- Medical and Therapeutic Benefits
Medical and Therapeutic Benefits
THC is one of the primary cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant and is largely responsible for the psychoactive effects brought on from cannabis use (3, 20, 21). Over the years, based on anecdotal and scientific evidence, THC has demonstrated its potential therapeutic benefit toward a number of conditions and symptoms including nausea, vomiting, insomnia, pain, muscle spasticity, tremors, and bronchospasm often brought on by a range of medical conditions (Table 1) (3, 20-23). Emerging research indicates a high level of therapeutic potential for a variety of health concerns, in some cases even at doses substantially lower than those required to feel the psychoactive effects of THC (24). For example, evidence at lab-scale has confirmed that THC and its derivatives might be capable of reducing tumor cell growth (23), as well as symptoms induced by cancers (3, 21, 25). In conjugation with other cannabinoids, THC might be therapeutic against a number of neurological disorders, including multiple sclerosis (MS)(3, 21, 26, 27), Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease (28), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer’s disease (29), as well as anxiety, stress, and depression (3, 21, 25).
Figure 3: Chemical Structure of THC
CBD is another abundant cannabinoid found in cannabis. Unlike THC, CBD does not have the same psychoactive effect. Research is beginning to demonstrate that CBD possesses therapeutic effects via blockage of neurotransmitter reuptake and through its ability to bind several other targets, including serotonin receptors(4, 6, 12). CBD has shown great promise in patients suffering from epilepsy by significantly reducing the frequency of re-occurring seizures (3, 22, 30), as well as several other conditions and related symptoms (see Table 1). There is also evidence to suggest that CBD may help with diabetes (31), varying symptoms of cancer (31), mood disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attention deficit disorder (ADD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) (12, 22), and inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBS) (3, 32-35). CBD may also help with weight management and promote cessation of addictions to smoking (tobacco cigarettes) (31, 36-38).Due to its lack of psychoactive stimulus, CBD is often a desirable choice for many individuals seeking cannabinoid therapies.
Figure 4: Chemical Structure of CBD
Table 1: POTENTIAL THERAPEUTIC USES OF CANNABINOIDS AND THEIR SPECIFIC TARGETED SYMPTOMS, as suggested based on information collected via clinical trials(1), pre-clinical trials(2), in vitro assays(3), or anecdotal reports(4).
It is important to note that the medical benefits of cannabinoids are not limited to the information displayed in this chart. The endocannabinoid system has been shown to affect all regions of the human body and as such is thought to be involved in other physiological process unrelated to the nervous system. Other potential targets of cannabinoid therapeutics include liver disease (39), pancreatic disease(40), obesity(36), and osteoporosis(41). In addition, some research presented in this table is not yet conclusive and/or are among preliminary findings that have yet to be confirmed by further investigation.