Cannabinoids, also called cannabis, is a naturally occurring psychotropic drug in the cannabis plant used mainly for recreational and medical purposes. It is not only used by people who partake in the use of cannabis to induce altered states of consciousness, but also by people who are suffering from debilitating illnesses like schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder. These patients find medical marijuana helpful in reducing the painful symptoms that come with their illnesses. For this reason, the sale and distribution of cannabis has been strictly regulated in many countries around the world.
There are two major categories of cannabis plants – sativa and indica. Sativa is the older of the two. It was discovered fairly recently and is considered to be slightly more potent than indica. It contains delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main active component of cannabis.
Cannabinoid receptors are found both in the central nervous system and the immune system. This makes it possible for the cannabis user to be able to consume small amounts of cannabis without immediate side effects. However, cannabis does produce short term side effects that are considered to be just as bad or even worse than the pain relief provided by prescription drugs. The most common side effect is an increased heart rate and blood pressure. The increase in heart rate can cause an emergency situation if the person is experiencing a heart attack or stroke. People who are taking high doses of aspirin, whose risk of acute coronary artery disease is increased due to the fact that they have lower blood concentrations of the blood thinner than those who are not taking aspirin, have also been reported to experience an increase in heart rate and blood pressure after taking cannabis.
However, these side effects are overshadowed by the more serious long-term effects of cannabis plant smoking. Long term exposure to cannabis plant smokers has been shown to cause numerous changes in the human body including severe weakening of the lungs, the development of Lung Cancer, and certain forms of cancers. When a person smokes cannabis plants, the burnt leaves contain a vast amount of residual tar and the user must take great care to avoid inhaling the smoke from the plant. Inhalation of the smoke can lead to serious problems including Lung Cancer.
Chronic Pain can be caused by either acute or chronic pain. Both types of pain can be relieved by the Medical Use of cannabis. For example, Medical Use of cannabis can be used to alleviate the discomfort resulting from arthritis, menstrual cramps, and chemotherapy-related side effects. Recreational use of cannabis is known to alleviate the nausea that results from chemotherapy, and the vomiting associated with the loss of a child.
One of the major reasons why the Medical use of cannabis is recommended is because of the significant amount of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, which is the main reason for the ability to provide a person with a “high”. When THC is ingested in significantly reduced levels, it does not result in an overdose of the substance, but rather provides a sense of well being and comfort. However, when too much THC is absorbed, this can cause a “high”, as the user will feel a lack of control over the body. This “high” may last only for a short time but is often accompanied by severe symptoms such as confusion, anxiety, and irrational behavior. In fact, the Medical Use of cannabis is recommended for the treatment of schizophrenia and other psychoses, where the cause of the illness is unknown. Anecdotal evidence indicates that schizophrenia patients, who have been administered medicinal doses of cannabis, have experienced a reduction in their level of psychosis, and an increase in their ability to remember things.