Medical marijuana is changing the medical landscape right before our eyes. The plant is being heavily researched so that we can understand how each component can help people in need. It is such a valuable resource that even pharmaceutical schools have classes on the topic. A survey completed by the University of Pittsburgh concluded that over 62 percent of schools now include medical marijuana as part of the curriculum. The incorporation of the topic stems from pharmacists needing to be prepared to prescribe medical marijuana prescriptions.

How Does It Work?

A cannabis plant has over 480 components to it, 66 of those are labeled as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids impact the user by interacting with the user’s receptors to release hormones or endorphins. Two of the primary receptors impacted are known as cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2). CB1 is found more densely in the brain and all through the body. The CB2 receptors are more readily found in the gastrointestinal and immune system.

Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA)

THC is created when THCA is left to dry or is put under heat. This cannabinoid is non-psychoactive and found in raw cannabis. THCA is being researched to help with issues that impact the endocannabinoid system. Researchers have seen this cannabinoid assist with convulsions, which is why it is considered an anti-spasmodic. They have also seen it help with insomnia.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

THC is the most widely known component of the cannabis plant. It causes psychoactive effects and binds with CB1 and CB2. Once combined with the receptors, it causes the brain to release dopamine. Dopamine plays a very important role in motivation, reward, and euphoria. THC is known for its anti-inflammatory aspects, which is why it is known to treat Parkinson’s Disease, depression, and other conditions. THC also causes the body to release hormones that drive hunger proving its use for patients that deal with the issue.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

CBD is another cannabinoid that gets a lot of attention; it stems from the fact that this component of the plant does not cause any psychoactive impact to the user. It does not impact the receptors that deal with euphoria or appetite stimulation. CBD actively impacts the ones that deal with anti-inflammation and lowers cancer cell growth and bone-reabsorption. Since the cannabinoid does not cause psychoactive effects, the drug is typically combined with other medications to treat ailments.

Cannabichromene (CBC)

CBC is widely known for its antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. The cannabinoid is similar to that of CBD, where it does not have any psychoactive impacts on the user. It has multiple therapeutic abilities and is shown to be effective as an acne treatment. It is shown to impede tumor growth and helps the body battle against cancer.

Being able to understand the components in medical marijuana will help researchers and citizens understand what they are taking and how it is helping them. As more research is done into the plant, it will be interesting to see how else it is going to help the medical field.