What is Medical Cannabis?
Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is a plant believed to have evolved in Central Asia. Today, cannabis is grown all over the world. The cannabis plant produces resins which contain compounds called cannabinoids. Some cannabinoids are psychoactive, affecting the function of the brain and mental processes. The cannabinoids are active compounds in the plant that affect the entire body, especially the central nervous system and immune system. These cannabinoids are known as phytocannabinoids.
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC, is the principal psychoactive cannabinoid of cannabis. Another psychoactive cannabinoid of cannabis is Cannabidiol, or CBD, which helps to relieve pain and treat infections without the usual "high" produced by THC. Cannabinoids also help in the treatment cancer and the physical side effects of cancer treatments. In addition, cannabinoids are effective as anti-inflammatory agents, possess antiviral properties, they may inhibit tumor cell development, and help in halting the growth of blood vessels that feed cancerous tumors.
The use of cannabis for medical purposes is more than 3,000 years old. Western medicine has incorporated the use of cannabis since the beginning of the 19th century, and early reports indicate that it helped in relieving pain, treating infections, and control spasms and jerks in patients. In the last 20 years, research has focused on the effect of cannabinoids on the brain and other body organs. Cannabinoid receptors have been detected in the brain and in nerve cells in other body organs. The presence of cannabinoid receptors in the immune system suggests that cannabinoids have immune-related functions. Furthermore, research shows that medical cannabis helps to slow down the damage done to cells by diabetes, assists in the treatment of Tourette syndrome, Crohn's disease and more.
Cannabis has two different species:
Cannabis Indica has higher levels of CBD compared to THC.
Cannabis Sativa has higher levels of THC to CBD.
The medical consumption of Cannabis Sativa is associated with a "high" and an energizing feeling, and it is therefore more suited for use during the day. The Sativa strains lead to a euphoric "high", stimulate the appetite and can therefore help patients suffering from eating disorders. It is also suggested that Sativa strains ease anxiety.
Indica strains are mainly associated with relaxation, and are therefore more suited for use during the night. Indica strains have a more meditative effect, as opposed to the "high" and energy-inducing Sativa strains.
There are many medical cannabis strains in the market today, including strains made from crossing Sativa and Indica plants. There are also hybrid cannabis strains that combine the best of both worlds. These hybrids will usually have a higher content of either Sativa or Indica, or combine both in equal amounts.
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