Cannabis – What is it & What does it do to my body?
This post is a quick guide to help you understand the information that is being tossed out to the internet about Cannabis and understand the difference between true researched information and fiction. Questions you may have about Cannabis or Marijuana like “Can it Cure Cancer? Does it help with Seizures? Can you Overdose? What are the effects on the brain? Can I use it while pregnant? What are the effects on the body?.” These questions we’ll hopefully address and shed some light on the true nature of this versatile plant.
What is Cannabis?
Cannabis is derived from the Cannabis plant “Cannabis Sativa / Indica / Ruderalis” , it grows wild in many of the tropical and temperate areas of the world. It can grow in almost any climate, and is increasingly cultivated by means of indoor hydroponics technology. Cannabis must not get confused with Hemp, they are from the same plant family but are completely different in appearance, chemical make up, cultivation and application. Although they may look the same, Hemp completely lacks the psychoactive properties that Cannabis is known for. For more information on Hemp please visit https://ministryofhemp.com/hemp/not-marijuana/
The main ingredient in Cannabis is called “Delta-9 tetrahydro-cannabin”, commonly known as “THC”. This is the part of the plant that gives the “high” or psychoactive properties. There is a wide range of THC potency between cannabis products.
Cannabis is used in Four main forms “Marijuana”, Medical Edible Oil, hashish and hash oil. Marijuana is made from dried flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. It is the least potent of all the cannabis products and is usually smoked or made into edible products like cookies or brownies. Hashish is made from the resin “a secreted gum” of the cannabis plant. It is dried and pressed into small blocks and smoked. It can also be added to food and eaten. Hash oil, the most potent cannabis product, is a thick oil obtained from hashish, it can also be smoked. Medical Grade Cannabis oil is generally ingested sublingual to absorb directly into the blood stream, it may also be put into foods and other products with a milder affect.
To achieve the desired affect or “High” that some patients are looking for, Cannabis is usually smoked in hand rolled cigarettes “Known as Joints” or special water pipes “Bongs” or even Vapes or Vaporized. These pipes or bongs can be bought or made, for safety reasons please consult your physician or local distributor.
Why do People use Cannabis?
Cannabis has many functions, primarily in previous years it has been used to experience a sense of mild euphoria and relaxation, often referred to as a “high”. However, this should not be confused as there is a difference in the types of plants that produce a compound called Cannabidiol “CBD” versus tetrahydrocannabinol or “THC”.
- Consuming / Smoking cannabis with a mild to high level of THC causes changes in the user’s mood and also affects how they think and perceive the environment, e.g everyday activities such as watching the television and listening to music can become altered and more intense as THC acts as a psychoactive.
Short Term Effects of THC Include:
- Feeling of well-being
- Loss of inhibitions
- Decreased Nausea
- Increased appetite
- Loss of Co-ordination “Slowed / altered Motor Skills”
- Bloodshot eyes
- Dryness of the eyes, mouth and throat.
- Anxiety & Paranoia – Amplification of conditions like Schizophrenia
With current medical research CBD or Cannabidiol has been shown to act as a mild to high level analgesic and has properties that can benefit many medical conditions such as, fibromyalgia, muscular or skeletal including spinal damage, seizures, chronic pain and more. CBD has “No psychoactive properties” and will not make you high or lower your ability to function or operate machinery. For a more detailed list on what CBD may help with consult your local physician to see if its right for you.
CBD versus THC
As legal use of medical Cannabis and other products become more available you may have more questions like what is the difference between CBD and THC. Although they are similar even down to the same molecular structure “21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms & 2 oxygen atoms” the “bioavailability” and your body’s way to process them is completely different. Your “Endocannabinoid system” also known as ESC is a biological system composed of endocannabinoids which are endogenous lipid-based retrograde neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors “Works with your central nervous system, including the brain”
“Despite their similar chemical structures, CBD and THC don’t have the same psychoactive effect.”
CBD – Medical Benefits
- Seizure “Reduction in time & severity”
- Inflammation reduction
- Cancer “Reduction in Pain or discomfort”
- Pain / acute or chronic reduction “Moderate form Analgesic”
- Inflammatory bowel disease “reduction in severity”
- Nausea “low form Antiemetic”
- Migraines “Reduction in time & Severity”
- Psychosis or mental disorder “Moderate Aid in reduction of anxiety / depression”
THC – Medical Benefits
- Glaucoma “Reduction of Intracranial Pressure”
- Cancer “Reduction in Pain or discomfort”
- Insomnia “Reduction in mucosal membrane production / Dry eyes”
- Low appetite “Increases appetite”
- Nausea “Moderate form Antiemetic”
- Muscle Spasticity “Muscle Relaxant”
- Anxiety “Reduces inhibitions”
- Pain “Low form analgesic”
CBD is well tolerated, even in large doses. Research suggests any side effects that do occur with CBD use are likely the result of “drug-to-drug” interactions between CBD and other medications you may be taking.
