For more than 5,000 years, cannabis or marijuana has a rich history of traditional use as a botanical medicine and industrial material across America, Africa, Asia, and Europe.
But medical marijuana is the whole and unprocessed form of the plant and its extracts to either improve a symptom or treat a disease. To qualify as medical marijuana, it must be cultivated under excellent supervision without the influence of toxic fertilizers and pesticides. The incredible healing properties of marijuana are due to the rich content of medical flavonoids and terpenes with the renowned cannabidiol (CBD).
In addition, it contains a molecule – tetrahyrocannabidinol – which is responsible for the psychoactive effects experienced by recreational users. Even though medical marijuana is totally unapproved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a few physicians continue to attest to the impeccable health benefits of the plant.
How marijuana works and the diseases it is used for: Since the 19th and 20th centuries, marijuana has been adopted as a botanical medicine. Presently, the stance of physicians about the ‘potential panacea’ benefits of marijuana is due to the potential healing property of the content cannabidiol. In the human body, there is an endocannabinoid system. This ancient biological system is believed to be the agent behind the release of human cannabinoids. Since the human cell membranes contain the cannabinoid receptors, the cannabinoids interact with them. These receptors are found in the liver, brain, kidneys, lungs, and the immune system. The activation of the cannabinoid receptor by the cannabinoid results in the psychoactive and therapeutic properties of marijuana.
Although research doesn’t say much about the extent of the impact of the receptors on health, they are an important part of different body processes such as bone growth, cravings, anxiety, metabolic regulation, and immune function. Generally, the biological system is effectively balanced by cannabinoids.
A few scientists have mentioned their success in treating patients with medical marijuana. One of such is Dr. Allan Frankel in California who treats cancer patients with the plant. He documented his continuous breakthroughs in eliminating tumors in patients when they ingest about 60 mg of cannabinoids in 24 hours. Other ailments that have supported the healing properties of marijuana include:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Rheumatoid or osteoarthritis
- Neurological orders such as dystonia
- Seizures and epilepsy
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Different methods of administering marijuana
- Inhalation – this is the titration of the marijuana dosage. Because of the rapid absorption of the medication into the lungs, there is an instantaneous effect especially when the capillaries absorb them into the bloodstream. Scientifically, inhaled cannabis can last for about four hours.
- Smoking – through a pipe, a joint or a bong, smoking of marijuana is done. People consider smoking medical marijuana to be ineffective because the medication is lost as smoke when the cigarette burns.
- Sublingual delivery – the marijuana provides a rapid effect in the bloodstream in the form of tinctures or oils. A tincture is either sprayed in the mouth for absorption in the oral cavity or administered via a dropper. Non-smoking patients find this method useful.
- Topical application – topical application is in form of lotion, ointment, or poultice. These forms are suitable for treating muscle pain, skin inflammations, and arthritis.
- Vaporization – also known as vape or vaping, the cannabis is heated to a temperature which releases the medication in form of vapors. This is similar to a nebulizer treatment.
Finally, several health bodies and scientists such as the American Cancer Society (ACS) support the need for more research on the application of cannabinoids and marijuana for medical treatments. Nevertheless, it is important that the medicine is from a medicinal-grade source without interference from chemical residues.