Before recreational cannabis was ever even considered, the world was introduced to cannabis for medical reasons. Before prohibition, cannabis was used medicinally for thousands of years. We have documented evidence of the ancient Chinese using cannabis tea medicinally since 2737 BC to treat everything from rheumatism, malaria, gout, and even memory loss. It was no isolated incident, either. Cannabis use for medicine spread throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and India like wildfire.
Even here in The United States cannabis was used for medicine. George Washington himself was a hemp farmer by trade and many studies were published in early American medical journals recommending cannabis for inflammation, incontinence, and venereal disease. In fact, you were able to buy cannabis extracts at most pharmacies here in the states until around 1914 when cannabis prohibition came into play.
So with all this anecdotal evidence and history, cannabis was studied pretty extensively — Even during the times of prohibition where only scholars could get ahold of it for scientific research. Between historical evidence and thousands of research documents being published every year, it’s pretty safe to say that cannabis has become a top choice for relief, wellness, and medicine.
Here’s everything you need to know about how cannabis is used as medicine and why so many people use it regularly for wellness and personal upkeep.
How do people use cannabis for medicine?
Cannabis has a lot of unique effects on the mind and the body thanks to the presence of the cannabinoids like THC and CBD and terpenes found in the flowers. These chemicals are similar to chemicals and hormones our own bodies produce known as endocannabinoids, which are responsible for helping our bodies stay regular and balanced.
Endocannabinoids regulate things like mood, body temperature, inflammation, and pain modulation by sending signals to receptors found throughout the body. We have a whole system in our bodies full of receptors that can receive endocannabinoids and adjust the body’s natural state accordingly to find that equilibrium. These receptors make up the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system (or ECS for short) can also process the cannabinoids and some of the terpenes found in cannabis because they’re so similar to the endocannabinoids we produce within our own bodies. For example, THC mimics a mood-boosting chemical we naturally produce that regulates our mood known as Anandamide or the happy chemical. It can also process others like CBD, which mimics the chemicals that make our bodies respond physically, like pain and inflammation.
Ultimately, the human body is kind of a mess. So many complex systems can go wrong in so many different ways, leaving us to deal with a plethora of problems from glaucoma to IBS. A good dose of cannabinoids found in a puff of your favorite strain of cannabis can help your body regulate those chemicals, improving your natural state and providing relief from a variety of physical and mental ailments.
All of the cannabinoids found in cannabis offer some sort of relief or use for your body because it works closely with the ECS to mimic the chemicals we may be naturally producing too much or too little of naturally. That’s why so many people find both physical and mental relief with cannabis.
To use cannabis for medicine, most people smoke the flowers. However, there are many extracts and concentrates that help provide more specific doses of specific cannabinoids to help treat a variety of ills and ailments based on a person’s specific needs. We’ll jump into a few of the cannabinoid effects below.
What are some therapeutic properties of cannabis?
The therapeutic effects of cannabis are all thanks to the cannabinoids and terpenes found in the flowers. Cannabinoids and terpenes work together to boost the effects of cannabinoids, so it’s important to use full-spectrum products if you’re looking for more potent relief. Each cannabinoid offers its own unique effects, as outlined in the infographic below.
Cannabinoids are more responsible for the physical body while terpenes are responsible for our moods. Terpenes are what cause the energizing or relaxing effects of your favorite sativa or indica strains.
Why do people use cannabis for medicine?
People using cannabis for medicine do so because cannabis provides a lot of relief from a variety of health reasons thanks to the cannabinoids and terpenes. Most medical marijuana programs are open to people who suffer from some of the following ills and ailments. Medical marijuana is open to a variety of patients, though. Be sure to check into your city and state’s laws surrounding medical cannabis as all laws are different.
Depression or Anxiety
Terminal illness (patients diagnosed with no more than 12-months to live)
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Sickle Cell Anemia
Spinal Cord Disease or Injury
Traumatic Brain Injury
While a lot of people use cannabis medicinally, there are also a lot of people who use it daily for standard wellness. A good dose of cannabinoids helps promote balance within the body and keep things regular, which is why so many people are beginning to use cannabis almost like a supplement. Taken daily, cannabis promotes a lot of positive effects within the body. Cannabis use for wellness is great for regulating moods, improving blood pressure and memory, and so much more.
Best strains for physical relief
If you’re seeking physical relief from pain or inflammation, eye pressure, and other ills, the best strains are typically indica-dominant. Indica-dominant strains are full of THC, CBD, and CBN. All of these cannabinoids work with indica-leaning terpenes like Myrcene, b-Caryophyllene, and Linalool to promote soothing, sedative effects and potent pain relief thanks to the notable body high. Try strains like Granddaddy Purple, Harlequin, Grape Ape, and Trainwreck.
Best strains for mental relief
If you’re seeking some mental relief for your cannabis and wellness regimen, there are a lot of upbeat and mood-boosting strains out there. The best strains for mental relief are typically sativa-dominant or balanced hybrids. They are usually THC forward but contain energizing and mood-boosting terpenes like Pinene, Limonene, and Ocimene. Try White Widow, Green Crack, OG Kush, and Girl Scout Cookies for a mental lift.
Best strains for sleep
If you’re interested in improving your sleep and using cannabis for your own wellness, you’ll find the best strains for sleep are indica-dominant strains that contain ~5% CBN. While most strains contain 12-30% THC, some strains also offer a healthy helping of CBN. CBN is a highly sedative terpene that provides potent physical relief. It also tends to put a slight damper on the effects of THC, making it easier to relax your mind into a peaceful rest. Try Animal Cookies, 3 Kings, Allen Wrench, or Blackberry Kush if you’re looking to sleep better for longer.
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