You may have guessed that marijuana, or cannabis, is the most commonly used illegal drug in America. Surprisingly cannabis has been used medically for over 5000 years and physicians in the United States were prescribing cannabis in 1850 for the treatment of ailments such as nerve pain, alcoholism, opiate addiction, and seizures. Marijuana was removed from the list of prescribed medications in 1942 before it was completely banned for medicinal use by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in 1970. The CSA classified cannabis as a Schedule I drug, a group of drugs considered highly addictive and with no accepted medical use. This placed marijuana in the same category as heroine and LSD.
Legalization of Medical Cannabis is Growing
California was the first state to legalize marijuana for medical use in 1996. Since then 28 additional states, along with the District of Columbia, have legalized medical marijuana. There has been renewed interest in the use of cannabis as medicine with clear evidence that the benefits of medical cannabis outweigh the risk, and that cannabis is a potential replacement for several more harmful medications.
It Remains Illegal Under Federal Law
The supremacy clause of the US Constitution states that “in case of conflict between federal and state law, the federal law must be applied and state constitutions are subordinate to federal law.” This means that despite state laws providing for legalized medical marijuana use, it is still illegal according to federal law. So how do states get around the fact that federal laws supersede state laws? Legal and compliant businesses and patients who possess therapeutic cannabis are offered a degree of protection from federal prosecution through the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment. This law effectively prevents the U.S. Department of Justice from spending federal funds to interfere with state medical marijuana programs.
Cannabis sativa produces a relaxing effect and is effective in treating pain, inflammation, spasms, anxiety, and insomnia. Cannabis indica strain produces a more uplifting effect and is effective in treating depression and fatigue, and works well as an appetite stimulant.
There are 2 Main Strains of Therapeutic Cannabis
Many people do not know there are 2 primary strains of medical marijuana: Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. These 2 strains have different effects on the body. Cannabis sativa produces a relaxing effect and is effective in treating pain, inflammation, spasms, anxiety, and insomnia. Cannabis indica strain produces a more uplifting effect and is effective in treating depression and fatigue, and works well as an appetite stimulant. Scientist have developed numerous hybrid strains taking advantage of beneficial effects of each depending on the desired result.
There are Receptors in the Body for Cannabis’ Active Ingredients
The body has a signaling system that produces its own cannabinoids and reacts to cannabinoids, the active ingredients found in marijuana. You may have heard to the 2 main cannabinoids – THC or tetrahydrocannabinol and CBD or cannabidiol which are the most common and most potent. 2 types of endocannabinoid receptors have been discovered in the human body: CB1 receptors that are found in the brain and play a role in processes of reward, cognition, pain perception, and motor control, and CB2 receptors that are found in the spleen, white blood cells, and other peripheral areas of the body.