Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds within cannabis that affects your body when consumed. Specifically, they affect the cannabinoid receptors located throughout your body (part of the endocannabinoid system). Cannabis sativa is a strain of marijuana that is widely cultivated around the world. Cannabis has been widely used medically, spiritually, and socially, including recreationally for several centuries.
In the past, several practitioners recommended cannabis for treating numerous health conditions. This is especially true between the mid 19th century and 1920s. However, cannabis became regarded as a “Schedule I” substance or made illegal and fully regulated by the mid-1930s.
Schedule I is the categorization used by the US federal government for drugs they deem addictive and devoid of medical benefits. Nevertheless, making it illegal didn’t slow down the use of cannabis, it only skyrocketed it. Marijuana quickly became the most used recreational substance or drug in the world. Removing cannabis from the list of Schedule 1 drugs has become a hot topic of debate. The 2018 Farm Bill de-scheduled or removed Hemp (a strain of cannabis) from the Controlled Substances Act. Hemp is no longer a controlled substance. The rescheduling of hemp is opening the door for much needed research; and is having a major impact on health related fields and industries.
What is Cannabis Sativa?
Cannabis sativa is a species of the cannabaceae family of cannabis plants. Hemp is a variety of cannabis sativa strain and contains cannabinoids, including THC at low levels and higher levels of CBD (Cannabidiol). The concentration level of THC is extremely low in Hemp compared to other cannabis strains; such as with marijuana. THC is the compound responsible for the psychoactive effects experienced when consuming marijuana. In other words, it is the chemical that would get you “high” before maybe eating all your cousin’s cereal.
Cannabis sativa was originally an annual herbaceous plant species from Eastern Asia and was often used in folk or traditional medicine. Today, however, it is widespread and found practically everywhere due to increased cultivation. Also, alternative medicine has always regarded cannabis sativa as an enjoyable pain reliever and appetite stimulant without the addictive risks of opioids.
Today, what we call hemp is the industrial varieties that are non-intoxicating and are harvested for CBD, seeds, and fiber. Hemp is legal at the federal level in all 50 states. Currently, several states also have laws governing the legal production of Hemp. In June 2019, the governor of Florida signed the bill to create a hemp state program in Florida. Florida is the latest to enact laws as of July 1, 2019 that legalizes Hemp.
How Cannabis Sativa Differs From Cannabis Indica
There are two major types of cannabis plant strains. These are Indica and Sativa. Both can be used as medical cannabis and able to treat multitudes of relevant conditions. Though medicinal cannabis tends to have a greater sense of physical and mental relaxation.
Moreover, each strain (indica and sativa) affects the body and mind differently. They both have their own medicinal benefits. Cannabis indica strains are very intoxicating because they have a higher concentration of THC. Cannabis sativa strains, such as hemp, on the other hand, tend to offer a more vitalize experience and have higher CBD but very low THC.
Cannabis sativa strains are less bushier plants with taller, narrow leaves, and can reach up to 20 feet tall. In contrast, indica strains are bushier, grow shorter, and generally have a faster flowering time.
Uses of Cannabis Sativa
One of its uses (you may have heard of it) is to control nausea and vomiting. Also, cannabis sativa is sometimes used in the treatment of cancer and to vitalize appetite in AIDS patients among others. Additionally, hemp can be used in commercial and industrial product manufacturing (e.g. rope, shoes, clothing, etc.).
As previously noted, hemp contains CBD, which has a plethora of potential health benefits. In general, people tend to experience the following benefits with CBD.
- More focus
- Increased energy
- Reduced inflammation
- Increase in appetite
- Lower blood pressure
- Better relaxation
Cannabinoids Benefits to Health
There are potential health benefits that can come from Cannabinoids. This includes the killing of certain cancer cells and reducing their size, as well as helping tight muscles relax. Other potential benefits include but may not be limited to the following.
- Decrease in anxiety
- Pain relief
- Suppression or increase in appetite (depending on the strain)
- Aides sleep
- Prevents nervous system degeneration
- Control epileptic seizures
- A possible treatment for mental illness and addictions
Cannabinoids work on the brain’s reward processes and other related behavioral receptors, similar to addictive drugs.
The Controversy of Cannabis
THC wasn’t isolated from cannabis until 1964 and the modulatory activities of the human body’s endocannabinoid system were only examined around the 1990s. Even though the new data revealed many promising pharmaceutical applications for cannabis, legal restrictions showed no signs of disappearing.
This is because regular or heavy use of THC can lead to addiction or dependence. In contrast, CBD is not addictive, nor is it psychoactive. In Colorado, where recreational marijuana is legal, a report from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment indicates that for adolescents, the estimated prevalence of past 30 day marijuana use and frequencies of marijuana use have not changed since legalization. Furthermore, the past 30 day marijuana use among Colorado adolescents is similar to the national average.
However, CBD oils and other CBD products are effective medicinal applications that have very little or no THC, commonly referred to as THC-free CBD. That simply means they contain less than 0.3 percent THC, which is the federal limit or legal standard for CBD products in the USA. Depending on how it is made, in some cases, there is absolutely no THC in the product.
Will Cannabinoids Ever Be Fully Legalized?
So far, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has only approved one drug containing CBD, called Epidiolex. Epidiolex is CBD-based liquid that was approved by the FDA for treating Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome associated seizures. In addition, several European countries, the UK, and Canada have approved Nabiximols, a mouth spray for treating muscle control issues. Nabiximols contains THC and CBD.
CBD is a natural remedy that has the potential to cure many ailments and has no harmful effects, nor abuse potential. Hemp, the cannabis strain that CBD is derived from, is no longer classified as a controlled substance as part of provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill.
CBD Oils (Including Capsules, Edibles, and Topicals)
CBD is now being studied for the treatment of many health issues such as depression, anxiety, acne, heart disease, and others. CBD is also used as a natural alternative to symptom and pain relief.
That being noted, there is still a lot left to discover through research. So make sure you consult with your doctor or health professional prior to using CBD products.
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