What are cannabinoids and the way can they assist MMJ sufferers?
Cannabinoids are a group of chemical substances found both in the human body and in nature. Cannabinoids make up the endocannabinoid system in the body, a system that plays a role in the communication between the brain and the body. It plays an important role in many functions of the body, including the immune response, mood, metabolism, and memory.
In medical marijuana, cannabinoids are found in the cannabis sativa plant. There are over 100 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) being the two most notable. While THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, CBD is believed to moderate or reduce the psychoactive effects of THC. It can also have anti-psychoactive effects.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Cannabinoids?
Focusing on two specific cannabinoids, THC and CBD, reveals a variety of different health benefits. THC and CBD have different benefits when taken medicinally. THC can provide medical relief for symptoms of various diseases and conditions, including:
Chronic pain, insomnia, glaucoma, loss of appetite, nausea, anxiety, autism
Because CBD offers some health benefits without the psychoactive component of THC, it is an ideal choice for medicinal marijuana users who do not want to experience those special sensations. CBD was used to relieve conditions such as:
Seizures and epilepsyChronic inflammationChronic painPsychosis or mental disorders including anxiety and depressionNauseaMigraine headacheGastrointestinal disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease
Which diseases can be treated with CBD oil?
The aforementioned conditions such as migraines, seizure disorders, and chronic pain and inflammation are all classified as approved conditions for CBD use as a medicinal product.
Other health conditions that can benefit from regular use of CBD oil include cancer, neurodegenerative diseases like multiple sclerosis, and heart disease. Recent studies have shown that using CBD oil for cancer helped reduce nausea, vomiting, and pain in patients undergoing chemotherapy.
In the case of neurodegenerative disease, a specific study found that using an oral spray known as Sativex reduced cramping in 75% of the patients tested. Other studies have shown that patients with Parkinson’s disease experienced improvements in both quality of sleep and overall quality of life after treatment with CBD oil. A study conducted in mice also found that rodents, genetically predisposed to developing Alzheimer’s disease, experienced reductions in cognitive decline when treated with CBD.
The medicinal use of cannabinoids like CBD oil for heart disease has shown that in patients with high blood pressure, blood pressure can drop at rest. One particular study also gave the participants stress tests. The patients on a single dose of CBD had lower blood pressure increases than those on the placebo.
New research continues to be published on the use of CBD oil for a variety of different health conditions. Many studies show that there is promise in the area of medicinal cannabinoid uses.
What are the side effects of cannabinoids?
While cannabinoids have been shown to have beneficial effects on many health conditions, they can also have a variety of different side effects. In the case of THC, side effects can occur with both short-term and long-term use.
Short-term THC side effects are temporary and can include:
Increased heart rate. Dry mouth. Red eyes. Loss of memory. Increased anxiety. Decreased reaction times. Decreased coordination skills. Poor judgment. Paranoia and psychosis when ingested in large quantities
The long-term side effects of THC typically only occur when taken in high doses over a long period of time. These side effects can include:
Changes in brain development when used in early adolescence Chronic bronchitis (typical of smoking) An increased risk of developing psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia (in patients with a predisposition to develop these disorders)
When using CBD medicinally, the side effects may differ from those of THC. Short-term side effects of CBD include:
Changes in appetite weight loss dizziness gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea fatigue
Because CBD is largely well tolerated by most people, the side effects are generally mild or nonexistent. However, it can interact with certain drugs, such as blood thinners. Therefore, it is important to consider personal medical history before starting any CBD treatment.
Image by Jeff W on Unsplash: What are cannabinoids and how can they be used in a medical context?
Methods of ingestion
For those who want to take advantage of the benefits of using medicinal cannabinoids while reducing the risk of developing certain lung problems from smoking, there are several different ways to ingest cannabinoids. Many popular methods include topical creams; Foods like candy, chocolate, beverages, and powders; and oils.
Choosing the right cannabinoid and dosage method for you is important on your path to wellbeing. Research into medical marijuana continues to grow and currently, the benefits of cannabinoids far outweigh the risks for many people suffering from a chronic health condition.
Selected image from herbadea Berlin on Unsplash