In a truly not too distant past, cannabis was better known as pot, weed, grass or marijuana, or even as chronic among fans of gangsta rap. And it was the most popular illegal drug in the world.
However, the tide has now turned. An increasing number of countries and American States have now legalized its medical use and, more recently, its use for recreational purposes.
The consequences of this change are far from insignificant.
No longer bound by legal constraints, scientists are now able to study the plant in order to better understand the interaction between the molecules that make up the species, as well as the ways in which its use could be combined with other products.
For example, with melatonin to help induce sleep (which is already being tested).
There is therefore a genuine medical revolution currently underway surrounding this plant, whose medical use is rapidly becoming more widespread due to the convincing results among those who use it to treat various conditions ranging from post-traumatic shock to menstrual pain.
There are three subspecies that can be grouped under the cannabis species banner: cannabis sativa, cannabis indica and cannabis ruderalis (a wild strain of the plant).
The most sought-after part of the plant is the flower, which often takes the form of a bud that is first dried and then smoked as is, or transformed into edible products, oils or beverages.
The science of cannabis
You need only visit the website of the SQDC or a Canadian dispensary to quickly understand that above and beyond these three basic varieties, there are manifold strains of cannabis. Before it was definitively legalized, the plant already had its share of hybrid forms. At the time, the objective had invariably been to obtain a strong psychotropic effect. Yet, this wasn’t always the case as there was already a parallel market, albeit illegal, aimed at sick people. In Quebec, the Club Compassion was one of the forerunners in the field.
The mutations that were generated resulted in a multitude of varieties, as the lawbreaking botanists sought to obtain stable effects, desirable fragrances and large quantities of flowers.
As a result, when the plant was finally legalized, it was already possible to obtain products with varying effects and strengths, depending on what you were looking for.
Since all this research was being carried out illegally, scientists are now only just beginning to understand in any detail how cannabis molecules interact, as the plant has only recently been permitted inside research laboratories. It is known, however, that cannabis is made up of two main constituents (cannabinoids) which largely determine the effects it provides: THC and CBD.
Every strain of cannabis has its own unique cannabinoid profile and this explains why the effects can differ considerably from one type to another.
A challenge in terms of spelling as well as pronunciation, to simplify things tetrahydrocannabinolis commonly referred to as THC. This is the psychoactive agent in cannabis. It acts on the brain’s receptors, providing the euphoric effects for which the plant is known.
However, a study carried out by researchers at the University of New Mexico, the findings of which were published in 2019, clearly indicates that THC is a substance with not just recreational properties and could well be as effective if not more effective than CBD (see below) in the treatment of several health conditions.
It helps cancer patients regain their appetite and in certain individuals it helps reduce anxiety. It is also known for its ability to replace analgesics (such ascertain opioids), reduce nausea and help people suffering from insomnia to sleep better.
This is the non-psychoactive agent in cannabis. There are therefore varieties of the plant with a low THC content which do not result in changes in perception but nonetheless have numerous therapeutic properties.
Among the most popular of these properties are anxiety relief, overall improved quality of sleep and anti-inflammatory qualities.
In a number of American States, CBD is not classified as a medicine or a drug but instead as a food supplement, making it available for purchase in many different forms at all kinds of retailers, such as coffee shops. Several professional athletes have invested in the development of these products, which they say they have benefited from due to their anti-inflammatory properties.
According to the World Health Organization, CBD does not lead to any form of physical or psychological dependence. The Harvard Medical School also sees no contraindication to using it, but points out that promises made by the manufacturers of certain products should be taken with a grain of salt, and even a measure of mistrust.
The authors of this article also suggest that it is best to consult your doctor to ensure you’re taking the correct dosage, a principle we agree with entirely.
The scientific community is still in the early stages of research on cannabis. But it would already appear that different cannabinoids work together to produce therapeutic effects that vary from one patient to the next.
At Fuga, we are committed to growing tried and tested strains that have predictable effects.
However, as with any medication, it is possible that cannabis might cause adverse effects in some people and is not suitable for them. It is therefore not in itself a miracle drug and careful consideration must be given to its use with the support of experienced health care professionals.