The Science of Cannabis

The cannabis plant is remarkable. Its medicinal properties have the ability to manage pain and reduce nausea and some types of seizures and muscle spasms. Extraordinary advances in scientific research on cannabis have led to the discovery of specific receptors and naturally occurring cannabis-like substances in the brain and body. Scientific studies around the world continue to assess the safety and efficacy of cannabis and cannabis compounds for treating medical conditions.

How Medical Marijuana Works

  • It is medicine and not meant for recreational use.
  • The active ingredients of marijuana are called cannabinoids. These chemical compounds are secreted by the cannabis flower.
  • There are dozens of these compounds, but the two most people hear about are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which can make you high, and cannabidiol (CBD) which can’t.  
  • What makes cannabinoids special is how they can imitate compounds our body produces naturally in the endocannabinoid system. This system helps regulate things such as appetite, pain, seizures, digestion and heart rate. This system has two types of receptors: CB-1, which is found throughout the brain, and CB-2, which is found in the body.
  • When cannabis is consumed, cannabinoids bind to these receptors. When THC binds to CB-1, it triggers a flood of pain-relieving, euphoria-inducing chemicals. Too much of these chemicals and your pleasant high might become paranoia or delusion. CBD helps mute some of these effects and allows people to function normally while still getting the therapeutic benefits.
  • When CBD binds to CB-2, it helps medicate pain and inflammation without the high.
  • By mimicking a healthy endocannabinoid system, these cannabis compounds improve our internal structure and well-being. Depending on the profile of the cannabis product, patients can obtain different types of relief.
Scientific research on cannabis

Select Medical Research

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