The Science Behind the Therapeutic Benefits of Medical Cannabis

by Carter Toni

Medical Cannabis

Medical cannabis is a complex and multifaceted issue that encompasses various aspects of society, including politics, science, and mental health. In essence, medical cannabis has the potential to provide significant benefits, but it also involves certain risks.

Despite the growing conversation and debate surrounding the use of medical cannabis, many people still lack the necessary information to form a well-informed opinion. Whether you support or oppose the legalisation of medical cannabis, it is crucial to educate yourself and understand the facts, as this issue has far-reaching implications for society as a whole.

What is Medical Cannabis?

Medical cannabis, also referred to as medical marijuana, has been used to treat a variety of health conditions and symptoms. Despite being occasionally prescribed by healthcare professionals from the medical cannabis clinics, extensive scientific research and clinical trials to determine its safety and efficacy have been hindered by government regulations, thereby resulting in heavy restrictions on its production.

However, there have been promising early indications that medical cannabis and its active compounds can have therapeutic benefits. This includes reducing the side effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea and vomiting, increasing appetite in individuals with HIV/AIDS, as well as alleviating chronic pain and muscle spasms. Despite this, additional comprehensive studies will be needed to fully understand the impact of medical cannabis on a variety of health conditions.

How Does Medical Cannabis Work?

The medical cannabis plant contains a group of over 100 different chemical compounds known as phytocannabinoids. In a similar manner, the human body also produces its own cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids, which can impact feelings of hunger, sleep, memory, pain, and inflammation.

Meanwhile, the two most widely used phytocannabinoid compounds in medicinal cannabis products are namely, delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Scientists are exploring the potential benefits of using THC and CBD together, such as managing seizures and reducing symptoms of pain and anxiety.

To dive into the finer details, THC is the compound responsible for the euphoric effect that is often experienced by those consuming recreational cannabis. More specifically, THC has been shown to alleviate nausea, vomiting, pain, muscle spasms, improve sleep, and stimulate appetite. In contrast, CBD does not cause a “high” feeling and has been found to reduce negative side effects associated with THC, such as diarrhoea, confusion, hallucinations, and psychosis.

How Should Medical Cannabis Be Consumed?

It is important to take note that medicinal cannabis is not considered a first-line treatment for any health condition. Instead, medical cannabis is only prescribed after other approved treatments have failed to provide relief.

Prior to beginning any medical cannabis-associated medication, it is important to seek guidance from your healthcare provider or pharmacist regarding the recommended dosage, administration method, and potential adverse effects. What’s more, if your physician decides to prescribe medical cannabis, it is crucial to adhere to the recommended dose strictly.

Besides that, medical cannabis comes in various forms, including sublingual sprays, oils, liquid capsules, tablets, and inhalable vapour or steam. In essence, it is imperative to note that smoking cannabis products are not recommended as it poses a significant risk for heart disease, cancer, stroke, and other serious health concerns.

The Bottom Line

As the field of medical cannabis research continues to evolve, the potential for new discoveries and breakthroughs is immense. The plant itself contains a diverse range of compounds known as phytocannabinoids, each with its own unique properties and effects. These compounds have the ability to interact with the endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for maintaining various physiological processes and functions in the body.

Despite the great strides made in understanding medical cannabis, there is still much to be uncovered about the mechanisms behind its impact on the human body and its potential therapeutic applications. With that, as research continues to advance, the exciting possibilities of what can be achieved with medical cannabis remain to be seen.

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