Top 5 Reasons Medical Cannabis is Effective Across a Wide Range of Conditions
by Jerry Golick
Every day there is another story about the benefits of medical cannabis in treating a particular ailment. From pain management to Parkinson’s, to PTSD, the list seems never ending. How is it possible for one plant to be effective across such a wide range of conditions? Here are the top five reasons:
The endocannabinoid system (ECS):Discovered in 1992 by the famous Israeli chemist Raphael Mechoulam, this system of receptors (CB1 and CB2), enzymes and endocannabinoids is probably the most significant medical discovery of the second half of the 20th century. The endocannabinoid system has now been identified as being instrumental in regulating almost all of the body’s systems, the immune system in particular.
The pervasiveness of CB1 and CB2 receptors: These receptors (part of the ECS) are profuse and pervasive not only in the human body but in all vertebrates. There are more CB1 receptors in the human brain than opioid receptors, and the CB2 receptors are spread throughout the body. We are still learning about their role but it is now clear they assist the immune system in dealing with inflammation, pain, digestion, and a host of other conditions.
The number of cannabinoid compounds and terpenes: While THC and CBD are perhaps the best known cannabinoid compounds present in the plant, there have been over 100 different cannabinoids identified to date, many of which appear to promote human health but which require a great deal more study. In addition, the cannabis plant contains dozens of terpenes which give cannabis its smell have been implicated in a wide variety of positive health
The entourage effect: Back in the eighties many pharmaceutical companies synthesized THC. The rationale was that since this was the active compound, the others were not required to achieve the benefits of cannabis consumption. Turns out they were wrong. By and large, synthetic cannabis has been a failure. Today there is a much higher recognition that it is the total set of compounds in the cannabis plant working together which provides positive benefits. This is called the entourage effect. In part, this is why cannabis is now considered to exhibit a wide range of important characteristics such as neuroprotectant, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, analgesic, and anti-nausea.
It is an Essential Nutrient not a Drug: Hundreds of years ago sailors used to suffer from a disease known as scurvy. The problem turned out to be a lack of vitamin C in the diet. By providing more fresh citrus to the sailors, this condition could be avoided entirely. Should we therefore consider vitamin C to be a drug or medicine? The idea that the plants we consume contain nutrients essential for human health is certainly well understood. We are encouraged to eat a wide variety of foods to get the full range of nutrients our body requires to function. These include vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, probiotics, etc. Our body actually produces cannabinoid compounds (called “endocannabinoids”), the best-known being anandamide which is responsible for the “runner’s high” that often comes with an intense workout. As explained, these compounds have now been implicated in regulating a wide range of conditions. Therefore, it is not that difficult to imagine that the compounds in the cannabis plant, specifically the cannabinoids, may also contain essential nutrients. In other words, we should stop thinking of cannabis as a pharmaceutical drug intended to “cure” diseases, but more like an essential compound similar to protein, fat, etc, required by the body to deal with the many toxins, bacterias, viruses, etc, to which we are exposed on a daily basis.
Bonus Item – Even the U.S. Government knows: In 2003 the U.S. Government granted itself a patent covering the use of the cannabis derived compounds as antioxidants and neuroprotectants.
About the Author
Jerry Golick, medical cannabis expert with over 20 years of experience. Jerry has been giving lectures on Medical Cannabis to Seniors for decades as well as assisting Physicians in developing educational programs for them. He has given seminars, lectures, and has his articles published by numerous noteworthy publications. For more details please contact Jerry directly at firstname.lastname@example.org