Everything you wanted to know about Cannabis, but were afraid to ask
Updated: Aug 27, 2018
Cannabis Indica vs. Cannabis Sativa
Cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes for millennia. Its first recorded use for medicinal purposes was by Chinese Emperor Shen Nung in 2727 B.C. for rheumatism and gout. Currently cannabis is being used to treat everything from seizures to chronic pain. The main two types of Cannabis plants being used for treatment are Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa.
Cannabis Indica is characterized by higher CBD (cannabidiol) levels than THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) has many popular strains used in the treatment of chronic pain, muscle spasms, anxiety, nausea, appetite stimulation, and sleep deprivation. Indicas are ideal for these symptoms and for diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), fibromyalgia, lupus, sleep apnea, and insomnia. These strains are ideal for evening use.
Cannabis Sativa is characterized by higher levels of THC than CBD. These strains are used in the treatment of chronic pain, anti-depression, anti-anxiety, chronic pain while increasing focus and creativity. These strains are ideal for daytime use.
THC vs. CBD
THC is the chemical most associated with Cannabis ingestion. Tetrahydrocannabinol is the active, psychoactive ingredient in Cannabis associated with the “high”. THC is useful in the treatment of glaucoma, pain, muscle spasticity, low appetite, insomnia, nausea, high blood pressure, and anxiety. The FDA approved Dronabinol (Marinol or Syndros) as a synthetic alternative to THC in 1986 to treat loss of appetite and nausea in cancer and AIDS patients. As the naturally occurring chemical was synthesized, it picked up some side effects that are worse than the plant based THC. They can include tachycardia in minor overdose cases and postural hypotension in severe overdose cases.
CBD is the lesser known active, non-psychoactive ingredient. Cannabidiol is used in the treatment of anxiety, depression, migraines, acne, seizures, inflammation, mental disorders, inflammatory bowel disorder, and nausea. While there are no known side effects of plant based CBD, it should not be used to treat glaucoma or adult epilepsy as high levels of CBD can exacerbate their symptoms. The synthetic version named EPIDIOLEX was approved through a fast track method in 2018 to treat Dravet and Lennox-Gastau Syndromes. Again, with a synthesized version, the side effects can be decreased appetite, drowsiness, increased liver enzymes, fatigue, rash, lethargy, malaise, difficulty sleeping, and infections.
THC and CBD have what is known as the “Entourage Effect” where each chemical actually works better in tandem with the other one. CBD strains and oils generally contain around .3% THC. Pure CBD has trouble working within our system without a little help from the THC. Similarly, THC would be too strong of a psychoactive for therapeutic uses without some CBD to counteract or “deaden” a little of the side effects.