Getting to Know Cannabis and the Cannabinoids

Plants are helpful. They give human the oxygen for breathing, food for a living, and natural chemicals for healing. By reading the initial statement, you’ll probably think that all plants are widely accepted by human and society; however, the truth is, not all. Some plants are being used to create medicines and alternatives, while others are used in recreational ways. That is the main reason why the community does not totally accept every single plant. To tell you a story, there is a plant that is facing legal and social troubles today – the cannabis plant.

Getting to Know Cannabis

Cannabis plant have been receiving a lot of criticisms from people today, but not before. Why? Because cannabis has played an essential role in the history of mankind. In fact, there is an oldest written data involving how China legally used cannabis date back from 2727 B.C. The origin of the most controversial seven-leaf plant began when Chinese Emperor Shen Nung used it for relaxing and relieving stress. Not to mention that most of the Chinese people before had used it for medicinal and recreational purposes also. Some used it as incense or a part of religious activities, while others used it as an herbal medicine for treating malaria and other inflammatory diseases. Aside from China, the use of cannabis also spread in some part of Europe, America, Africa, and Asia.

Along with the popularity of cannabis in many countries are the names that people around the world gave to it. Some called it marijuana, pot, hemp, and ganja. These names are from the cultures and beliefs of people who had encountered the plant. For instance, the term “marijuana” was never a part of American history before, rather, Americans usually used the word “cannabis” when talking about the medicinal uses of the plant. However, as the year 1910 arrived, almost 890,000 Mexicans immigrated to the U.S. to seek help and protection from the civil war. Mexicans do not only bring themselves, but also their traditions, and one of these “traditions” is smoking.

Although cannabis is already a part of American culture since the very beginning, smoking is not a common method of consumption. However, everything changed soon after the arrival of Mexicans. Every citizen and immigrants were free to use, purchase and grow the plant, not long before the 1930s. It is the year when Harry Anslinger, the First Director of Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1930, created a stigma about the cannabis and within the same year, the medical cannabis was banned and given the name of “marijuana.” That’s how cannabis culture ended.

Despite the stigma and controversies, at present, cannabis is gaining back what it has lost before. Although it is still illegal under the federal government in the whole United States, thirty-three states are turning their confusions and speculations about medical cannabis into reality. In fact, most of these 33 states began to decriminalized medical cannabis, and the first to do so was Colorado in 2000. The main ground for this move was the medicinal researches regarding cannabis and its potential health benefits. These potential health benefits are said to be: (1) potent anti-inflammatory substance, (2) pain reliever, (3) stress and anxiety reliever, and (4) chemical compounds that have hundreds of health benefits.

Regarding the hundreds of chemical compounds, experts called it the “cannabinoids.”Upon the study, experts found that there are two major ingredients of cannabinoids – the CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Along with findings in cannabinoids is the news about how medical cannabis worked effectively in treating diseases such as:

  • Glaucoma
  • Cancer (by killing cancer cells)
  • Epilepsy
  • Anxiety
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Arthritis
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Eliminates nightmare
  • Muscle Spasm
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • and Trauma

These are only a few out of numbers of diseases that medical cannabis and its cannabinoids showed considerable effects. On the other hand, the two main ingredients of cannabis also received separate studies and criticisms from people.

Cannabinoids – CBD and THC

When talking about cannabis, it refers to the plant as a whole, including seeds, roots, stem, leaves, and flowers. However, when it comes to cannabinoids, these are the chemicals, and two out of hundreds of compounds are CBD and THC. Cannabidiol (CBD) received thousands of studies soon after the result of the initial clinical trial which includes the potential health benefits of it alone. THC on the other hand, although results showed positive effects, this compound received lots of criticisms because of its intoxicating effects. Today, whenever people talked about CBD, they usually think that it is the non-psychoactive compound, while THC is the psychoactive one.

Although it is true, there is still positive effects that both compounds are sharing with each other. For instance, in the case of CBD, there are findings that it has beneficial properties such as:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-seizure
  • Antioxidant
  • Antiviral
  • Neuroprotective

These properties are said to help people suffering from different diseases such as cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, hypertension, and more. However, THC also has health benefits, and these are:

  • Pain Reliever
  • Reduces vomiting and nausea
  • Sleep Aid
  • Treats symptoms of PTSD
  • Protects the brain cells
  • Manages appetite
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Antibacterial
  • and Relaxant

As you can see, THC is not just about giving a person the intoxicating effects, but also help individuals who are suffering from health conditions. Among all these mentioned properties and health benefits, these two chemicals are worth knowing because of its anti-inflammatory abilities. Generally, most of the existing diseases today showed traces of inflammation. For this reason, CBD and THC are included in some studies regarding treatment for different inflammatory diseases.

Regardless of the health benefits, cannabis as a whole and its cannabinoids are currently facing difficulties concerning medicinal, recreational, legal and social acceptance. In fact, as of today, only two countries out of 195 legalized the medical cannabis, and only several places accept its uses either medical or recreational.

To sum it all, cannabis is not just an illegal drug, but it is also a helpful plant that can act as an alternative for chemically-made medications. Despite struggles, the plant itself is proving how it can help people in many ways including living, sleeping, eating, breathing, and most aspects of humankind.

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