The Issues
Issue 2

Medicinal Properties

Medicinal cannabis is commonly used as an alternative to traditional medicines. There are strong reasons to continue studying the drug’s medical uses.

Medicinal properties of cannabis

The term medical cannabis refers to the use of the unprocessed cannabis plant or its basic extracts, to treat illnesses or other conditions. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH) lists some examples in which cannabis can be used to treat symptoms or conditions of various illnesses including: HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, inflammation, pain seizures, substance use disorders and mental disorders. The two main chemicals that represent medicinal properties in cannabis are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD impacts the brain without the high and THC relieves pain and can be related to the high. Approximately, there are 400 chemical compounds found in cannabis—60 being cannabidiol. According to an article by CNN, currently, there is only one highly purified cannabidiol FDA-approved medication (Epidiolex), that is ingested, twice daily for epileptic patients.

Heavy hitters blow smoke to myths

Some research suggests, chronic heavy users show signs of impaired memory, and learning and processing speed declines especially in cannabis users who started before the age of 16 or 17 years old. Alternatively, a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association surveyed daily cannabis smokers of 20 years, and found no evidence that cannabis does harm to the lungs and may even increase lung capacity from deep inhalations.

Scientists say, “Limitations on cannabis research mean we still have big questions about its medicinal properties.

23 health benefits of marijuana

There is some research to suggest the adoption of medicinal cannabis to treat a multitude of medical and psychiatric conditions. According to an article by the Business Insider, 84% of the public already supports medicinal cannabis and perceives recreational cannabis as less controversial. As research develops, benefits of medicinal cannabis will grow.

High scores for medicinal cannabis

Other case studies on medicinal cannabis include, reducing the number of epileptic seizures in children from 300 episodes per week to only one episode every week. Calming a person with anxiety by regular cannabis use, has developed a term known as the “Goldilocks zone”—the right amount of cannabis to help people relax. Additionally, cannabis users have stated positive effects in “verbal fluency” when engaged in creative work. Studies have also shown in cannabis users who suffered a heart stroke, neuroprotective principles that decrease chances of brain damage. According to a report by National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the most common and best-supported medicinal use of cannabis is treatment for chronic pain.

What is your cannabis question?

By the numbers

Types of cannabis products used by a survey group of 318 respondents who used cannabis for medical purposes in the past 12 months (Canadian Cannabis Survey 2017):

Dried flower/leaf
Oil from a Health Canada licensed producer
Solid concentrate