Cannabis is derived from the cannabis plant (cannabis sativa). It grows wild in many of the tropical and temperate areas of the world. It can be grown in almost any climate, and is increasingly cultivated by means of indoor hydroponic technology. The Cannabis plant has a history of medicinal use dating back thousands of years across many cultures. The main active ingredient in cannabis is called delta-9 tetrahydro-cannabinol, commonly known as THC. This is the part of the plant that gives the "high." There is a wide range of THC potency between cannabis products. For medicinal purposes, the active ingredients mostly presented are THC & CBD, each having different therapeutic effects in the patient. The two most known families of the cannabis plant are: Sativas and Indicas. Some plants exhibit traits of both, these are known as Hybrids.
THC / CBD Properties
While there are over 100 different cannabinoids that can occur in cannabis, the two most well known and studied compounds in the cannabis plant happen to also be the two that occur in the largest volume: delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly referred to as THC, and cannabidiol, known as CBD. THC is the primary psychoactive component of cannabis which gives the effect of what recreational users call the “high.” CBD is considered to be non-psychoactive and when used in conjunction with THC helps dampen the psychoactivity and other side effects some people consider undesirable. Both cannabinoids have an impressive list of ways they support the human body.
THC is a strong anti-inflammatory and pain killer and has been shown to reduce the amyloid plaques in the brain that cause Alzhiemer’s and is also a bronchodilator, anti-spasmodic, muscle relaxant, a powerful neuroprotectant and antioxidant. In fact, it has 20 times the anti-inflammatory power of aspirin and twice that of hydrocortisone.
CBD is the second most common cannabinoid in cannabis and the most common in hemp plants. CBD rich cannabis (4% or more) provides potent therapeutic benefits without the euphoria or lethargy of many high THC varieties. CBD and THC are believed to have a synergistic effect meaning that when they are both present at therapeutic levels, they are more effective together than they are alone. While THC is widely known for its psychoactive properties, CBD may be best known for its ability to counterbalance anxiety, tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), hunger and sedation caused by THC and its ability to control sever forms of epilepsy.
Types of Strains
Indica strains are known for being physically sedating, perfect for relaxing with a movie or as a nightcap before bed. Sativas typically provide more invigorating, uplifting cerebral effects that pair well with physical activity, social gatherings, and creative projects. Hybrids tend to fall somewhere in between the indica-sativa spectrum, depending on the traits they inherit from their parent strains.
Sativa plants are generally high in THC. Some of its effects are: sharpened sensory perception, focus, more energy, creativity, and feelings of euphoria. They are recommended for the treatment of debilitating conditions commonly associated with mind numbing symptoms such as depression, anxiety, attention deficit or mental exhaustion. Sativas also have a lighter, more fruity aroma. In other words, if you want to be social, have brilliant ideas, or manage to accomplish anything at all, sativas are your go-to.
Indica plants are generally high in CBD content. They are responsible for feelings of deep relaxation, calmness and pain relief. CBD is ideal for patients suffering from pain, insomnia, or nausea. On the other hand, if you consume an indica, a.k.a “in-da-couch” you might feel sleepy, relaxed, pain relief, and it can also reduce nausea, increase appetite (munchies) and fight depression.
Hybrid plants are acquired through selective marriage by growers to produce a wider range of treatment options for patients. The idea is to be able to provide patients with medication versatility to provide the best healing experience. Hybrids vary from balances of 50/50 THC and CBD or more dominant Sativa or Indica.
Most plants have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and recent studies have accredited medicinal cannabis as a possible cure for cancer according to the NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE.