What is cannabis ?
- Cannabis is a genus of flowering plants in the Cannabaceae family, which consists of three primary species : Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis.
- These three varieties originally grew in different climate zones and differ in appearance, growth pattern and chemicals.
- Most of the plants are a hybrid between sativa, indica and ruderalis.
Cannabis is well known – most commonly as Hemp and marijuana. Local names or slang names for cannabis are – Pot, Weed, Grass, Ganga, Dope, Herb, Joint, etc.
Cannabis sativa :
- Sativa plants can grow very tall, up to 3 meters. They grow in equatorial regions with relatively warm places like India, Thailand, Nigeria, Mexico, and Colombia.
- The flowering period usually takes quite long: between 9 and 12 weeks.
- Their leaves are long, dainty and thin and the space between the twigs (internodes) is larger than in an indica plant.
- These are perfect for outdoor growing.
- Sativa plants contain higher level of THC and they have a more ‘high’ and activating effect. This makes it less likely to be used for medicinal purposes, but it is still common in Ayurvedic medicine.
Cannabis indica :
- Indica plants don’t grow very tall, and therefore are more suitable for a balcony or indoor growing also. Height is between 1 to 2 meters.
- They originated from the Hindu – kush region of Central Asia. It is most commonly found in countries like Nepal, Lebanon, Morocco, and Afghanistan.
- Their flowering period is relatively short: 7 to 9 weeks.
- The leaves of an indica are wide and short and the plant has a ‘woody’ structure.
- Indica plants contain higher levels of CBD and have a more ‘stoned’ and relaxing effect. They’re also more suitable for medical use.
Cannabis ruderalis :
- The ruderalis is a very small plant having height between 20-25 inches with a short flowering period.
- This plant is usually found in northern regions of the world in cool environment
- A ruderalis usually has very low THC levels and therefore is less interesting to cultivate. However, hybrids between a ruderalis and an indica or sativa can be very valuable.
- Many years of mixing and hybridization of three primary varieties have created a huge number of varieties.
- In general, the purpose of a hybrid plant is to combine positive characteristics from different strains together.
- Because of the range of genes you can find in hybrid marijuana plants, it’s hard to specify a common height, leaf shape, or other distinguishing detail. However, hybrids are often bred to have higher yields and be more pest-resistant, which is great for growers.
Hybrids are extremely popular. Most of the seeds available are hybrids.
Chemicals present in cannabis – CBD and THC
- There are more than 80 unique chemicals present in Cannabis plants which are called cannabinoids. They cause drug-like reactions in your body.
- CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are the most common cannabinoids found in cannabis products.
- Both CBD and THC have the same molecular formula – C21H30O2 (containing 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms and two oxygen atoms) having molecular weight of 314.4 g/mol. The difference lies in the way the atoms are arranged. That gives CBD and THC different chemical properties, and they affect your body differently.
- Both CBD and THC work with cannabinoid receptors present in endocannabinoid system of the body. Endocannabinoid system regulates physiological responses of the body including pain, memory, appetite, cognition, appetite, memory, sleep, stress, immune function, etc. These effects are largely mediated through two receptors – CB1 and CB2.
- THC and CB1 receptor has identical structures. So when THC comes across a CB1 receptor it slips into place just like CB1 and changes the body’s perception of pain, appetite, motor control, cognition, and creativity. It produces a ‘high’ or sense of euphoria.
- CBD’s structure doesn’t fit into the CB1 receptor, but it can block it, preventing THC from docking. It helps to reduce some of the unwanted psychoactive effects of THC, such as euphoria or sedation. Scientists think the shape of CBD matches other receptor which controls inflammation and anxiety.
- From a general therapeutic perspective THC and CBD have important effects on one another when ingested together. When present along with THC, CBD prolongs the effects of THC-therapy by inhibiting the breakdown process of THC in our liver. If the THC breakdown is inhibited, its effects persist longer. When appreciable amounts of CBD (>4% CBD by weight for flowers) are ingested along with THC, the CBD may reduce the psychoactivity many patients would normally experience from the THC present.
Exciting studies that are currently being conducted at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco are demonstrating that specific amounts of THC and CBD injected into breast and brain tumors can eliminate those tumors completely, in 30 days.
Medical benefits of CBD and THC
CBD and THC have many of the same medical benefits. However, CBD doesn’t cause the euphoric effects that occur with THC so, some people may prefer to use CBD than TCH.
CBD is typically used to treat the following :
- psychosis or mental disorders
- inflammatory bowel disease
THC is typically used to treat the following :
- muscle spasticity
- low appetite
People may use either for the treatment of :
Side effects of THC and CBD
CBD does not have known side effects and the only potential side effects are likely the result of interactions with other medications a person may be taking.
A person consuming THC may experience some temporary side effects such as :
- red eyes
- dry mouth
- increased heart rate
- slower than average response times
- a general feeling of being high
- memory loss
- issues with coordination
These side effects are part of the compound’s psychoactive properties. Neither compound is fatal.
