The Many Benefits of Marijuana
Genetic strains of the marijuana plant that are primarily used for medical applications and numerous benefits contain that main active substance delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, on the budding flower of the plant, which activates the cannabinoid 1 and 2 receptors (CB1 and CB2). Although THC is the cannabinoid that reacts most with the CB receptors, there are approximately 66 known other cannabinoids found in cannabis that have synergistic effects. These strains are usually either from the species sativa, indica, or a hybrid of both. They also usually have a THC content that ranges anywhere from 3% to 22% of the mass depending on the desired strength that the patient requires.
Industrial application is most commonly associated with hemp, which is the strong fibrous material that is pulled from the bark of the Cannabis sativa plant. It commonly contains less than 1% of THC to none at all. The cannabis plant is so versatile that it can be used to make paper, textiles, and biodegradable plastics. Hemp is also being experimented with to make alternative forms of fuel from the multitude of oils that can be extracted from the plant. Hemp oils contain Omega-3, 6, and 9 fatty acids, which are essential in the biosynthetic pathway that humans use to create anandamide and 2- Arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG), which are cannabinoids that are naturally created in the body.
The cannabis has just as many practical medical and industrial uses as it does aliases. As medical research develops and more benefits of the marijuana plant are discovered, then there will eventually be a shift in public opinion to see cannabis as a medicine and not as an illicit substance. Marijuana has yet to cause any significant harm to users, and many feel that it is a safer alternative to other forms medication. Marijuana benefits have been scientifically proven to alleviate pain, and there is substantial evidence that the cannabinoids can prevent the growth of cancerous cells in different organs in the body.
The list of ailments that can benefit from medical marijuana are endless; some of which include, severe nausea, loss of appetite, insomnia, glaucoma, chronic pain, and seizures, just to name a few. Although there is no known illness for which cannabis is a cure, there are hundreds of pharmaceuticals for serious diseases that have side effects that could be assuaged through the use of medical marijuana.
As to date, 17 states and the District of Colombia have approved the use of medical marijuana. The first state to do so was California with Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate use Act of 1996. The issue today seems to be less focused on the morality of smoking marijuana and more on whether federal law should supersede states’ rights.