Marijuana and hemp are both derived from the Cannabis Sativa plant. To be considered medical marijuana or medical cannabis the strain of the plant has to have sufficient cannabinoids to assist in healing or pain and inflammation reduction.
Marijuana is distinguished from hemp by the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. A hemp plant has less than .3% THC whereas a marijuana plant has from .5% to 30%. THC is best known for its psychoactive properties resulting in a “stoned” feeling but also has therapeutic attributes.
Cannabis and inflammation:
Medical marijuana and medical cannabis both work at the cellular level to relieve pain and other symptoms in which the primary culprit of the condition is inflammation. These conditions include such diseases as arthritis, cancer, autoimmune disorders, digestive disorders, depression, and many others. Whether ingested or applied topically it targets the C1 and C2 receptors in the cells to turn off the signal which produces the inflammation causing acid.
The Endocannabinoid System:
It was not discovered how and why cannabis worked to relieve symptoms until the 1980s. The research was conducted since medical marijuana, and cannabis appeared to be helping such a wide array of symptoms and no none could explain why.
Finally, the Endocannabinoid System or ECS was uncovered. The ECS is a system which runs through the entire body and all the systems of humans and other mammals. The ECS is made up of endocannabinoids or small molecules composed of arachidonic acid, anandamide, and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol. The function of the ECS is to achieve balance or homeostasis throughout the body.
Cannabis and the Endocannabinoid System:
Remarkably the ECS is set up to work naturally with the cannabis plant. The cannabis plant is made up of the same type of phytocannabinoids as are found in the ECS. The same elements protecting the plant are also those which alleviate various symptoms from inflammatory diseases.
Though the ECS works on its own, sometimes factors such as genetics, poor diet, or drug or alcohol abuse wreak havoc on the system. Ingesting or applying hemp targets the area where assistance is needed. The organ or body system in distress determines whether the C1 or C2 receptors are the main recipients of the therapeutic effects. The ECS is associated both with physical and psychological disorders.
Though both marijuana and hemp can positively impact the ECS, the THC in marijuana is associated more closely with the C1 receptors, focusing on pain relief, nausea control, and spasmodic concerns.
The CBDs in hemp target the C2 receptors which alleviate inflammation, and thereby also reduce pain.
Though side-effects are minimal, the dosage is important. Abuse of cannabis, especially marijuana can have adverse results such as memory loss, coordination problems, and impaired judgment.
It is best to consult a healthcare professional when using any form of cannabis for medicinal purposes.