Cannabis as Medicine
Cannabis has been used medicinally by humans since at least 2737 BCE. It’s uses as a non-medicine, for cords dates back over 10,000 years. It’s history around the world is rich and full of industrial and medicinal uses by the native populations that cultivated in their home lands.
What makes Cannabis medicine? The main components of Cannabis that act on our endocannabanoid system (ECS) are up to 85 cannabanoids themselves, such as THC, CBD, THC-V, CBG, etc. These cannabanoids have many beneficial effects on the human body such as anti-inflammatory and anti-septic properties. There are also terpenes, and flavanoids which work through taste and smell and provide medicinal effects such as relaxation and alertness.
Presently, Cannabis is being used as medicine to treat a wide variety of symptoms and researchers are starting to learn that Cannabis can also be used as preventative medicine similar to taking supplements for deficiencies. The big two cannabanoids that seem to provide the widest range of relief to patients is THC (Tetrahydrocannabidol) and CBD (Cannabidiol). It is no surprise that the landrace varieties have the most exotic cannabanoid profiles. We see CBD in higher amounts when cannabis has been allowed to naturally propagate itself, for example. Human’s involvement in selective breeding of the cannabis plant has changed many aspects such as breeding out some cannabanoids, be it intentional or not, and increasing yields. For this reason, the landrace strains are still sought after for their unique and sometimes rare cannabinoid profiles.
THC is the psychoactive substance in Cannabis that is responsible for the euphoric effects, and relief of chronic pain in which Cannabis is most often prescribed. In fact, THC has a wide range of medicinal uses not only for treating pain, also sleep disorders, mood and behavior, gastrointestinal and potentially a wide range of diseases and disorders.
CBD is a non-psychoactive substance which is also found in Cannabis that is an effective anti-inflammatory. CBD has been used to treat issues such as anxiety, epilepsy, and pain, just to name a few.
When the cannabanoids are used in whole plant medicine you receive a full spectrum of benefits from the vast range of medicine available in the plant. This has been called the ensemble or entourage effect and can be noticed for example when THC and CBD are used in conjunction, the pain relief effects are improved, compared to their efficacy alone.
Due to the effects of the cannabanoids upon our ECS, a vast number of symptoms or diseases can be treated. While pain is the primary use for cannabis as medicine, it is also being used as a muscle relaxant, treating nausea, irritable bowel syndrome, and even as a replacement for over the counter NSAID’s which can not be taken by patients with kidney disease.
Cannabis is considered to be one of the safest natural medicines. For this reason, it is gaining popularity amongst users seeking relief from their symptoms. Cannabis is a natural medicine that has been used by humans for longer than written history. To this date, we do not know of any human who has ever consumed enough Cannabis to reach the LD-50 dose, because the quantity required is simply too much to quantify within even exaggerated use.