Cannabis is and has been the most widely used illicit drug in the world. With more and more people using it recreationally, there’s been a growing interest in its medical benefits.
Cannabis is a complex plant that has been used for thousands of years to treat illness, improve well-being, and relax the mind.
So what is cannabis exactly? Cannabis is a plant that contains over 160 +/- different cannabinoids — compounds that act on certain receptors in the human body in order to produce a wide range of effects such as relaxation or euphoria. THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol) is one of these compounds; it is responsible for giving users their “high” feeling when they smoke the plant or eat edibles containing THC-infused butter or oil, such as in a cannabis brownie.
The other main active ingredient in cannabis is cannabidiol (CBD), which has been shown through research studies to have therapeutic effects on anxiety disorders, PTSD, inflammation, pain management and much more.
Cannabis has also been used in skincare products for decades because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s believed that this plant can help reduce acne and even treat skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.
Today, we are beginning to understand how cannabinoids interact with our bodies’ endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a vast network of receptors throughout the body that help regulate everything from mood and sleep to digestion, immune function, pain as well as health and wellness.
Here are just a few examples:
Cannabis has been used for centuries as a natural pain reliever. It’s estimated that more than 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain—making it one of the most common reasons people use medical marijuana today.
Medical marijuana has been shown to reduce muscle spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis.
Cannabis may help relieve nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy treatment for cancer patients as well as those undergoing surgery or having gastrointestinal issues like Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Cannabinoids may help reduce anxiety, depression and stress-related symptoms by stimulating endocannabinoid receptors in the brain that regulate pleasure, memory and appetite control.
Sleep and Anxiety Disorders:
Cannabis stimulates appetite in patients who suffer from loss of appetite due to cancer or AIDS treatment or other conditions that cause weight loss. Medical marijuana can also be beneficial for people who have trouble swallowing.
Cannabis, also known as marijuana, has actually been used in different cultures for thousands of years as a medicine. In fact, the first recorded use dates back to 2737 BC in China. In the United States, cannabis has been used medicinally since at least the 19th century. Americans have been using cannabis as a treatment for everything from cramps to chronic pain and even cancer-related symptoms as noted above, but as a result of its classification as an illegal drug, research into the plant’s potential health benefits has been limited. Here’s a little fun fact, in the 19th century, Queen Victoria used it to soothe menstrual cramps and anxiety, while President Lincoln was known to smoke cannabis before giving important speeches.
However, in recent years, studies and laws have been passed which have shown that cannabis can be beneficial for people with certain conditions and diseases.