A Closer Look at Cannabis – Its Uses and Effects
For the common man, cannabis and marihuana may seem two different entities. But let me begin by telling you that both of them refer to the same thing. It is just that when the drug is referred in the botanic sense, the plant genus is called as cannabis. This flowering plant genus is available in three different varieties such as –indica, sativa and ruderalis. These three varieties originate from the South and Central Asia.
The word ‘marihuana’ or ‘marijuana’ is known to have a Mexican Spanish connection. It is called because the word was first coined by the Spanish speaking nations and then it reached the English speaking countries. According to Oxford English Dictionary, the term ‘marijuana’ was accepted as normal usage in English language around the end of the nineteenth century.
How Long Has This Plant Been Known to Humans?
The plant genus that is known as cannabis has been known to man for more than hundreds of years and the plant have been used for making fiber, seed oil, rope, etc. The plant was used for medical as well as recreational purposes in a variety of ways. Researchers have shown that the medical use of marihuana can help alleviate pain and bring relief from stress related problems.
The drug that is commonly known as cannabis is made from the cannabis indica or cannabis sativa plant, a plant that is similar with nettles and hops. It grows as a wild plant in several parts of the world. What makes this plant really special is the fact that it contains about 400 chemicals which includes an antibiotic similar to penicillin, and cannabidiolic acid. These chemicals derived from cannabis plant can be put to recreational or therapeutic use.
Therapeutic Use of Cannabis
There are several possible therapeutic benefits of Cannabis that have been published in various newspapers and research papers. Some of these medical benefits are supported by science and may need further research. Cannabis use is known to bring about improvement in the appetite and taste in cancer patients.
When ingested, marihuana can provide relief from chronic neuropathic pain, which is a long-term pain due to a damage or injury to the nerves or nervous system. Some doctors may prescribe marihuana as a pain reliever after a major surgery. In the United Kingdom, ‘Sativex’ which is an oral spray containing cannabis extract became popular as an effective treatment for people suffering from multiple sclerosis.
Researchers have also shown that the chemicals in cannabis can be useful in preventing growth in case of prostate cancer. Some other studies have also shown that the plant extracts can be used to reduce allergic symptoms and memory loss problems. However, further studies are required to bring these into practical use.
Preliminary studies have also shown that the use of cannabis can have several other medical benefits, such as it can help provide relief from conditions such as migraine pain, fibromyalgia, collagen-induced arthritis, alcohol abuse, epilepsy, asthma and many other digestive problems.