Cannabis is a flowering plant that has been used by humans for thousands of years, including as a:
Cannabis is also permitted for use as a recreational drug in some jurisdictions and may also be used for animal therapeutic use at the discretion of a vetereniarian.
Medicinal cannabis is any cannabis derived product which is prescribed by a doctor to treat a medical condition. These products include pharmaceutical cannabis preparations such as oils, tinctures, dosed capsules, and other extracts; as well as untreated cannabis, such as raw and dried cannabis flower.
Medicinal cannabis works when cannabinoids interact with our bodies through a biological system known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is involved in many physiological functions including pain, inflammation, sleep, memory, digestion, immune function, neuroprotection, and more.
Cannabinoids occur naturally in our bodies and are known as endocannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids that are found in plants that interact with our ECS. There are over 100 known phytocannabinoids found in cannabis. The two most commonly known cannabinoids are THC and CBD.
THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is a compound in cannabis that has psychoactive properties; the part of the cannabis plant that produces euphoric effects or gets you ‘high’. Research shows that THC can reduce symptoms of nausea, vomiting, pain and muscle spasticity, and can also improve sleep and appetite.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis that does not produce euphoric effects. CBD can help to reduce inflammation, seizures, anxiety, and to improve sleep. It can also reduce the unwanted side effects of THC, such as nervousness.
Marijuana is the term given to recreational cannabis, which has psychoactive and physiological effects when consumed. These effects include a feeling of relaxation, euphoria (the ‘high’ or ‘stoned’ feeling), a general alteration of conscious perception and increased awareness of sensations, amongst others. Marijuana is typically unregulated, which means that quality, efficacy and safety is not guaranteed, and in some cases may produce unwanted side effects.
Hemp is a variety of cannabis containing very low levels of THC and/or higher concentrations of CBD. It is grown primarily for industrial purposes, such as to produce textiles, food, and building materials.