In The Beginning
Marijuana has been used as a medicine by people around the world for centuries. The first record of marijuana being used as a medicine is by the Chinese Emperor Fu Hsiin around 2900BC. The cannabis plant is one of the 50 fundamental herbs in traditional Chinese medicine today. Since then cannabis has been transported, cultivated on every continent and used as a medicine, food or for fibers.
As early as the mid-1800’s cannabis was being used as a medicine in the western world and standards had been set for public consumption of marijuana medicine for both over the counter and prescriptions. Marijuana was listed in the United States Pharmacopoeia as a treatment for the following symptoms and conditions, including and limited to: neuralgia, tetanus, typhus, cholera, rabies, dysentery, alcoholism, opiate addiction, anthrax, leprosy, incontinence, gout, convulsive disorders, tonsillitis, insanity, excessive menstrual bleeding, and uterine bleeding, among others.
“If you substitute marijuana for tobacco and alcohol, you’ll add eight to 24 years to your life.” – Jack Herer / Author, Hemp Activist
Cannabis Politics and Propaganda
Marijuana was a common medicine used privately by thousands of people up and until the mid- 1950’s in the United States. The use of cannabis as a medicine has not been rigorously tested due to laws, international treaties and other governmental regulations that have been used to deter the development and cultivation of it. From the early 1900’s many governments started “the war on drugs” and anti-cannabis public movies, printed propaganda such as the movie Reefer Madness was used to sway public opinion on the subject of cannabis. This film cautions Against Marijuana use and termed it the devils lettuce and gateway drug. The enforcing of Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was the final nail in the cannabis coffin and saw the use of marijuana as a medicine die!
Due to cannabis limping along into the 21st-century cause of the money being spent on propaganda to vilify and demonize weed, it made it hard for scientists to delve into researching and testing cannabis for its medicinal properties. Things have finally changed and with the growing numbers of public supporters voices around the world, we are finally researching cannabis more-so than ever before.
“Scientific studies report facts. Forget the all the urban myths and rumors, and make up your own mind using facts. Cannabis is medicine! Educate yourself!” Granny Storm Crows List
Cannabis the Plant
So what really does make marijuana medicine? Looking at the plant as a whole it really is one of the natural wonders of our world. Full extract cannabis oils are available to treat a wide a growing list of ailments and conditions -, particularly cancer, AIDS, pain, gastrointestinal disorders, depression, fibromyalgia, nausea, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and inflammation.
Medical, culinary, and industrial oil is extracted from cannabis seeds, high in essential fatty acids
( EFA ). About 80% polyunsaturated fatty acid and a low 10%, in saturated fats. Cannabis oil is the perfect match for the human body, 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 EFA’s. The broad, sugar and fan leaves of cannabis is a good daily juicing addition and contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants as well as terpenes and cannabinoids. Companies are also extracting oils from the stems and roots of the plants, used for a range of medical conditions such as a diuretic, treating tumors, gout, and skin inflammation.
The flowers of cannabis Sativa are mainly used as a medicine. The flowers contain the highest ratio of cannabinoids and terpenes, the real medicine. These two compounds are located throughout the plant from seed to flower, but the icky sticky, resin, on the flower, called trichomes is the manufacturing plant of medicine. Most dispensaries sell consumers either the dried flower or an extract of a concentrate of cannabinoids and terpenes. The cannabis plant consists of a wide variety of chemicals and compounds and hundreds of different cannabinoids and terpenes.
“It doesn’t have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes Marijuana is the only thing that works… It is irresponsible not to provide the best care we can as a medical community, care that could involve Marijuana. We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.” Dr. Sanjay Gupta / Neurosurgeon.
Cannabinoids and Terpenes
We will discuss the two most common cannabinoids; Tetrahydrocannabinol ( THC ) and Cannabidiol ( CBD ). THC has been the buzz word since being isolated in 1964 by a scientist, Roger Adams. It’s the cannabinoid responsible for getting us high. THC also has many proven medical benefits, such as for asthma, nausea, vomiting, PTSD, glaucoma, appetite stimulant and much more. CBD is different to THC; it has a lot of the opposite effects of THC, and it’s the compound that has had a lot more attention during recent years. While they are similar in that they are both cannabinoids, THC has mostly been banned around the world for decades because it makes one high, while CBD remains a little unknown and legal recently.
Terpenes are synthesized from cannabis in secretory cells like cannabinoids, within trichomes, and production is increased with light exposure. Terpenes provide many positive attributes on both a medical and therapeutic level but are easily understood as the aroma and flavor of the cannabis plant. Terpenes are common constituents of flavorings and fragrances of many products. Much research is being done and many exciting new discoveries are being found about the way terpenes and cannabinoids work together creating an “entourage effect”. Terpenes amplify the therapeutic and medical effects of cannabinoids like CBD! Terpenes are medically beneficial in the areas of stress and focus.
The Future of Cannabis
In the future, we will know a lot more about how the cannabis plant and chemicals work together. The research and development of cannabis still in its infancy and we really are in the early stages of understanding how all these components can work alone or together. Synthetic cannabis extractions have been made by licensed companies for decades, names of commercial brands are Dronabinol, SativaX, and Marinol. Although researched and developed using millions of dollars these products have not been as popular or effective in the medical market as the natural cannabis plants full extract.