Cannabinoids are a family of compounds found in cannabis and other plants containing a chemical compound with a similar structure to THC or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Cannabinoids have numerous side effects when used properly and in moderation. Commonly associated with coughing, lung cancer, and weakening of the bones and joints, it can be smoked, eaten or injected. It is currently illegal in many countries and considered to be a controlled substance. However, the medicinal properties of cannabis have been known since ancient times and the therapeutic properties have been proven time and again. As with other drugs, using cannabis can cause dangerous side effects if it is used incorrectly and in large quantities.
The Medicinal Uses of cannabis goes back to the beginning of recorded history when it was used as a food source by ancient cultures such as the ancient Egyptians. The Greeks also used it to treat many different maladies. In fact, the earliest known use of cannabis is recorded in the Abywordihydrotic, an herbal poultice made from hemp seeds soaked in olive oil or other liquids and used to treat abrasions and wounds. The ancient Chinese also used it medicinally, while the Hindus used it to alleviate constipation. The hemp plant itself is rich in a number of medicinal compounds including enzymes, terpenoids and phytochemicals. It is believed that the phytochemicals help to counteract the destructive affects of some of the more harmful pesticides used by humans today.
When taken as a dietary supplement, or smoked as an herbal entheogen, it has been shown to have a variety of beneficial medicinal properties. Cannabinoids relieve the symptoms of various forms of nausea, including cancer, chemotherapy, irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, and others. It is also effective in treating chemotherapy patients and HIV patients as well as epileptic children and those with a genetic predisposition to epilepsy. It has been successfully used to combat fatigue, reduce appetite, and alleviate the symptoms of arthritis. In the medical community, cannabis sativa is being studied as a possible treatment for alcoholism and drug withdrawal in AIDS patients and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
There are many reported cases of fatal overdoses caused by consuming cannabis plant extracts, but there is no clear evidence to support these claims. If ingested, the toxic dose depends on the potency of the particular species of cannabis plant used. While dried leaves contain a relatively mild amount of THC, whole plants contain varying amounts depending on where the plants were gathered and how they were processed. With consumption over a period of time, however, the potential dangers increase. The intoxicating effect of the drug can lead to a complete cessation of all physical activities, as well as a devastating effect on one’s mental functioning.
To date, the medicinal properties of cannabis are not fully understood. No complete list of medicinal properties has been identified for the cannabis plant, although CBD, an oral form of the plant, has been found to have some medicinal properties in some medical trials. Some evidence suggests that CBD may help prevent seizures in children, improve blood flow to the brain and ease symptoms of cerebral palsy. A Canadian clinical trial involving the use of dried leaves of the cannabis plant was recently stopped due to the occurrence of a rare but potentially fatal overdose of the chemical. The Canadian government is now looking into introducing legislation to make CBD available for sale in pharmacies.
Although there is still much more evidence to be produced in regards to the medicinal and psychoactive properties of cannabis, it is likely that future research will find conclusive evidence both in favour and against the plant. It is currently illegal in most countries to purchase or sell cannabis and those caught doing so face substantial fines. Those who grow the cannabis plants for personal use face harsher punishments. Although cannabis is most commonly thought of as a drug, it has also been found to have many positive healing qualities.