Cannabis is a flowering herb believed to have originated in Central Asia but is now found globally. As early as 2700 BC, there is documented evidence that cannabis was used as a safe and effective therapeutic remedy. Between 1840 and 1900, European and American journals of medicine published more than 100 articles on the therapeutic use of cannabis. In fact, cannabis was part of the American pharmacopoeia until 1942, and is currently available by prescription in the Netherlands, Israel, and Germany.
There are several species of cannabis. Those that contain high levels of the psychoactive chemical THC are commonly known as “marijuana” and used in medicinal marijuana. Those with low levels of THC are harvested commercially worldwide as “hemp” for a variety of products, including rope, paper, and clothing.
There are more than 475 chemical compounds in the cannabis plant, including over 80 medicinal cannabinoids. The two most well-known cannabinoids are THC and CBD.
What is THC? (Tetrahydrocannabinol)
THC is the psychoactive chemical in marijuana. It is the one that gives marijuana its mind-altering reputation. However, it also offers numerous medicinal benefits. THC blocks pain signals from the brain, making it a highly effective pain reliever, especially for nerve-related pain.
What is CBD? (Cannabidiol)
The best way to describe CBD is to say it is the opposite of THC. And it is. That is because CBD is an anti-psychoactive chemical. It counteracts the mind-altering properties of THC and provides balance. This is one of the reasons why the different forms of medicinal marijuana are so effective.
CBD is also a highly beneficial chemical. It reduces nausea and suppresses epileptic seizures. Arthritis patients gain measurable relief from its anti-inflammatory properties. CBD slows tumor and cancer cell growth in cancer patients, and it has proven to be effective in treatments for anxiety and depression.