The image of cannabis as a drug and menace to people is gradually fading as the plant’s therapeutic properties are becoming widely recognized. According to Wikipedia, the medical use of cannabis is legal in 22 countries. At present, 33 states and Washington, DC have legalized the usage for medicinal purposes, and 11 states and DC – for recreational purposes. There are even companies out there that make obtaining a medical cannabis card online a simple and easy task.
Thus, the interest of society to this herb is growing – the main questions related to its healing potential and safety of consumption. Thanks to science, we have some evidence on those issues.
Key Active Compounds
Medical marijuana is the natural plant-based medicine derived from the Cannabis sativa. This plant contains at least 113 different cannabinoids, and only 2 of them are considered to cause healing effects. And both of them don’t naturally occur in their active forms in the cannabis plant but are emitted when it is smoked traditionally or vaporized using a weed pen.
So, the active compounds of the marijuana plant are:
- THC (delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol) – a major psychoactive ingredient. When you inhale cannabis smoke or vapor, THC quickly gets into the lungs, then into the bloodstream, and then right into the brain. The chemical stimulates the brain area responsible for pleasure, causing you to feel a euphoric “high”.
- CBD (cannabidiol) – an active chemical that can provide you with medical benefits without making you “high”.
The Use of Cannabis in Medicine
Owing to THC and CBD, medical marijuana relieves symptoms of or treats a whole bunch of diseases and conditions. Though scientists, public officials, doctors, and patients keep debating on the advantages and disadvantages of cannabis use, it’s already prescribed to people who find other accessible medicines unhelpful.
Some patients avoid treating medical marijuana as they don’t want to feel high. CBD extracts available for vaporizing in a weed vape pen make it possible to reap the health benefits without any psychotropic effects.
The therapeutic power of cannabinoids is actually a proven scientific fact. It has been scientifically explored for many years.
In 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine published a rigorous review of scientific research on the health benefits of cannabis published since 1999. According to it, there’s substantial evidence that:
- Cannabis can be helpful in relieving pain caused by cancer and treat nausea and vomiting from cancer chemotherapy.
- Cannabinoids can significantly ease chronic pain.
- An extract of cannabis is effective in relieving spasticity (stiff or tight muscles) in patients with Multiple sclerosis (MS).
A group of researchers from Canada and the U.S. studied the link about medical cannabis and mental health. They found out that cannabis can relieve post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms and depression. They also indicate that marijuana has potential in reducing the symptoms of social anxiety. They concluded that cannabis use doesn’t appear to increase the risk of harm to self or others.
In 2017, a Professor and Chair of the university’s Department of Biology of Indiana University Dr. Thomas M. Clark presented a systematic review on the effects of cannabis use on mortality. He claimed that marijuana use prevents about 17,400-38,500 premature deaths annually from diabetes, cancer, and traumatic brain injury (TBI). The researcher assumed that the number could reach 23,500-47,500 deaths prevented annually if medical marijuana were legal nationwide.
There’s still a lack of research on the healing power of cannabinoids. But it’s considered to be effective in relieving the symptoms of the following health problems:
- Eating disorders
- Sleep disorders
- Hepatitis C
- Wasting syndrome (cachexia) inflammation
- Alcoholism or drug addiction
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Crohn’s disease.
Has Medical Marijuana Any Adverse Effects?
Before you rush to search for the best vape pen for weed, you’d better weigh all the pros and cons first. Some people do experience side effects.
- Low doses of marijuana are not usually followed by any adverse reactions. Some users report about dry mouth and fatigue.
- Moderate doses sometimes leave users with light dizziness or cause mood swings. Some users report fast heartbeat, low blood pressure, bloodshot eyes, and anxiety.
- Irresponsible users smoke weed heavily, exceeding the prescribed dosage. This may cause temporary hallucinations or paranoia. Abusing it for a long time is a sure way to develop an addiction.
- Keep in mind that marijuana can impair concentration and coordination and slow reaction time. It’s recommended to avoid driving a motor vehicle for up to 4 hours after inhalation and 6 hours after oral ingestion.
The methods of usage are inhalation (in the form of smoking and vaping), eating, and applying on the skin (balms, creams, lotions). Inhalation is the most common method because it brings the fastest results. And if you choose it, it may be interesting to you that experts find vaping safer than smoking.
There’re weed pens for vaporizing cannabis in the form of dry herbs/flowers, oil, shatter, and wax extracts. Using some type of a vape pen is better than smoking for three reasons:
- Vaporizing doesn’t involve combustion. Thus, a vapor is rich in cannabinoids and free from many of the harmful chemicals, like carcinogens and tar, present in smoke.
- Vaping doesn’t cause any respiratory problems linked to smoking.
- A vape pen for weed gives a user a fuller control of temperature (185°C/365°F is the most appropriate) and maximizes the elimination of THC and CBD.
The Bottom Line
Some call marijuana a medical miracle, and others keep their anti-legalize views. The problem is that the amount of research and the results of already existing studies are not enough or strong for those who make up laws to come up to a steady and unanimous decision. So, if you consider this way of treatment, look for more information on how cannabis use can affect your health condition. And of course, heed the views of a doctor.
About the author: Christina Matthews, the journalist who studies the latest news in the health industry. Now she studies the effects of smoking and vaping on health and reasons for such its popularity.