Many people know the active chemical inside Marijuana as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is a psychoactive chemical, and that is what gets you “high”. But Marijuana has a lot more to it than THC. In fact, most strains of Marijuana will vary from a mere 5-20% THC nowadays. Research by Dr Zerrin Atakan and  Prof Philip McGuire cleared some confusion on the way it actually works by looking at the effects of THC and CBD (Cannabidiol), the two principal components of cannabis. At a 2007 conference in London for “Cannabis and Mental Health”, Professor Philip McGuire concluded, “These studies show that THC and CBD have distinct effects on brain function in humans, and these may underlie their correspondingly different effects on cognition and psychiatric symptoms.  Determining how the constituents of cannabis act on the brain is fundamental to understanding the role of cannabis use in the aetiology of psychiatric disorders.” The really interesting thing about this is that CBD, which never before this had been monitored, turns out to be playing a significant role. One can  think of CBD as almost the polar opposite of THC in its effects in some respects. If THC is linked to psychotic type episodes, CBD has anti psychotic properties. If THC is thought to cause panic attacks, CBD calms those impulses.

Alone, CBD medically has been shown to relieve convulsion, inflammation, anxiety, and nausea, as well as inhibit cancer cell growth. Recent studies have shown cannabidiol to be as effective as atypical antipsychotics in treating schizophrenia. Studies have also shown that it may relieve symptoms of dystonia. Now, many patients are choosing Marijuana strains with the highest percentage of CBD to help them with their certain disorders, instead of the high THC strains which may not help as well than they do for others. Luckily patients are able to see percentages in their buds due to movements like Project CBD. This is a movement that has fought for the right of labs to test the potency of THC, CBD, and other components inside the cannabis. This is a great way for patients to know exactly what kind of medicine they prefer and works best for them- for example there have been studies that show that high CBD help strongly with social anxiety disorder.

For THC, new research shows the medicinal properties go far beyond soothing pain and nausea. Scientists are now testing cannabis and its derivatives against a host of diseases. “The scientific literature now brims with potential uses for cannabis that extend beyond its well-known abilities to fend off nausea and block pain in people with cancer and AIDS. Cannabis derivatives may combat multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory conditions, new research finds. Cannabis may even kill cancerous tumors.” (July 19th, Science News).

With so many different diseases and disorders it can help with, Marijuana has to vary in many different ways. Being the amazing plant it is, patients dealing with their different symptoms will always be able to find which strain compliments their needs the best. If you can’t see how beneficial Marijuana is with all these facts in front of you, I don’t know what is going to happen in the world.

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