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Medicinal Uses of Cannabis (Marijuana)

Updated on April 12, 2011

Marijuana refers to the dried female flowers of the cannabis plant belonging preferably, but not necessarily, the genotype THCAS (vulgarly "cannabis"). In all varieties of hemp are contained in fact, in varying proportions and concentrations, other psychoactive drugs, including the main one is Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol. The varieties are selected from which to obtain marijuana for a higher content of these substances while the opposite is true for the varieties cultivated legally, for which a limit to this content is fixed by law. The plant material or preparations that contain appreciable extent psychoactive substances are considered part of the so-called "soft drugs".It has herbal properties.


The term "marijuana" is the common name by which Mexico is indicated when the plant for the production of drugs. The usage of marijuana has since spread throughout the world conveyed by the media since the first half of last century.

In common parlance for marijuana means the dried flowers of female plants to be smoked and tanned, although smoking is not the only vehicle of cannabinoids, it is fat soluble. The recruitment methods alternative to the traditional procedure include infusion in milk, butter or other lipids in which they can dissolve the active cannabinoids (THC).

Inflorescence is also apparent from a special resin workers whose consistency can vary from a sticky solid in relation to methods of production (hashish).

The leaves of hemp, marijuana sign media, not because poor people smoke in active and full of chlorophyll which exacerbates the typical sweet taste of the inflorescence.

In the thirties, the anthropologist Sula Benet has highlighted the possibility that the ancient Israelites did a sacred use of cannabis, the information deduced from the verses of the Bible which speaks of Kaneh bosm (קְנֵה בֹשֶׂם). The cream of hashish is also used for meditative purposes by Indian Sadhu, many Buddhist monks in Nepal and, in general, in the Himalayas.


The effects of marijuana use are different, have different intensities depending on the subject, the circumstances in which the psycho-physical assumes, by the simultaneous intake of alcohol or other psychoactive substances, dall'assuefazione the consumer and the amount of active active (THC) taken, the main effects are:

· attenuation of the reactivity physical and mental health;

· temporary lowering of blood pressure;

· effect slightly euphoric or sedative;

· muscle relaxation;

· bronchodilation;

· increased appetite, suppression of satiety (commonly known as "Chemical hunger");

· if taken in large quantities, in susceptible individuals, may cause anxiety and nausea;

· psychopathology in individuals with latent, although rare, can trigger these same.

Regular users report that in some people these effects tend to disappear or diminish, probably due to the onset of a certain degree of tolerance specification. While there is some carcinogenic substance caused by smoking regardless of the smoke, many of the other cannabinoids have anticancer properties. It is unclear whether smoking marijuana increases or decreases the risk of cancer. Moreover, the use of these substances can cause, in subjects where they are already present in latent effects such as disorientation and high cognitive opacity, apathy (in case of prolonged use), syndromes euphoric, more sensitive to colors, drowsiness.

In those countries where it has allowed the medical use of this substance, it tries to propose the use of the user apparatus capable of reducing the damage from smoking, such as vaporizers that prevent the burning of extracting inflorescences, however, cannabinoids.

Like any other active molecule, including the side effects of cannabinoids are in close relationship with metabolism and the doses taken by the subject. For example, nausea is a side effect that occurs more frequently at high doses, despite a therapeutic application is related to its anti-emetic properties of some of the active principles. A study by Dr. Thomas F. Denson 's University of Southern California and Earleywineb Mitchell' s University of New York showed a decrease in depression in cannabis users.

The recruitment of these derivatives can have interactions with drugs. A further recent U.S. study has excluded heart damage caused by misuse is not even moderately active ingredients of cannabis indica.

Various effects, as mentioned above, may be packed in an influential manner by two psychological factors: the set (the state of mind of those who consume) and setting (the company which is located and the location of the consumer). In March 2007, the scientific journal The Lancet published a study that highlights marijuana less dangerous than alcohol, nicotine or benzodiazepines. However, in some countries, mainly in Britain, some varieties have appeared with a higher than average concentration of THC that can lead, in susceptible individuals, the more frequent occurrence, including side effects, a state similar to drunkenness with all sensory and mental disadvantages that that entails.Currently we are conducting studies on the effects of prenatal exposure to marijuana, that even excluding the increase in perinatal diseases (premature birth, low birth weight) have found effects on the development of nervous system cells in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. Clinically, these children have learning disabilities, behavioral disorders and social problems (like, in severe cases, fetal alcohol syndrome), which appear at school age. However, other studies have shown that moderate exposure to cannabinoids of marijuana during pregnancy would decrease by half the risk of death at birth.

