What is Medical Cannabis / Marijuana?

Medical cannabis

Medical cannabis, also known as medicinal marijuana or weed, is cannabis that is used to alleviate pain or treat a disease. All marijuana plants that contain enough active cannabinoids will be considered in this way.

The Origin of Cannabis

The non-medical consumption of this plant had its moment of explosion during the decade of the sixties, in university and pacifist environments.

Cannabis has been used therapeutically since the beginning of the history of medicine. The first mention is in a Chinese medicine book about 3,000 years ago.

About a decade ago, a group of botanists found in Gobi Desert, China the oldest stash of marijuana. It was confirmed that these nearly 2 pounds (almost 1 Kg) of cannabis possessed potent psychoactive properties. (Maybe they smoked it, I would!)

“The Yanghai Tombs near Turpan, (…) China have recently been excavated to reveal the 2700-year-old (…) large cache of cannabis, superbly preserved by climatic and burial conditions.”

inPhytochemical and genetic analyses of ancient cannabis from Central Asia“, Journal of Experimental Botany, Volume 59, Issue 15, November 2008, Pages 4171–4182, https://doi.org/10.1093/jxb/ern260

Illustration displaying Chinese cultivating and consuming cannabis in Ancient China
Illustration displaying Chinese cultivating and consuming cannabis in Ancient China

The cannabis Sativa plant is native to Asia, from the eastern zone. It is a plant with a strong and straight stem that can reach up to two meters long. Its dentate leaves are palm-shaped.

There are plants of both the female and male gender. Those that serve for medical treatments are the female plants. The masculine ones help the reproduction of the plant.

Cannabis needs a warm and humid climate to develop properly outdoors.

Once the plant has been developed, we will keep the fruit – the bud – which is where all the active ingredients are.

Depending on the form of consumption and finish we can smoke in resin or chopped grass.

The difference between marijuana and hash, marijuana is the result of crushing leaves and flowers, while hash is the resin obtained by liquefying and pressing the richest parts of the plant.

There are also other modes of consumption, such as hashish oil, which can be obtained by filtering the plant, thus obtaining a greater concentration of active ingredients.

Cannabinoids

Among all the active substances present in hemp, we must highlight the THC, undoubtedly the main psychoactive component of the plant. This is responsible for initiating all reactions that occur in our body and mind once you smoke or inhale a preparation with cannabis.

Currently, to treat diseases or disorders, only the part of the flower, which lacks THC, is used, and the molecule CBD (cannabidiol) is used, which does not present psychotropic substances.

Depending on the amount of CBD this substance can be used to alleviate from diabetes or asthma to eating disorders.

CBD Oils and cannabis buds
CBD Oils and cannabis buds

Throughout history, hemp extract has been used to make all kinds of medicines, such as cough syrup or analgesics. It was from the 30s when the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes was declared illegal.

Recently, it has begun to use this plant for medical purposes obtaining excellent results in the treatment and relief of diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis or anxiety disorders.

In summary, medicinal cannabis will become a very useful natural tool to alleviate the pain of chronic medical disorders.

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