Medical cannabis: a brief guide on uses and effects

The cannabis plant ( Cannabis sativa ), popularly known as marijuana, is a plant species with multiple therapeutic and medicinal properties.

Historically it has been used as a medicine, food source and master plant in various spiritual and cultural traditions. It was also used as a raw material for the manufacture of multiple products such as textiles, paper, and fuel, is considered one of the most valuable crops in antiquity.

The first written records on its medicinal use date back to the year 2,737 a. of C. within the Shennong Pharmacopoeia, one of the parents of Chinese medicine.

The buds, or flowers of the female plant, are those that concentrate the greatest amount of compounds with medicinal utility. The main ones are cannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavonoids, produced naturally by the plant.

WHAT ARE CANNABINOIDS?

They are chemical substances capable of activating a physiological system present in the body and brain of all mammals, including humans, called the endocannabinoid system. This system would have as its mission to regulate the proper functioning of the rest of the systems that are part of the organism.

Cannabinoids are a very broad and diverse group of substances, with a chemical structure similar to each other. Three general types of cannabinoids are currently recognized:

—The phytocannabinoids: those synthesized naturally by the cannabis plant.

—Endogenous or endocannabinoid cannabinoids, naturally produced by mammals.

– Synthetic cannabinoids, that is, those that are created in a laboratory.

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THE PHYTOCHANNABINOIDS:

They are those synthesized naturally by the cannabis plant. Currently, about one hundred have been identified. Of these, the most common or relevant are:

– Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ 9 -THC in its chemical formulation, popularly known as THC ). It is the main stimulating component of the plant. It acts as euphoric, analgesic, antiemetic and anti-inflammatory.

– Cannabidiol ( CBD ). Reduces the psychoactive effect of THC. It acts as anxiolytic, antipsychotic, analgesic and antispasmodic.

– Cannabinol ( CBN ). It is produced by oxidizing THC. It acts as a sedative, anticonvulsant, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory.

– Cannabicromeo ( CBC). It is believed to act by intensifying the effect of THC. It acts as an anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and analgesic.

WHAT IS THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM?

It is a complex system that involves the production of endocannabinoid molecules, that is, chemical substances released by the mammalian organism itself, which activate its specific receptors in the body. Of these, the most studied are CB1 and CB2.

This system modulates various physiological functions of our body, such as pain perception, inflammation of organs and tissues, appetite regulation, control of various metabolic functions – such as energy storage, stress and temperature control -, the regulation of sleep and a process of mediation in different processes at the neuronal, cardiovascular, digestive, reproductive and immune levels.

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Several investigations consider it one of the most important systems in the self-regulation and maintenance of the internal systems of our organism (a phenomenon known as “homeostasis”). That is, the endocannabinoid system would aim to maintain the stability of the internal systems of the human body despite the fluctuations caused by the environment.

Endocannabinoids are molecules that act as a natural “key”, causing the activation of the two main receptors identified today: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are mainly located in the central nervous system and are responsible for mediating neuronal processes and the psychoactive effects of certain substances. On the other hand, CB2 receptors are located mainly in the immune system, which they help regulate.

For the endocannabinoid system to function, it is necessary that the receptors described above be chemically activated by the cannabinoids. Its activation produces a series of changes within the cells, which allow the endocannabinoid system to regulate the proper functioning of the body’s physiological processes.

SUBSTITUTES OF CANNABIS

Cannabis has different subspecies ( ssp .) Or varieties, each with different morphological and psychoactive characteristics.

  1. CANNABIS SATIVA SSP. SATIVA

This subspecies ( ssp .) Is native to America, Asia, and Africa. It is characterized by being a subspecies of great height and little foliage, with elongated leaves and a more extensive flowering period than other varieties.

Its medicinal potential generates the following effects: v igorizes relieves pain, reduces nausea and stimulates the appetite .

  1. CANNABIS SATIVA SSP. INDICA :

This subspecies comes mainly from South Asia and the Indian subcontinent, hence its name.

Unlike the Cannabis Sativa Sativa variety, these are compact plants with lots of foliage. They do not reach great height during their growth and have a short flowering period: from six to nine weeks.