According to some research, regular or large doses of THC can increase the risk of psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia. Also, people who use THC recreationally appear to have little risk of developing an addiction to it.
Difference between Hemp and Marijuana
- Hemp and marijuana are simply broad classifications of Cannabis that were adopted into our culture; however, they are not legitimate nomenclature for the Cannabis plant.
- The defining characteristic between hemp and marijuana is the chemical composition contained within each plant.
- Both hemp and marijuana can produce high amounts of CBD, the non-intoxicating cannabis compound; however, THC is produced at very different levels.
- While hemp can contain no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight, marijuana can contain up to 30 % THC content.
- Due to the difference between their levels of THC, hemp and marijuana are regulated very differently under the law.
Hemp and hemp-derived products containing less than 0.3% THC are legalized in federal level in USA. Marijuana, on the other hand, is still treated as a controlled substance and is illegal under the Controlled Substance Act.
Ways of taking CBD
There are many ways to consume CBD, which can be sometimes confusing. Each of these consumption methods vary in the way they interact with the body. Most popular ways to consume CBD are as follows:
Smoking high CBD marijuana strains can affect the body faster than other CBD products. It allows a relaxing and non-paranoid feeling for most consumers.
Vaporizing – Vaping :
Rather than smoking, vaporizing is a clearer and easier alternative way to inhale CBD. Like smoking, vaporizing CBD has a more immediate effect on the body by directly entering into the bloodstream without having to digest through the intestines and liver.
CBD Topical Products :
CBD-infused topical products are a wonderful and effective way to relieve localized pain, inflammation, and stress. There are a number of different CBD topical products as:
- Skincare oils
CBD Tinctures :
Tincture is absorbed directly into the blood vessels in the mouth and under the tongue. If sprayed under the tongue, the patient should try to wait at least one minute before swallowing.
Oral mucosal tinctures usually come in one of two forms: an under-the-tongue spray or a dropper with a marking at a specific volume (usually 0.5 ml or 1.0 ml). This allows for consistent, measurable dosing.
CBD Oil :
CBD oil is also generally used using a dropper and held under the tongue. CBD oil typically has a higher concentration, which makes it appealing for more chronic conditions such as IBS, chronic pain, epilepsy, and more.
CBD Edibles :
CBD edibles are products that are infused with CBD that can be eaten. The different types of CBD edibles include:
- Chewing Gum
CBD Pills :
CBD pills include-
- Solid Tablets
- Powder Capsules
- Gel Capsules
Why cannabis (marijuana) should be legal ?
Marijuana has gotten a bad reputation over the years and many people consider it nothing more than a drug that gets people high. One of the major reasons why many people vocally support calls to ban marijuana are the number of myths and misunderstandings surrounding it. The good news is that this is changing. Over the years, various studies conducted around the world have found multiple medical benefits from marijuana use and public opinion regarding marijuana has changed for the better over the last few years. Here are some reasons for why legalizing cannabis is good for us :.
It is safer than many legalized drugs :
- A study conducted by a team of drug experts in the UK found that marijuana has lesser side effects than many other popular legalized drugs.
- People die from alcohol poisoning and over time their kidneys could fail. Cigarettes are still the leading cause of deaths and they are still legal.
- To date, not even a single account of death due to a marijuana overdose has been recorded.
- Cannabis could actually be the safest drug available.
It is not as addictive as many people think :
- Many people wrongly think that trying marijuana once would get them hooked to the substance. This is not true and is one of the many myths surrounding marijuana.
- Most marijuana users never come close to being addicted. They do not lose control of its use; they generally use the amount they want to use and when they want to use it.
- Alcohol and nicotine are highly addictive substances than THC and CBD.
It is not a gateway drug :
Many marijuana detractors claim that people who try marijuana first are bound to start using harder substances. In reality, most people who use marijuana do not go on to use other substances.
Medical benefits :
- CBD and THC are used to treat many diseases like seizures, migraine, depression, etc which are mentioned above.
Economic benefits :
- Legalizing marijuana can help to create millions of jobs. It will increase the demand for professionals who can coordinate with farmers, processors, retailers, and distributors. Legalization will also benefit lenders, builders who specialize in developing retail outlets, and players in any other industries that cater to the cannabis industry.
- Cannabis is easy and quick to grow, that means -it would be quick and easy to make profit from it.
- Legalizing cannabis not only creates jobs in an economy but it shines a light onto the black market and moves the illegal sales into the legal market, bringing revenue to governments instead of illegal dealers.
- The government would collect the billions from sales tax, business tax revenue, and payroll tax deductions.
- The government spends huge amount of money every year to enforce cannabis laws. If the government were to legalize cannabis, all that money would come back in triple-fold in terms of taxes.
- There are also so many cases in courts associated with marijuana. All these cases are taking a lot of money from the public. Legalizing marijuana will not only reduce the instances but also save a lot of money.