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What is Cannabis?

Last updated on January 21st, 2023 at 11:55 am

Cannabis is an annual plant in the Cannabaceae family. It grows in many regions around the world. Cannabis has over 100 different chemical compounds called cannabinoids. These cannabinoids interact with receptors found all throughout our body to produce various effects, including relief from pain, anxiety, and nausea; as well as promote sleep; protect our brain cells; and keep our heart healthy. (Cannabis is illegal or banned in many countries, including India)

What is cannabis and what is it used for?

Cannabis refers to a group of three plants with psychoactive properties, known as Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis.

When the flowers of these plants are harvested and dried, you’re left with one of the most common drugs in the world. Some call it to weed, some call it pot, and others call it marijuana.

What is marijuana?

As weed becomes legal in more areas, names for it are growing. Today, more and more people are using the term cannabis to refer to weed. Some argue that it’s a more accurate name. Others feel it’s more neutral compared to terms like weed or pot, which some people still associate with its illegal use. Cannabis is usually consumed by its relaxing and calming effects. In some U.S. states, it’s also prescribed to help with a range of medical conditions, including chronic pain, glaucoma, and poor appetite.

Keep in mind that while cannabis comes from a plant and is natural, it can still have powerful effects, both positive and negative.

What are the components of cannabis?

Cannabis comprises over 120 components, which are known as cannabinoids. Experts still aren’t sure what each cannabinoid does, but they have a pretty good understanding of two of them, known as cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Each has its own effects and uses:

  • CBD. This is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, meaning it won’t get you “high.” It’s often used to help reduce inflammation and ease the pain. It also helps with nausea, migraines, seizures, and anxiety. Researchers are still trying to fully understand the effectiveness of their medical use.
  • THC. This is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis. THC handles the “high” that most people associate with cannabis.

Health benefits of cannabis

What Is Marijuana
What Is Marijuana?

Cannabis contains CBD, which is a chemical that affects the brain, making it function better at giving it a high along with THC, which has pain-relieving properties. Both substances can be extracted and enhanced for use through short path distillation. Users can get the following health benefits of cannabis;

Legal status to produce and use of marijuana in India
IndiaIllegal, but exception is made for the use of bhang.Illegal for medical use.Albeit illegal, usage is prevalent, and some government-owned shops sell cannabis as a bhang. States have their own laws regarding cannabis, locally known as ganja.
*Cannabis, marijuana or ganja are illegal in India

20 Benefits of Marijuana

  1. Relief of chronic pain – There are hundreds of chemical compounds in cannabis, many of which are cannabinoids. Cannabinoids have been linked to providing relief of chronic pain because of their chemical makeup. Which is why cannabis’ by-product, such as medical cannabis, is commonly used for chronic pain relief.
  2. Improves lung capacity – Unlike smoking cigarettes, when smoking cannabis as cannabis, your lungs aren’t harmed. In fact, a study found that cannabis actually helps increase the capacity of the lungs rather than cause any harm to it.
  3. Help lose weight – If you look around, you notice that the avid cannabis user is usually not overweight. That is because cannabis is linked to aiding your body in regulating insulin while managing caloric intake efficiently.
  4. Regulate and prevent diabetes – With its impact on insulin, it only makes sense that cannabis can help regulate and prevent diabetes. Research conducted by the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis (AAMC) has linked cannabis to stabilize blood sugars, lower blood pressure, and improve blood circulation.
  5. Fight cancer – One of the biggest medical benefits of cannabis is its link to fighting cancer. There is a good amount of evidence that shows cannabinoids can help fight cancer, or at least certain types of it.
  6. Help treat depressionDepression is fairly widespread without most people even knowing they have it. The endo cannabinoid compounds in cannabis can help in stabilizing moods, which can ease depression.
  7. Shows promise in autism treatment – Cannabis calms users down and controls their mood. It can help children with autism that experience frequent violent mood swings control it.
  8. Regulate seizures – Research conducted on CBD has shown that it can help control seizures. There are ongoing studies to determine the effect cannabis has on individuals with epilepsy.
  9. Mend bones – Cannabidiol has been linked to helping heal broken bones, quickening the process. According to the Bone Research Laboratory in Tel Aviv, it also helps strengthen the bone in healing. This makes it tougher for the bone to break in the future.
  10. Helps with ADHD/ADD – Individuals with ADHD and ADD have trouble focusing on tasks at hand. They have problems with cognitive performance and concentration. Cannabis has shown promise in promoting focus and helping individuals with ADHD/ADD. It is also considered a safer alternative to Adderall and Ritalin.
  11. Treatment for glaucoma – Glaucoma leads to additional pressure on the eyeball, which is painful for individuals with the disorder. Cannabis can help reduce the pressure applied to the eyeball, providing some temporary relief to individuals with glaucoma.
  12. Alleviate anxiety – While Cannabis is commonly known to cause anxiety, there is a way around that. Taken in monitored dosage and in the proper way, cannabis can help ease anxiety and calm users down.
  13. Slow development of Alzheimer’s diseaseAlzheimer’s disease is one of many that is caused by cognitive degeneration. As we age, cognitive degeneration is almost unavoidable. Cannabis’s endo cannabinoid contains anti-inflammatories that fight the brain inflammation that leads to Alzheimer’s disease.
  14. Deal with pain linked to arthritis – Cannabis is now commonly found as creams and balms which are used by individuals that have arthritis. Both THC and CBD help sufferers deal with the pain.
  15. Helps with PTSD symptoms – PTSD doesn’t just affect veterans but any individual that goes through a trauma. As cannabis is legalised, the impact it has on helping treat individuals with PTSD is being studied. Cannabis helps control the fight-or-flight response, preventing it from going into overdrive.
  16. Helps provide relief to individuals with multiple sclerosis – Multiple sclerosis can be painful, and cannabis provides relief for it. Multiple sclerosis leads to painful muscle contractions and cannabis can help reduce that pain.
  17. Reduces side effects linked to hepatitis C and increases the effectiveness of treatment – The treatment for hepatitis C has many side effects that include nausea, fatigue, depression, and muscle aches. These can last months for some hepatitis C sufferers. Cannabis can help reduce the side effects caused by the treatment while making it more effective at the same time.
  18. Treats inflammatory bowel diseases – Individuals with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis can find some relief with the use of cannabis. THC and cannabidiol help enhance immune response while also interact with cells that play a vital role in the functioning of the gut. Cannabis helps block off bacteria and other compounds that cause inflammation in the intestines.
  19. Helps with tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease – For those that have Parkinson’s disease, cannabis can help reduce tremors and pain while also helping promote sleep. It has also shown to improve motor skills in patients.
  20. Helps with alcoholism – Another one of the many health benefits of cannabis is that there is no doubt cannabis is much safer than alcohol. While it may not be 100% risk-free, it can be a smarter way to curb alcoholism by substituting it with cannabis.

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Medical cannabis, or medical marijuana (MMJ), is cannabis and cannabinoids that are prescribed by physicians for their patients. Using cannabis as medicine has not been rigorously tested because of production and governmental restrictions, resulting in limited clinical research to define the safety and efficacy of using cannabis to treat diseases. Preliminary evidence suggests that cannabis can reduce nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy, improve appetite in people with HIV/AIDS, reduces chronic pain and muscle spasms, and treat severe forms of epilepsy.

Short-term use increases the risk of minor and major adverse effects. Common side effects include dizziness, feeling tired, vomiting, and hallucinations. The long-term effects of cannabis are not clear. Concerns include memory and cognition problems, risk of addiction, schizophrenia in young people, and the risk of children taking it by accident.

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