Even though it is still illegal on the federal level, the number of states that allow marijuana use in some form is steadily increasing. There is a strong popular support for legalization. Polls show that three out of five Americans believe marijuana should not be illegal. There are currently eight states, plus the District of Columbia, that allow recreational marijuana. 29 states, as well as DC, allow medicinal use. Cannabis businesses are popping up left and right, and cannabis consultants are becoming increasingly in demand. There seems to be a lot of progress in the field of medical marijuana.
But it is hard to call “progress” something that people have been doing for thousands of years. We are, in fact, reclaiming our right to use marijuana for medicinal purposes. We had to wait for science to catch up with folk knowledge. Now that it has, we can even tell what are the most important chemicals in cannabis and what they do.
THC is the name we use for a chemical whose full name is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. So yes, THC is much easier. THC is the plant’s most potent psychoactive component. It is also widely used to grade the potency of specific strains of marijuana. For people who use marijuana to get high, THC is the most important active ingredient in the plant. For those who want the medicinal benefits, it is not so interesting.
THC does not exist in a raw marijuana plant in its active form. Raw plants contain what is called THC acid, or THCA. It is only when the plant is heated that THCA is converted into THC. Eating raw marijuana plant will cause little to no psychoactive effects. But smoking it, or using vaporization as a safer alternative, will. Cooking will also do the trick. THC does have some medicinal effects. It can be used to treat nausea, vomiting, and other ailments experienced during chemotherapy. However, its psychoactive effects greatly overshadow its medical benefits.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is the darling of the medical marijuana community. The second most present active chemical in cannabis is THC’s cousin who does not like to go to parties but does not mind cleaning up after them. We currently have no knowledge of any psychoactive effects it causes. CBD might not even interact with the cannabinoid receptors found in our bodies. But what it lacks in psychoactivity, it more than makes up for with its beneficial effects.
CBD has an anti-inflammatory effect. It can reduce anxiety and induce sedation. It can also be used to control epileptic seizures. CBD is an anti-oxidant, which means that it can reduce the negative effects of oxidation. There are reasons to believe that it protects against diabetes, some forms of cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis. CBD can also be helpful to people who suffered from brain and nerve damage for a variety of reasons, including stroke and alcoholism. And it is still being researched for additional beneficial effects.
It might seem like CBD is the wonder-drug we have all been waiting for. As we speak, marijuana strains which contain high doses of CBD and low doses of THC are being developed. It can also be found in different kinds of products, such as CBD oil. You should take note, however, that CBD is only one of the dozens of cannabinoids found in marijuana. Some of its effects might be caused or boosted by other cannabinoids.
CBC, or cannabichromene, is a cannabinoid that got significantly less attention than THC or CBC. We know that it does not have any significant psychoactive effects. It binds poorly to cannabinoid receptors, although it has a way of indirectly activating them. So far, it looks like this indirect activation is not sufficient to create an effect.
As for medical benefits, the research that has been done so far showed that CBC has potential. One area where it might be particularly useful is acne treatment. CBC affects the sebaceous glands, causing them to reduce the production of sebum. It also lessens the effects of arachidonic acid, another major contributor to acne development. CBC can stimulate osteoclasts, the cells that are responsible for bone growth and repair. It is noted for its anti-cancerous properties. It also acts anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial. Most importantly, there are reasons to believe that CBC stimulates neurogenesis, the creation of brain cells.
It’s clear that the cannabis plant has more to offer to us than we previously knew. Legalization of medicinal marijuana is opening new opportunities to research the plant. These three cannabinoids, who are among the best known, are only three among 66 different cannabinoids found in cannabis. No one knows what other great uses we’ll find in the rest of them. But if the things we know so far are an indicator, we have seen nothing yet.