Cannabis is a genus of flowering plant, with male and female flowers, and it is the source of all marijuana and hemp. They are — scientifically speaking — deciduous, flowering herbs, primarily pollinated by the wind. There are three species: Cannabis indica, Cannabis sativa, and Cannabis ruderalis. All three are indigenous to South, Southeast and Central Asia, and all have been used there for centuries, utilizing the whole plant — seeds, seed oils, leaves, buds, and fibers — medicinally, recreationally, and for making rope, paper, and fabrics.
Chemicals called cannabinoids are produced by cannabis plants. These cannabinoids are what produce physical and mental effects when marijuana is consumed. The parts of the cannabis most commonly used as marijuana are the dried leaves and flower buds. Hashish, another popular form, is comprised of resins and extracts of the plant referred to as hashish oil.
There are over 300 compounds found in cannabis and a minimum of 66 are cannabinoids, the basis for the medical use of marijuana. The five of the most important cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant are cannabidiol, cannabigerol, tetrahydrocannabinol, therapeutic cannabinol, and β-caryophyllene.
Cannabidiol makes up about 40% of the medicinal extracts of the marijuana plant, and has no psychoactive effect. It reportedly relieves anxiety, nausea, convulsions, congestion, cough, inflammation, and inhibits cancer cell growth for some patients.
Cannabigerol is like cannabidiol in that it too is not psychoactive, but has been shown to lower blood pressure rates in certain patients.
Tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise referred to as THC, is responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana, and acts as a mild analgesic with antioxidant activity. THC is believed to play a role in sleep, pain cessation and memory functions.
Therapeutic cannabinol is found in Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa. It is also a breakdown product of THC, helping that extract to do its job.
β-caryophyllene helps reduce tissue inflammation by selectively activating a cannabinoid receptor known as CB2, offering essential relief.
More on Medical Marijuana
- History of Medical Cannabis
- Synthetic Cannabis Drugs Are Available
- Where Is Medical Cannabis Use Legal? – Medical Marijuana States
- How Is Medical Marijuana Distributed
- How Is It Used or Administered
- Quotations Throughout History About Cannabis
- Final Words