Cannabis is one of the safest and most effective medications known today, with the potential to treat a wide variety of medical conditions.
By the early 19th century,the benefits of medicinal cannabis use had become widely acknowledged in the West, having been brought to France by Napoleon’s army as they returned from Egypt, where cannabis was commonly used for its analgesic and sedative qualities.
Medical cannabis became universally accepted after extensive research by the Irish physician William O’Shaughnessy, who published a paper in 1843entitled On the Preparations of the Indian Hemp, or Gunjah, which is noted for having introduced cannabis sativa to European and American medicine.
O’Shaughnessy experimented with alcoholic tinctures and found this to be an effective way of isolating the major psychoactive component found in cannabis,delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
From 1890 to 1937, Parke, Davis & Company (now part of the Pfizer Groupof Companies) marketed many formulations of medicinal cannabis, including tinctures that were available by the pint or fluid ounce and cannabis tablets thatcould be bought by the gram.
It was also possible to purchase powdered extracts,and even pressed flowering tops (dried cannabis buds) for users to make their own preparations.
All products and formulations were proudly advertised by the company as “originating from American home-grown cannabis.”
Pfizer is now one of the world’s top pharmaceutical companies; in 2009 it made $50 billion profit in annual sales of prescription drugs, many of which replaced cannabis medications.
There’s many ways of consuming cannabis dry herbs, and in the recent decade, many consumers have opted for CBD oil vape pen starter kit. CBD pens are used for convenience by CBD consumers, but regular THC consumers also use dry herb vaporizers as well.
CBD is growing ever more popular due to its numerous health benefits, including restoring appetite for caner anorexia patients.
Another major manufacturer of cannabis preparations and still a familiar name today is Eli Lilly & Co, who, from 1877 to 1935, manufactured and sold fluid,solid, and powdered extracts, all of which were stated to be manufactured from the flowering tops of the pistillate plants of cannabis sativa.5
Merck and Squibbare also both well-known pharmaceutical manufacturing companies that in the past have sold and marketed cannabis preparations.6
The two companies extensively advertised that they supplied dried flowering tops of the female cannabis plant.
In addition, Merck was also a manufacturer and supplier of cannabis fluid extracts,tinctures, pills and cannabis oil made from infused tops.
Alcohol-based tinctures are still used by pharmaceutical companies today;indeed, Sativex, a cannabinoid-based medicine, is basically a cannabis tinctures pray.
It has a cannabinoid profile of 51% THC and 49% CBD suspended inalcohol and is produced using organic cannabis, just like the tinctures made by EliLilly & Co over 150 years ago.
A 2008 report by the Florida Medical Examiners Commission concluded that prescription medications easily exceed illegal drugs as a major cause of death.9
An analysis of 168,900 autopsies conducted in Florida found that three times asmany people were killed by pharmaceutical drugs than by cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines put together.
Cocaine was responsible for 843 deaths, heroin for 121, and methamphetamines for 25.
Cannabis accounted for no deaths whatsoever. In contrast, 2,328 people were killed by opioid painkillers, including Vicodin and OxyContin, and 743 were killed by drugs containing benzodiazepine,including Valium and Xanax.
In the U.S., over 40,000 people are killed annually by aspirin and painkillers.12 According to The American Journal of Medicine, over 100,000patients are hospitalized annually for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)–related gastrointestinal complications and at least 16,500 deaths occur each year among arthritis patients alone.13
A report in The New England Journal of Medicine stated:“It has been estimated conservatively that 16,500 NSAID-related deaths occur among patients with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis every year in the United States.
This figure is similar to the number of deaths from AIDS and considerably greater than the number of deaths from multiple myeloma, asthma,cervical cancer or Hodgkin’s disease.
If deaths from gastrointestinal toxic effects from NSAID were tabulated separately in the National Vital Statistics reports,these effects would constitute the 15th most common cause of death in the United States.
Yet these toxic effects remain mainly a ‘silent epidemic,’ with many physicians and most patients unaware of the magnitude of the problem.
Furthermore the mortality statistics do not include deaths ascribed to the use of over-the-counter NSAIDS.”
Medical Cannabis Today
The two main cannabis strains used for medical cannabis are the cannabis indica and cannabis sativa subspecies, which owing to their cannabinoid profiles both differ in their medicinal properties.
Cannabis strains are available across the entire spectrum, from pure cannabis sativas to pure cannabis indicas and combinations which are known as hybrids.
The resulting hybrid strains will grow and develop medicinal properties relative to the dominant genetics they inherit;for example, cannabis indica strains have more chlorophyll than cannabis sativa, and so grow and mature faster.
Furthermore, cannabis indica-dominant plants canhave a CBD/THC ratio four to five times that of cannabis sativa-dominant hybrids.
Auto-flowering plants containing cannabis rudralis genetics are fine for medical use; just choose either an indica- or sativa-dominant hybrid depending onyour particular needs.
The effects of cannabis sativa are well known for inducinga THC cerebral high, hence they tend to be used medicinally during the daytime.
As the effects of cannabis indicas are predominantly physical and sedative, they are best used for non-active times of the day, being particularly beneficial when used before sleeping.
To determine the best strain for your condition it is important to understand the different effects of these two subspecies: Cannabis indica-dominant strains tend to have a more sedative effect on the user and help to relieve stress and aid relaxation.
These plants are recommended for pain relief when vaporized, and for cancer treatment in the form of an oil extraction.
They can also help moderate nausea, stimulate the appetite, and reduce intraocular pressure.
Most medical cannabis emanates from cannabis indica hybrids.
A few examples of these hybrid strains include: OG Kush, Master Kush, Purple Kush, White Rhino, Blueberry, Grapefruit, Lemon Skunk and Northern Lights.
Predominantly cannabis indica strains are recommended for treating anxiety, cancer, chronic pain, insomnia, muscle spasms and tremors, and for their effectiveness for appetite stimulation, increase in dopamine production, nausea reduction and sedative action.
well-being and stimulate the neurotransmitter serotonin, a type of chemical that helps relay signals from one area of the brain to another.
Of the approximately 40 million brain cells we have, most are influenced either directly or indirectly by serotonin, which also acts on the central nervous system and, amongst other things,is responsible for mood and appetite regulation.
Consumption of pure cannabis sativa strains can often induce paranoia attacks and irregular heartbeat, so hybrids also containing cannabis indica are preferred for medicinal use.
These hybrids are useful for the antidepressant properties they possess, without inducing the paranoia associated with purebred cannabis sativa, but they rarely have any pain blocking attributes, so cannabis indicas are preferred for use as analgesics.
The high THC content of many cannabis sativa hybrids is useful in treating any conditions where CBD content is not so useful, such as glaucoma and multiple sclerosis.
Common cannabis sativa-dominant hybrids include Haze, Kali Mist,Jack Herer, Willy Nelson and Cheese.
Cannabis sativa-dominant strains are recommended for use in treating depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, loss of appetite, cancer, migraines, nausea and as a daytime medication.