Therapeutic Uses


Cannabis is used to counteract the decrease in appetite in patients with AIDS and cancer and to decrease nausea derived from radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Also causes a positive effect on patients with chronic pain, multiple sclerosis (decreased muscle rigor) and Tourette syndrome. To date, as is the case for the majority of active compounds on the market, are still ongoing studies to ascertain the validity of these effects, there is no definitive and unambiguous evidence that demonstrates the effectiveness of the doctor, but millions of consumers in world - even with serious illnesses - they attest to receive benefits from the active ingredients of the plant, used in medicine for thousands of years and present in the official pharmacopoeia until the middle of 900.


Possible applications have been discovered and the subsequent trials have as their object:


·         Chemioterapici.Efficacia appetite drug tested by routine medical practice, hundreds of thousands of doses of synthetic THC (Marinol) were prescribed each year by U.S. oncologists though it seems to have taken the same effects as marijuana in its natural state (or smoked ingested) as the Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol is just one of 460 chemical compounds present in cannabis.


·         Epilepsy. In place of anticonvulsant drugs that have serious side effects including mood. Proven efficacy in some cases


·         MS. In lieu of tranquilizers drugs at high doses, with risk of physical dependence and lethargy. Effectiveness proven in many cases. However, there is the drug of choice for the spasms, and only in few cases has shown an improvement according to the Ashworth scale.


·         Anorexia. Strong appetite stimulant.


·         Glaucoma.La marijuana lowers the pressure by an average 25-30%, sometimes up to 50%. Some non-psychotropic cannabinoids, and to a lesser extent, some non-cannabinoid constituents of cannabis decrease the intraocular pressure.


·         Asthma. marijuana has bronchodilator capacity to prevent the damage from smoke, especially in those cases you use vaporizers.


·         Staphylococcus aureus. The active ingredients used were effective even against strains resistant to methicillin.


In the Netherlands, Spain, Canada and in eleven U.S. states the use of cannabis for medical purposes is already allowed in other European countries and beyond is the subject of heated debate both on the scientific and the ethical. Main scholar and promoter of the therapeutic use of cannabis and its decriminalization is Professor Lester Grinspoon, a psychiatrist and professor emeritus at Harvard University. In Italy, in-depth studies were carried out by psychiatrists prof. Gian Luigi Gessa and dr. Giancarlo Arnao.

Legal Status Of Marijuana Use In Some Countries

· Argentina: legal for private use.

· Australia: illegal.

· Belgium: illegal (but the Belgian government has begun a research program to determine its medical effectiveness).

· Brasil: illegal but decriminalized (if you have fewer than 20 grams).

· Cameroon: the illegal cultivation of cannabis sativa, who suffers from cancer or AIDS can use it as a painkiller.

· Canada: illegal, legal for medical use (in a process, a court ruled the regulation for the medical use of marijuana was unconstitutional because it "does not allow seriously ill people use marijuana because there are legal sources of supply of the drug" ).

· France: illegal. For consumers it provides for penalties up to one year in prison, but the Ministry of Justice (which are dependent on the prosecutors) recommends not to initiate criminal proceedings against occasional users, but if it catches them red-handed police intervention for the deterrence.

· Jamaica formally illegal, but in fact widely tolerated. Is an inseparable part of the most widespread religion in Jamaica, Rastafarianism.

· Japan: all preparations containing THC illegal since 1948, after a law introduced by U.S. occupation forces after the Second World War.

· Germany: legal use, possession of small quantities (under 10 grams) is not pursued.

· Israel illegally, the medical use is authorized only by the Ministry of Health, which evaluates each case.

