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Cannabis: Indications, Benefits and Side Effects – Hospital Information: Lexicon and Current Events from the Medical Community

The term cannabis is surrounded by cartoons and preconceptions. It has long been considered a drug with psychotropic effects. And the prohibition of its use in many countries has not helped at all. However, the perspective on cannabis is changing today. In fact, many researchers and scientists have looked at this product and their research results have shown that cannabis has medicinal properties. What is it really about? What are the benefits and effects of cannabis? Find all the possible information about this plant.

Cannabis: what is it?

Cannabidiol or CBD is a molecule that belongs to the cannabinoid family. It is an active substance that, like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), is present in the hemp plant (cannabis sativa).

The use of cannabis or Indian hemp as a medicinal plant dates back to ancient Egypt. And documents from Asia also show that this plant was used to treat certain painful conditions at one point in time. However, scientists of the 20th century have studied it little due to its prohibition.

It was in 1992 that a major discovery called into question the legitimacy of cannabis. In fact, university professor Raphaël Mechoulam discovers that the body itself produces a substance analogous to cannabis (anandamide). The latter would be active at the level of the endocannabinoid system.

From there, a lot of research is launched. They lead to an authorization for the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes in several countries such as:

  • Canada ;
  • Germany;
  • Portugal;
  • Great Britain ;
  • Luxembourg, etc. It is also licensed in 33 US states.

In France, the purchase and sale of CBD is legal, as long as it refers to products that contain less than 0.2% delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and are produced in one of the member states of the European Union. However, cannabis-derived products are marketed under the label of dietary supplements. Therefore, it is advisable to be very careful when purchasing them.

In what cases can it be used?

As part of the medical cannabis experimentation launched in March 2021, 5 therapeutic indications were selected. Is about :

  • neuropathic pain;
  • neurological conditions such as some serious forms of epilepsy;
  • symptoms and side effects related to cancer or its treatments, particularly chemotherapy;
  • pain associated with multiple sclerosis;
  • situations of patients in palliative care.

For this experiment, which involves nearly 3,000 people suffering from the ailments mentioned above, qualified doctors introduce medical cannabis treatment. For two years, they will observe and analyze the effect of CBD on the condition of patients.

The two modes of use retained in the experiment are the oils to be administered orally and the flowers or oils to be vaporized for inhalation. This protocol definitely excludes the administration by spraying of medical cannabis.

What are its benefits?

The numerous studies carried out on the subject have helped to confirm certain properties of therapeutic cannabis. These are among other virtues:

  • analgesics (especially for resistant pain of neuropathic origin such as fibromyalgia);
  • antispasmodic;
  • antiemetic and antinausea;
  • stimulation of appetite;
  • vessel dilation that can improve glaucoma, etc.

It should be noted that until then cannabidiol was marketed in the form of products associated with well-being. Therefore, there is a fairly large consumer community. These take on the role of CBD in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as sleep disorders and digestive disorders. They value the therapeutic aspects of cannabis through their experiences.

Please note: Therapeutic cannabis is not a cure. It is used “alone” to relieve certain symptoms and pain, while eliminating the risks associated with taking medications (side effects, dependence).

Are there any side effects?

The side effects of medical cannabis are well known. These are mainly neuropsychiatric effects related to THC. These are, among others:

  • the somnolence;
  • anxiety attacks;
  • drying of the oral mucous membranes;
  • digestive upset;
  • a paranoid state; but also for prolonged use
  • risk of dependence (in case of prolonged use of the substance), etc.

Cardiovascular side effects, such as changes in blood pressure or heart rate, can also be seen. This happens in particular when you get into the habit of smoking CBD oil, for example. It should be noted that these various side effects are directly related to the composition of the product used.

Contraindications

The contraindications of CBD are related to the composition of the products and the history of the patients. Therefore, cannabidiol-derived products are contraindicated in patients with:

  • a cardiovascular site at risk;
  • history of cardiovascular disorders (heart failure, stroke, for example);
  • history of severe cerebrovascular disorders;
  • severe liver failure, etc.

Also, products containing THC (even in small amounts) should not be prescribed to people who have or have suffered from psychotic disorders (schizophrenia) or severe anxiety disorders. Finally, cannabis for medical use is contraindicated in pregnant and lactating women.

Use tips

In addition to prescription drugs containing cannabidiol, there is a wide variety of products derived from Indian hemp. They are sold in specialty stores and on websites. CBD oil is the best known of these products. But there are also:

  • flowers ;
  • seeds ;
  • capsules
  • dermatological creams, etc.

Each of them is used differently. Therefore, the oil can be taken sublingually for better absorption. It can also be mixed with another fatty substance and then incorporated into food. Also, it is advisable to avoid cooking it. If you have no other option, avoid cooking at a temperature above 160 ° C.

The flowers and seeds can be used to make herbal teas. However, they must be infused with a drop of vegetable oil or a knob of butter so that the active ingredient, which is fat soluble, dissolves. The capsules should be taken orally with a glass of water. As for topical creams, it is believed that they act on skin conditions. It is important to listen to your body about possible reactions to the product.

In all cases, it is recommended to strictly follow the manufacturers’ instructions for use. Also, it is best to seek the advice of a doctor, especially if you suffer from a particular illness or are taking medication. In particular, this will prevent interactions. When in doubt, or if you notice a persistent side effect, stop using CBD and go to a health center as soon as possible for effective treatment.

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