Cannabis (also known as Marijuana) is becoming increasingly popular, thanks to widespread researches regarding the medicinal benefits of Cannabis.
In this article, we shall explore the cannabis plant and the medicinal value that it has to offer. Also, we shall look into how cannabis qualifies to be a medicine.
Before going into the medicinal benefits of cannabis, it is essential to know the parts of a cannabis plant that are usually consumed.
Just like any other plant, flowers take part in reproduction. They have almost all reproductive parts of any other plants like pistil, stigma, etc to assist in the reproduction. Cannabis plants are either male or female and produce only the corresponding flowers, except a few which have both male and female parts. As we shall see later, only the female plants produce smokable cannabis.
Now that we know there are separate male and female plants, we shall now see how they reproduce. When the male and the female plants mature both bear flowers and their pollination causes them to produce seeds that can grow new plants.
There is a 1:1 ratio between the seeds that produce male flowers to those that produce female flowers. Seeds are consumable and are non-psychotic because of the absence of psychotic compounds.
A mature female plant produces buds in the absence of pollination. This part of a female cannabis plant is extensively smoked, vaporized or processed to obtain oils which will have psychotic properties. This is not present in a male plant. This is exactly why people don’t encourage male plants.
A fine resin coat made of Trichomes surrounds all the cannabis buds. These Trichomes are exactly where the compounds like THC, Cannabinoids (CBD), etc. are secreted. This is the part which gives intense euphoric feeling when smoked.
Now that we know about the consumable parts of a Cannabis plant, it would be meaningful to know about various concentrates of cannabis.
The Concentration of cannabis is a process of separating only those parts which have cannabinoids (mostly buds) and extracting only the required compounds to ensure complete purification.
Concentration adds more potency to cannabis so that you consume lesser amount with more effects. There are various types of concentrates.
Here, the cannabis plant material is dissolved in liquids (solvents) and then purified. This process aims at eliminating the impurities by losing as fewer terpenes and cannabinoids as possible.
Mostly used solvents are butane, propane, alcohol, and CO2. A Typical way of concentrating is to pass the solvent through cannabis plant material or strains like Orange Kush Cannabis (concentration using alcohol is an exception as they soak the material in alcohol for some time). The name of the solvent is usually the prefix to the name of the compound. For example, Butane Hash Oil (BHO) gets its name from Butane, which is the solvent.
#2 Solventless Concentration
This is the oldest method used for cannabis extraction. There are no chemicals used, but the resins are separated and consumed directly from the buds. Some of the concentrates obtained through this technique include Bubble hash (concentrating using cold water or ice), kief (gathering trichomes by passing the flower against a fine screen) and Rosin or Solventless Hash Oil (SHO) obtained by applying heat and pressure to concentrate.
It is noteworthy that solvent-based technique yields concentrate with higher concentrations than those obtained through solventless techniques.
Let us now see how cannabis is useful as a medicine.
Cannabis has several medicinal properties. Few of them are:
#1 Cannabis helps to relieve anxiety
The utility of cannabis for relieving the symptoms of anxiety is very well known. Use of CBD for anxiety is gaining momentum these days due to increased stress and anxiety levels in today’s world. (NCBI)
#2 It helps relieve pain due to chemotherapy
Cancer is a very painful illness. Discomforts like cramps, nausea accompany this pain as the side-effects of chemotherapy. Cannabis (especially CBD and THC) have pain relieving qualities. This helps the patient to lead a comfortable life with less pain. What more, studies show that cannabis can treat certain types of cancers. (NCBI)
#4 It slows down the growth of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease is the gradual degeneration of the brain due to the ageing process. Consumption of cannabis in small quantities regularly reduces the advancement of Alzheimer’s, thus keeping your brain in a good state for a longer time. (NCBI)
#5 It can treat problems ranging from arthritis, headache to muscle spasms and multiple sclerosis
Cannabis offers a natural remedy to such problems, without the need of troubling your stomach or liver to digest the strong medicines. ( NCBI)
#6 It helps regulate certain psychological problems
Cannabis helps in effective management of psychological issues like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). (NCBI)
#7 Uses for Animals –With the increase in popularity of cannabis use among humans, now cannabis companies have an eye over the veterinary market. There are many kinds of CBD oils that are exclusively for animals. They usually do not contain psychotic compounds. So, animals will not experience highs when administered to them. Researches and surveys have shown that cannabis cures certain types of cancer and other illnesses in animals. (NCBI)
This, however, is not a complete list. There are many other ailments that cannabis cures like certain skin ailments, calming asthma attacks, certain STDs such as herpes and so on.
Many countries also permit their doctors to prescribe cannabis as a medicine. For example, Florida allows cannabis use for medicinal purposes and there are specially qualified Florida Marijuana doctors who are appointed to ensure that the patients have a genuine reason for cannabis consumption.
Let us hope that the path for medical marijuana becomes easy everywhere so that the patients who need it get timely access to it.
Let us end this article with a fun fact. There is a huge craze about the number 420 among cannabis consumers. Cannabis lovers gather on April 20( that’s right on 4/20) and consume cannabis at 4:20 PM sharp. It all started when a gang of five high school students in 1971 called “The Waldos” set out in the hunt of the treasure of an abandoned cannabis crop. They had decided to meet exactly at 4:20 PM at their regular meeting place. It seems they didn’t find the crop, but the meeting time became a hit to that extent that the signboards with the number go frequently missing. Crazy, isn’t it?