Cannabis sativa is a plant commonly known as marijuana. It has been considered a stimulant drug since it causes some drug effects when inhaled or ingested. Marijuana has also been widely used in medical research and development of medicine. The term medical marijuana is used to describe unprocessed marijuana plants and extracts used in the treatment of symptoms and diseases. Cannabinoids are extracts from marijuana that have been used in scientific studies and manufactured into approved medications.
Legal vs. Illegal
The fight for the legalization of marijuana in many countries has been widely supported by research and studies that show that marijuana contains extracts that can treat and manage various symptoms and conditions. Marijuana has been legalized for medical use in many states and countries. However, it is still a controlled substance and there are some areas where one may be charged for possessing certain amounts of the plant illegally
Why is marijuana itself not an approved medicine
In order for any product to be approved as medicine, it needs a lot of studies and clinical trials on human subjects in order to come up with clear benefits and risks of using the product. However, the use of marijuana is experimental among most subjects and the results can be considered speculative since only some cases have been known to benefit from using the plant. Large-scale clinical trials have not been conducted to show the specific benefits and risks of using the plant.
Although there are more than 100 other cannabinoids in the marijuana plant, THC Cannabinoids are the main component in the plant that has mind-altering effects. Extremely powerful cannabinoids illegally manufactured by some scientists have led to serious health problems with continued abuse. Cannabinoids produced by the body help in regulation of blood pressure, concentration, body movements, pain, appetite, senses and thinking and this is why the controlled used of medical marijuana has some benefits to patients.
Medical benefits of marijuana
The two main cannabinoids in marijuana that are of interest to researchers are THC and CBD. In specific doses, THC can increase ones appetite and reduce nausea. THC is used in the manufacture of appetite medications. THC is also used in pain and anti-inflammatory medication.
CBD on the other hand does not affect the mind or ones behavior in any way; however, it does help in pain management and controlling inflammation and pain as well as epileptic seizures and mental illnesses.
There are also other pioneer studies that have begun towards the use of marijuana extracts in cancers. Studies have shown that these extracts can kill certain cancer cells hence slowing the progression of the disease. Other conditions still under study include:
- Autoimmune diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis
- Seizures including Tourette’s and epilepsy
- Substance use disorders such as drug and alcohol addiction
- Mental disorders such ADHD
- Pain and inflammation caused by conditions such as arthritis, back pains and pain resulting from injuries.