Its therapeutic potential generates the following effects: it relieves pain and discomfort, reduces anxiety and stress, induces sleep, helps mitigate spasms and seizures, reduces inflammation and is a potent appetite stimulant.

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  1. CANNABIS SATIVA SSP. RUDERALIS:

A subspecies native to northern Europe and Asia, it is characterized by being a small specimen with a short flowering period, since unlike the indica and Sativa varieties, its flowering period does not depend on the light cycles.

That is why the subspecies ruderalis has been used to modify the genetics of the subspecies already described, thus producing hybrid plants known as auto-flowering or “automatic”, that is, they have a short life cycle of approximately 10 weeks.

  1. HYBRIDS:

These are called cannabis varieties with a different genetic component than their original. The long history of the domestication of the cultivation of this plant species has led to the crossing of different varieties or strains. In this way, it has been possible to obtain different characteristics in the new hybrid plants, with varying percentages of cannabinoids such as THC or CBD, and various presence of terpenes (aromatic molecules produced by the plant).

There is currently a wide variety of hybrid strains with multiple combinations of features. In general, hybrid cannabis plants are good producers of flowers with high percentages of cannabinoids and terpenes, which allows the selection of strains that are best suited to the therapeutic needs of the pathology to be treated.

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MEDICINAL AND / OR THERAPEUTIC EFFECTS

The medicinal and/or pharmacological effects of cannabis that are proven are varied. These depend on the content and types of cannabinoids produced by the particular strain of the plant, as well as on the combination of its other components, the formats used for the preparation of the medicine, in addition to its administration and dosage routes.

Because each plant is different from another, thus generating a unique combination of compounds, the effects of each strain differ from each other.

Despite this, in general, the medicinal use of cannabis will generate the following effects:

  • Feeling of euphoria, relaxation, and sedation.
  • Analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect.
  • Appetite stimulation
  • Reduction of nausea and vomiting.
  • Favorable actions on muscle tone and motor coordination.
  • A decrease in intraocular pressure.
  • Hypothermia.
  • Actions on the respiratory system such as dilation of the bronchi.
  • Cardiovascular effects such as hypotension and tachycardia.
  • Neuroendocrine effects such as the decreased release of different sex hormones and increased release of hormones related to stress responses.
  • Immunomodulatory effects: at low doses, it stimulates the responses of the immune system. In high doses, it decreases them.
  • Antiproliferative effects, that is, prevents the growth of some tumors.
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ILLNESSES SUSCEPTIBLE TO BE TREATED WITH CANNABIS

The combination of two factors, the numerous amount of cannabinoids produced by the plant (one hundred) and the function of the endocannabinoid system (regulating the proper functioning of the body’s physiological processes), allows cannabis to have the power to be used as therapy. Palliative, that is to say, that seeks to reduce or eliminate the side effects of traditional treatments, such as concomitant therapy (to complement and enhance the effect of traditional treatment) or as curative therapy, in numerous pathologies such as:

—Addictions

—Alzheimer

-Anorexy

-Anxiety and depression

—Arthritis and osteoarthritis

-Asthma

-Cancer

-Diabetes

—Distonia

—Dismenorrhea

-Pain

-Posttraumatic stress

-Epilepsy

-Multiple sclerosis

—ELA and spinal cord injury

—Spasticity

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—Fibromyalgia

-Glaucoma

—Gas gastrointestinal diseases (Crohn, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel)

-Hypertension

—Huntington’s disease

-Inflammation

-Insomnia

-Lupus

-Migraine

—Nausea and vomiting

-Osteoporosis

— Parkinson’s disease

-Pruritus

-Psoriasis

-Restless Leg Syndrome

—HDD, hyperactivity, TGD

-Tumors of the central nervous system

-Tourette syndrome

-HIV AIDS

Regardless of the information provided here, if you wish to treat any pathology or medical condition with cannabis medicine, as a foundation we recommend that you always do so under the supervision of a doctor or therapist specialized in the subject.

Source: fundaciondaya.org

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