With the rise in popularity of marijuana being used for medicinal purposes, there has been an increase in the amount of questions regarding the benefits and risks, as well a general inquiry as to just what makes cannabis useful from a medicinal point of view. Well, we’re here to shed some light on the subject.
Cannabis and Cannabinoids
If you’re not already aware, marijuana, also known as the cannabis plant, contains a variety of different compounds — over 500, to be a little more precise. These include a group made up of about 85 compounds called cannabinoids, which are responsible for the effects marijuana has on the body and mind. Of those 85 there are two main cannabinoids — tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). As a basic description of each, THC is responsible for the high that users are after, due to the psychoactive nature of the compound. CBD has no psychoactive effects at all, and is mainly used to help provide relief, and even resolve, from major health issues, including, but not limited to: chronic pain, arthritis, anxiety, and PTSD.
How do they work?
Every day since your birth, your brain has been creating natural cannabinoids, produced by the endocannabinoid system. This system is responsible for important functions like your regulating your appetite, emotions, movement and sleep. Cannabinoids interact with specific receptors in your body, mainly the nervous and immune systems, activating the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are located within the brain, nervous system, and nerve endings, while CB2 receptors reside within the immune system.
Although there is ongoing research into the health benefits and risks that accompany using cannabis to treat ailments, there have been some major breakthroughs that have proven its usefulness. CBD has been proven to relieve pain and inflammation, reduce anxiety, relieves nausea, and has even been shown to help fight cancer. These are only a few of the health benefits that cannabinoids present, and with continued research, leading to new results, the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes seems all but a given.