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Five Therapeutic Properties of Cannabis

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September 14th, 2021

By Sayer Ji

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

Cannabis has one of the most prolific histories of any plant in the herbal pharmacopeia. With uses ranging from spiritual to medicinal, the reason that humans have bonded so deeply with this plant lies in our shared biology. The cannabis plant produces phytochemicals called cannabinoids that bind with receptor sites throughout the body, demonstrating evolutionary synthesis of the highest order.

These endogenous cannabinoid receptors make up the endocannabinoid system, a biological feature shared by humans and animals, evidence of the synergy that develops between useful plants and the creatures that consume them.[i] Varying strains of cannabis plants produce different cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), allowing consumers to select specific chemovars (chemical varieties) to induce particular effects when ingested.

Cannabinoids: The Key to Cannabis Effects

There are hundreds of naturally occurring phytocannabinoids in cannabis plants, however modern strains have been cultivated by plant geneticists to produce higher or lower amounts of certain cannabinoids to deliver more reliable therapeutic outcomes. Some of the primary cannabinoids responsible for cannabis’ therapeutic effects are:

  • CBD: non-psychoactive, analgesic, anticonvulsant, sedative, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory[ii]
  • THC: psychoactive, analgesic, bronchodilatory, muscle relaxant, antipruritic, anti-nausea[iii]
  • CBN (cannabinol): sedative, anticonvulsant, anti-inflammatory, anti-MRSA[iv]
  • THCA (tetrahydrocannabinol acid): neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory,[v] reduces adiposity (obesity), improves glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity[vi]
  • CBG (cannabigerol): antipruritic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, relieves intraocular pressure, analgesic, muscle relaxant, anticancer[vii]

Wild strains of Cannabis sativa have evolved throughout centuries of natural selection to contain varying amounts of these and other phytocannabinoids. The more widely known cannabinoids like THC and CBD are produced when plants have been decarboxylated, a process that occurs under specific heat, light or alkaline conditions.[viii] There are approximately 66 known cannabinoids[ix] that are associated with a growing list of known therapeutic effects.

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