THC causes temporary side effects as long as you continue to use THC products.
- Increased Heart Rate
- Coordination Problems “Slow Reaction Rate”
- Dry Mouth
- Red Eyes “Dry eyes”
- Memory Loss
- Impairment “Inability to judge distance and time”
- Anxiety / Paranoia increase “Schizophrenia like symptoms”
- Brain Development inhibitor “THC is proven to reduce brain development in Children / Teens & adolescence leading to long lasting side effects and reduction in brain function”
- Addiction – THC “is” an addictive psychoactive substance that can lead to long term dependency and use. If you feel you ”Need” THC to cope or deal with life and consume it every day speak to your doctor about addiction counseling. The statement that many use is “I can quit any time I want, I just don’t want too. I don‘t need it I just prefer it”
Questions & Answers
Does Cannabis cure cancer?
- “No” Current Medical Research does not support the use of Cannabis as a “Cure” of Cancer. However Cannabis has been shown to greatly benefit the symptoms and discomfort associated with this ailment.
Can I smoke or use Cannabis while pregnant?
- Do not Smoke or consume THC while pregnant, Smoking THC while pregnant “May alleviate nausea symptoms, reduce stress and discomfort on the mother”, however the smoke itself is harmful to the baby and will reduce blood oxygen ratio to the unborn child‘s brain, this will reduce central nervous system & brain development in their most critical stage. Smoking during Pregnancy of any substance increases the risk of SIDS “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome” and Brain Development Damage. THC will pass through the placental barrier and reduce brain development leading to long lasting side effects. The Canadian Medical Association strongly urges you “Do Not Smoke While Pregnant” of any substance. Consumption of CBD with “edibles / oils” during pregnancy at this time has no current medical side effects.
What age is safe to use Cannabis?
- At this time medical research has proven that early consumption of THC can greatly impact brain development and psychological well being. THC has now been medically proven to reduce and permanently damage synaptic relay time, emotional regulation, as well as cognitive function and psychological well being. For this reason many countries that have legalized Cannabis use warn that age groups that still have brain development progress should avoid THC to avoid risk of Brain Development damage, for this reason Canada Health Advises “Don‘t use THC if you or your family has a history of psychosis, substance use disorders or other mental health problems“. Legal age in Canada for consumption of such substances is 18-21 depending on the province. Consumption of CBD at this time has no current medical side effects.
Can you overdose on Cannabis?
- “Yes” you can Overdose quite rapidly if you are unsure of the quality, quantity or percentage of THC present in the Cannabis product you are consuming. Symptoms include Nausea, vomiting, light headed, shortness of breath, inability to focus, vertigo, tightness of chest, unconsciousness and more. The method of consumption also plays a factor on the length of time and severity of the overdose, currently common methods of consumption include inhalation “smoking / vaping / bong”, ingested “Edibles / Oils”, Absorbed “topical ointments”, Injected “Do not inject Cannabis” For these reasons please consult your physician and do not personally alter your dosage without consulting a medical professional. Consumption of CBD at this time has no current medical side effects or documented Overdose.
Can I drive after using Cannabis?
- In Alberta Canada Cannabis use or “Mind Altering substance use” of any kind is strictly prohibited and Cannabis containing THC is “Banned” from being in cars or any motor vehicle, with the exception of those being used as a temporary residence, such as “parked” RV’s. As THC can alter your mood, reaction time, and consciousness “Do not consume THC and operate a vehicle of any kind” “Stay alive, don’t use and drive”
To answer more questions and go through the research provided above please visit https://aglc.ca/cannabis
There are many false articles circulating around the internet about Cannabis use and the interaction it has within your body. Please do your research, follow your medical professionals advice, and above all else do not buy or use illegally grown / sold or altered Cannabis.
We never know what can happen, its always good to be prepared and have the knowledge we need to help those who need it.
“This material is for information purposes only and is taken from The Canadian Red Cross / Alberta Heart & Stroke Foundation & Alberta Health Services. This information should not be used in place of medical, Technical advice, instructor, and/or treatment. If you have questions, speak to your local Physician or Safety Training Facility.”
Protect Yourself!!! Call 911!!! Don’t Waste Time!!!