I am going to continue my discussion (from my previous blog) on canabinnoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, and their interaction with the two main active compounds in Medical Marijuana. CB1 is found mainly in the brain and CB2 mainly on the cells of the immune system. When cannabinoids bind to the CB1 receptors they produce psychoactive effects (feeling of euphoria, happiness etc.). The binding to these receptors also stimulates appetite (something beneficial in cancer and HIV patients), inhibits vomiting (something beneficial for patients on chemotherapy), and produces an anti-depressive effect.
Binding to the CB2 receptors stimulates the immune cells to fight cancers and produces an anti-inflammatory effect. The interaction between THC and Cannabidiol and the CB1 and CB2 receptors is quite complex. Overall the effect is strongly anti-inflammatory. This protects nerve cells from oxidative damage (something that many pathological conditions of the nervous system have in common). This is precisely why Cannabis is beneficial in oxidative type of nervous conditions such as Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, and Alzheimer’s. It also somehow balances nerve impulses in the brain, something that is beneficial in epilepsy. Furthermore, it decreases intra ocular pressure, thus benefiting patients with glaucoma.
The other interesting thing worth mentioning is that in general THC is beneficial for depression, for stimulating appetite in cancer and HIV patients, and for patients on chemotherapy (due to its inhibition of vomiting). On the other hand, Cannabidiol is more beneficial for inflammatory conditions of the nervous system, for stimulating the immune system, as well as for the treatment of pain. Thus, it is beneficial for arthritic type of pain, spinal injuries, inflammatory nervous system disorders, like the ones mentioned previously, and for chronic pain of any kind (including migraine).
That being said, the scientists among you may ask, why not produce synthetic versions of THC and Cannabidiol (in a pill form, for example) instead of smoking the herb. Actually, this was done in the past and the patients, in general, did not like it. The reason is that in the natural herb there are over 20 different cannabinoids which have complex interactions among themselves and the body to produce the specific effects a patient feels after smoking. This interaction is so complex that it is almost impossible to replicate in a synthetic form. Furthermore, a lot of patients simply like the look and the aroma of the herb.
The final point is that there are generally two subgroups of cannabis. Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica. The first one contains more THC whereas the second contains proportionally more Cannabidiol. That is why Sativa strains are chosen for ailments where THC is more beneficial whereas the Indica strains are chosen for conditions where Cannabidiol is more beneficial. There are now hundreds of strains available through seed banks and the majority of them are a hybrid of the two main subspecies combined together to differing degrees. This has produced an impressive array of strains with different proportions of medicinal compounds and medical conditions for which these strains are effective.
So, my dear friends, if you have a serious medial condition that is listed on the Health Canada list of conditions for which Medical Marijuana is allowed you may be interested in talking to your family doctor about it to procure a prescription. If your physician is apprehensive about the topic you may contact clinics which specialize in treatment with Medical Marijuana. They will be more than willing to give you a consultation.