The Medicinal Wonders in Cannabis
Cannabis used for therapeutic procedures dates back all the way to 2700 BC, when it was part of ancient Chinese medicine. It wasn’t until 1841 that medical cannabis was introduced into Western Medicine, and its popularity only spread. By the 1930s and 1940s, the fear of recreational cannabis leading to socially deviant behaviours grew, and additional legislation banned cannabis-based medicines all over the world.
Decades later, scientists have returned to examining this fascinating plant, dissecting its characteristics, and the medical powers within them.
The Therapeutic Effects of Terpenes and Cannabinoids
Terpenes are just one part of the cannabis plant that promotes mental and muscle relaxation. Secreted in the same glands that produce cannabinoids like THC and CBD, terpenes are aromatic oils that offer distinctive flavours, smelling similar to mint, berries, or citrus flavours. Science suggests these aromas from the plant exist to repel natural predators, but luckily for us, combinations of them and cannabinoids can be used for therapeutic purposes. With over 100 varieties of terpenes, the different mixtures of them and cannabinoids can create a multitude of profiles that can create different bodily reactions and effects. Simply inhaling these compounds can help with alertness, memory retention, elevating moods to even acting as an antibacterial agent in your body.
Using Cannabis for Pain Relief
Many clinical studies including this one from 2007, showed a link between using cannabis and experiencing pain relief for a multitude of conditions. The results also suggested cannabinoids inhibit neuronal transmission in pain pathways, and THC and CBD have been found to block the release of serotonin from platelets induced by plasma from patients experiencing heavy migraines.
Mental Health and Cannabis
Cannabis has also been found to be a type of treatment for users with bipolar disorders mania, and even depression from this study’s findings. From these clinical trials, there have been cases of patients reporting less uncontrollable feelings of anger, rage, and sadness. Upon further investigation, scientists have also found cannabinoids help those who suffer from PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. This 1990 study tested repeated doses of CBD on rats and some derivatives were found to cause an anxiolytic effect, the same and a significant improvement in anxiety was noted.
Treating Chronic Disorders and Diseases with Cannabis
Scientists have also done trials with patients suffering from neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease (PD). This disease causes a degeneration of dopamine-containing neurons of the substantia nigra, which leads to irreversible loss of typical motor systems, causing tremors and shakes. A study from 2014 saw the use of cannabinoids offered some beneficial effects in treatment by mitigating these tremors, pain and even improving sleep quality.
Tourette syndrome is a complex inherited disorder characterized by an elevation of motor and vocal tics. This 2003 study showed that THC in cannabis reduced tics in Tourette syndrome patients.
More to be discovered
We know that cannabis was used for centuries as a medicinal plant, and are only just scratching the surface at the many ways cannabis can be used to treat an array of ailments. Whether it be to simply relax, treat pain, or curve uncontrollable movements, there is no question that cannabis will continue to grow in being a vital part of practicing medicine.