The Endocannabanoid System
January 19, 2018

Cannabis – Used as an Herb

Cannabis Used as an Herb

Header

The Body's Natural Chemicals

Scientists have proven that cannabis helps the body's natural chemicals work better when fighting pain and uncomfortable symptoms like nausea. It gets pretty technical reading about neuron sensors and brain receptors, but the research is solid. The genus Cannabis contains two species which produce psychoactive cannabinoids and are used in herbal medicine. Both Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa are very useful in alternative medicine. Too bad they are listed as Schedule One medicinal plants in the US (along with heroin and cocaine) making them illegal to possess. A third species, Cannabis ruderalis, has few psychogenic properties but is useful for making hemp rope. The Cannabis plant has a history of medicinal use dating back thousands of years and across many cultures. Since ancient humans used hemp seed as food, it was quite natural for them to also discover that the plant contained medicinal properties. Ancient Egyptian scrolls from 1550 B.C. mention medical cannabis. The writings describe adding cannabis to suppositories for relieving the pain of hemorrhoids. In ancient India, cannabis was used for treating insomnia, headaches, gastrointestinal disorders, and pain. The Ancient Greeks used cannabis leaves to treat nose bleeds and cannabis seeds to expel tapeworms. In the medieval Islamic world, physicians used cannabis to treat edema, epilepsy, inflammation, and pain. It's no surprise that marijuana has healing powers, but whether or not using it to treat common ailments should be legalized continues to be a hot topic of debate among government leaders and medical practitioners alike. Marijuana comes from the cannabis plant, an herb whose leaves can be extracted and used as a recreational drug, allowing users to feel a euphoric high. But the cannabis plant has many non-psychoactive properties as well. Cannabidiol, also known as CBD is a substance extracted from the cannabis plant that has been proven to have all the healing powers of marijuana without the psychoactive properties.

Safety and Efficacy

Cannabis and its psychoactive cannabinoid, THC, are considered incredibly safe for human consumption. The Drug Awareness Warning Network Annual Report, published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), contains a statistical compilation of all drug deaths which occur in the United States. According to this report, there has never been a death recorded from the use of cannabis. In fact, many studies show it is physically impossible for a human to die from a cannabis overdose. The documented use of cannabis as a safe and effective therapeutic botanical dates to 2700 BC. Between 1840 and 1900, European and American journals of medicine published more than 100 articles on the therapeutic use of cannabis. In fact, cannabis was part of the American pharmacopoeia until 1942, and is currently available by prescription in Canada, the Netherlands, Israel, and Germany.

Therapeutic Benefits

The cannabis plant has been around for centuries. It is believed to have originated in Central Asia, but has expanded its reach to an international scale over time. People all around the globe consume cannabis and their reasoning is largely the same: it makes them feel better. We know that humans have cannabinoid receptors housed inside the body that are ready to bind with cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant to provide therapeutic benefits for a variety of ailments. In fact, cannabinoid receptors are present in humans before birth and the compounds themselves are even found in a mother’s breast milk. Medical cannabis gains merit when you consider our bodies are naturally tuned to interact with cannabinoids, and even more so when you acknowledge the growing evidence of benefits to cannabis consumption.

Cannabis & Digestion

It is no secret – experiencing “the munchies” is one of the most obvious cannabis clichés. Despite the silly connotation, studies suggest that the endocannabinoid system actually helps modulate appetite. This is especially interesting for the treatment of eating disorders. In fact, a study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders suggests that cannabinoids may prove effective in treating anorexia. Cannabis is also famously used to reduce the feelings of nausea but studies suggest it could have a number of digestive benefits as well. Medical marijuana could play a role in a number of digestion-related health conditions including: Crohn’s Disease and Cannabis Obesity and Cannabis Diabetes and Cannabis

Pain Management

Chronic Pain is one of the most common ailments for which doctors prescribe medical marijuana and a recent survey published in The Spine Journal found that 1 out of 5 patients at a Colorado spine center were using cannabis to manage their pain. Of those, nearly 90% said it greatly or moderately relieved their pain. The spine clinic study was merely a survey, which means more research will be necessary on the potential role of cannabis in treating back pain. With that said, plenty of people will tell you it helps manage pain and science is beginning to back their claims. Studies suggest medical marijuana could offer relief for various types of pain, including the following: Chronic Pain and Cannabis Neuropathic Pain and Cannabis