Most researchers are interested in specific components of cannabis, called cannabinoids.
From a researcher’s point of view, cannabis is a “dirty” drug, since it contains hundreds of components whose effects are unclear. It is why researchers focus on only one type of cannabinoid at a time. To date, only two cannabinoids from the plant have been studied extensively – THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and cannabidiol – but other cannabinoids that are not yet known have therapeutic properties.
THC is the main active ingredient in cannabis. It activates cannabinoid receptors in the brain, causing the “high” effect well known to cannabis users, but it also plays on the liver and other parts of the body. The only two cannabinoids approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, which physicians can legally prescribe, are drugs synthesized by laboratories reproducing the effect of THC. They are prescribed to increase appetite and prevent muscle wasting associated with certain cancers and AIDS.
Cannabidiol (also known as CBD), on the other hand, does not interact with cannabinoid receptors. It also does not produce “high.” In the United States, 17 states have enacted laws that allow some patients to have access to the CBD.
Our body naturally produces cannabinoids, endocannabinoids. Researchers are developing drugs that can alter their function to better understand how receptors of these substances work in our bodies. These studies are aimed at finding treatments that could use the cannabinoids we produce naturally to treat chronic pain or epilepsy, instead of using cannabis from plants.
It is often said that cannabis is a possible treatment for many diseases. Let us take a closer look at two diseases, chronic pain, and epilepsy, to illustrate the current state of research on the therapeutic virtues of cannabis.
Cannabis Control For Chronic Pain?
Research findings indicate that some people with chronic pain practice self-medication with cannabis. However, there are too few studies conducted on humans to determine whether cannabis or cannabinoids relieve chronic pain.
Research in humans shows that some diseases, such as chronic pain resulting from nerve damage, are sensitive to the action of cannabis, in smoked or vaporized form, as well as to an FDA-authorized THC drug.
But most of this research is based on subjective statements, on personal assessments of pain, which limits its validity. Only a few controlled clinical trials have been conducted to date, so it is unclear whether cannabis is an effective pain treatment.
Another approach is to focus on the combination of several drugs, namely an experimental drug based on cannabinoids associated with an already known drug. For example, a recent study in mice combined a low-dose THC-based drug with an aspirin-like drug. However, this combination blocks the pain associated with nerve endings better than each of these medicines does individually. More on this site dédié aux vaporisateurs pour cannabis.
Cannabis Consumption Is Not Risk-free
The possibility of excessive use exists for any drug that affects the functioning of the brain, and cannabinoids are no exception to the rule. You can compare cannabis to tobacco because many of its consumers also have difficulty stopping. And just like tobacco, cannabis is a natural product that has been selectively grown to get more powerful effects on the brain, which is not without risk.
Although many cannabis users can quit without problems, 2-6% of US consumers have difficulty stopping. The repeated use of the drug, despite the desire to diminish or stop consuming it, is a sign of dependence.
As more and more US states enact laws to support the medical or recreational use of cannabis, the number of dependents may increase.
It is too early to say that the potential benefits of marijuana outweigh the risks to those who consume them. But while US laws on cannabis (and cannabidiol) are less restrictive, it is time for research to establish facts.