted to them, these could prove to be beneficial, as well.
The therapeutic uses of medical marijuana include:
- relief from nausea resulting from chemotherapy
- alleviation of pain and muscle spasm
- control of anorexia
CBD, being the compound that exhibits the major therapeutic effects of medicinal marijuana, have been substantially researched and found to have the following actions:
- Anxiolytic and antipsychotic: for relief from anxiety disorder and for emotional stability, i.e. decrease in mood swings. It also improves cognitive functions which boost motivation and learning.
- Promotes neuroprotection and an anticonvulsant: improves neuroplasticity and neural function which may be advantageous in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, seizure disorders or epilepsy. It also proves promising in the treatment of neurodegenerative conditions and motor disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases.
- Improves and modulates immune function
- Anti-inflammatory and antiemetic: for improved digestive function. It enhances poor appetite.
- For better vascular or circulatory health
The reported side effects of medical marijuana are minimal, i. e. dry mouth and fatigue, when consumed at low and recommended doses.
Medical marijuana may be procured from shops, otherwise known as cannabudpost dispensaries that sell marijuana products in a variety of forms. Medical marijuana may be available as the edible type such as candies, gums or cookies; oils or extracts, and as the flower or leaves of the plant itself which may either be smoked or inhaled.
Several studies have shown that when consumed as advised and in low doses, the risk of addiction to medical marijuana is particularly low with a similarly low potential for blood and neural toxicity.