· Italy: Set in the same tables of heroin and cocaine. The law currently in force (Decree-Fini Giovanardi on the Winter Olympics) limit the quantity of active ingredient within which commits a wrongful act involving the sanctions (which may be convened by the prefect end to the proceedings with a formal request not to make more use of the substance, suspended driver's license, identity document valid for expatriation of firearms or a residence permit for tourism or prohibition of achieving such authorizations) and above which it prefigures the offense of trafficking. Offense punishable by 1-6 years in prison for small amounts and 6-20 years of imprisonment in case of large quantities or cultivation. A ruling of the Supreme Court of 18 January 2007 stipulates that no crime is growing in the garden some plant of marijuana because it is equivalent to possession for personal use. The opposite view instead a sentence of 10 January 2008, where the Criminal Division believes the growing crime in any case.It allowed the therapeutic use of medicinal preparations based on marijuana duly prescribed according to the need for care.

· Luxembourg: legal possession and use for medical purposes if the consumer does not involve both adults and minors.

· New Zealand: illegal (the Ministry of Health said that a medical can not be excluded, but further studies are needed and a method for proper adjustment). The Health Committee of the New Zealand Parliament recommended an easing of laws on cannabis and the provision of medicines based on cannabis

· Netherlands: legal, according to precise rules, see the "Politics of the Netherlands on drugs."

· Portugal: the legal possession since 2001, buying and selling is a crime.

· UK: illegal (in 1998 the House of Lords recommended that cannabis was made available for medical use by prescription. After several clinical trials the government has not accepted the recommendation). Recently it has been decriminalized personal use at home.

· Czech Republic: it is legal to possess up to 15 grams of marijuana is also legal to grow this plant species for personal use. It is not for sale.

· Spain: legal, in places approved

· U.S.: Illegal use at the federal level for any reason, however, 11 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws that provide for an exemption from the prohibition for medical use.

· Switzerland:illegal possession and cultivation (legalization experiments were conducted in some cantons). Switzerland voted for an initiative to decriminalize cannabis use 30 November 2008 but was rejected by Swiss voters with 63.2% of votes.


Over the past year (2010) are conducting many studies on the true gravity of the use of hemp. Many tests have in fact compared cannabis to alcohol, tobacco and caffeine, substances completely legal, and the results were just discounted. To date, we know that cannabis, unlike alcohol does not cause any physical dependence, even at a long-term use. Suffice it to say that according to studies conducted by the dependence on a cup of coffee is even greater. Even from a perspective of long-term symptoms hemp is put on par with the caffeine. Another point of view that is certainly good news is that cases of people who needed an ambulance following the use of cannabis is rare. In fact we know that cannabis, unlike alcohol and other drugs do not have a limit dose (overdose / coma alcohol). There are no confirmed cases of human deaths due to cannabis, isolated cases were caused by substances mixed with it. The deaths due to cancer are not related to the substance, but by the combustion of the smoke.Oral intake and this risk is so obvious proof that the substance is not to create the symptoms in fact, recent studies have shown that several active ingredients of cannabis are anti-cancer. Studies on the social harm have also yielded positive results. Research conducted on reports of violence, rapes, acts vandalistici, are often connected to use of alcohol or cocaine, cannabis does not lead to violence and it does not induce a state of collective aggression. From all the studies is finally shown that alcohol is the most dangerous drug, ripping life by thousands of people every year in close comparison to heroin, and marijuana was the amazing impact of child and social damage of the individual . Some researchers have observed that a very high use of this substance may alter the psyche. Need to highlight, however, that this plant is attracting increasing interest to apply it in degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis and others. Various studies show that marijuana helps the formation of new brain cells.


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    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great well written and informative hub,very well done and researched .

      Vote up and more !!!

    • yenajeon profile image

      yenajeon 6 years ago from California

      Great read and very well researched!

    • HighGuy420 profile image

      HighGuy420 6 years ago

      i great read very useful

    • daffodil2010 profile image

      daffodil2010 6 years ago

      Dear Cogerson

      thank you for commeting

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 6 years ago from Virginia

      A great researched hub....I found it very interesting to read....especially all the different laws throughout the world...voted up and useful

    • daffodil2010 profile image

      daffodil2010 6 years ago

      thank you for your attentions and comments

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      What a thorough and useful overview! Well done! Voted up and useful.

    • phillip goodson profile image

      phillip goodson 6 years ago

      Great hub! lots of good information there!

    • daffodil2010 profile image

      daffodil2010 6 years ago

      thanks for your comment:D

    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 6 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      It seems our bodies are genectically connected to Cannibis as we are loaded with Cannibis Receptors throughout the body.;)