What is Cannabis?
Cannabis is a group/genus of three plants with psychoactive properties which are used for recreational purposes in general and sometimes for therapeutic purposes. It covers more than 170 different flowering plants under it. These plants are classified into 3 categories- as Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Ruderalis.
Cannabis is known with different names based on the area, culture and history. Sometimes, it is also referred to as “marijuana” and “weed” although cannabis is a general term for all these subspecies under it.
Every part of the cannabis flowering plant is useful in different ways. Its stem is used for making fibres in industries (e.g., hemp fibre), seeds are used for making oils (e.g., hemp seed or hemp oil) and flowers are used as recreational drugs.
Cannabis and its chemical composition?
Cannabis is made up of more than 120 chemicals which are known as cannabinoids. These cannabinoids are classified majorly into two groups:
1. Cannabidiol (CBD) :
Although there needs to be more research done on cannabis. So far studies have proved that this chemical compound helps in reducing inflammation and pain. Thus, it is useful in easing nausea, migraine, seizures, and anxiety.
2. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC):
This is the main compound in cannabis which is known for its psychoactive properties. Thus, it is the chemical which is responsible for making someone feel “high”.
Short-term benefits of cannabis:
Cannabis provides few desirable short-term effects which include:
- confronting intensified things around you, such as sights and sounds
- altered perception of time and events
- increased appetite
- focus and creativity
The rate of these effects generally vary from person to person based on the range of products of cannabis.
Health benefits of cannabis:
Due to presence of cannabinoids like- CBD and THC, cannabis can be beneficial in curing many diseases and disorders. Here are few of them-
1 Chronic pain
Studies suggest that there are many chemicals present in the cannabis which help in reducing chronic pain. Thus, it can be used in medical researches and medicines due to this property.
Some studies suggest that marijuana is helpful in reducing depression and social anxiety, although it contradicts few studies.
Some cannabinoids are said to either slow down the growth of or kill some types of cancer. Thus, it can be effective in curing cancer. Although researches are perpetual and ongoing in this field.
4 Multiple sclerosis
It is a disease in which the brain and spinal cord starts disabling. In this disease, the brain finds difficulty in transmitting its signal to the body and vice-versa as it happens due to the damage of nerve fibres. But cannabis increases the number of neurotransmitters in the body. Thus, it can be helpful in curing multiple sclerosis.
It is a central nervous system (neurological) disorder which affects the brain. In this, brain activity becomes abnormal. This causes seizures or periods of unusual behaviour, sensations and ultimately loss of awareness. But some cannabinoids help the brain in relaxing and calming down.
6 Parkinson’s disease
In this disease, cognitive degeneration of the brain happens. However, some anti-inflammatories present in cannabis, help users to fight inflammation in the brain.
7 Treats inflammatory bowel diseases
Some cannabinoids help in enhancing the immune response and blocking off the bacteria in the guts.
CBD present in cannabis helps in healing and killing the pains. Therefore, they are used in some balms.
9 Alleviate anxiety
While cannabis helps the user to calm down, it can be beneficial in alleviating the anxiety.
10 Helping in healing broken bones
Cannabis with the help of CBD present in it, can heal the broken bones.
11 Regulate seizures
Relaxants present in cannabis are useful for the seizure patients. Seizures generally happen due to burst of abnormal electrical signals in one or more parts of the brain that interrupt normal brain signals. Cannabis helps in improving this neuron pathway, though for the short-term.
12 Regulate and prevent diabetes
Diabetes occur due to the irregularities of insulin in one’s body. Cannabis helps in stabilizing blood sugars, lowering blood pressure, and improving blood circulation. Therefore it is said to be helpful for the diabetic patients.
13 Help lose weight
You must have seen that cannabis users are most of the time too slim and skinny. Yes, you are thinking right! Cannabis helps in losing weight.
14 Improves lung capacity
Unlike smoking cigarettes, smoking cannabis doesn’t harm your lungs. It was found in a study that cannabis actually heals your lungs.
15 Mental health problems
Since cannabinoids present in cannabis directly impact the user’s brain; they intensify the senses and relax the mind. They are said to increase awareness and creativity in some users. They help in improving cognitive performance and concentration. Therefore, cannabis is helpful in many mental disorders.
16 Alcoholism and drug addiction
Cannabis is said to be more effective for getting “high” as compared to alcohols and other such substances. Therefore, if one’s main motive is to get “high” but he/she wants to quit alcohol, cannabis can be a better alternative.
Although cannabis has many benefits, these benefits are limited to few users and when used in a limited quantity. Much of the research is to be done in this field. In reality, more consumption of the cannabis can harm you more due to its many side effects like- hallucinations, addiction to drugs related to cannabis, escape from the reality, anxiety, tendency to suicidal thoughts, uneasiness etc.
Cannabis has been an important part of recreational activities for the youngsters. It is legal in many countries for recreational use including many states of USA, Canada, Mexico, Georgia, South Africa, and Uruguay etc. However, it is considered to be illegal in many countries like India, Russia, Maldives etc.
It is recommended not to use cannabis to cure any disease without your doctor’s prescription. If you want to consult more regarding any of the benefits and side-effects in the pretext of any disease, you can also contact the LivHeal platform. On LivHeal, you will find many dietitians, consultants and experts who can help you in your queries.