Records of the benefits of medical marijuana stretch back thousands of years to use in ancient China. But after almost a century of prohibition, many of us forgot the plant ever had medicinal benefit.

Opinions are changing fast with the recent wave of cannabis legalization. And if you’re one of those curious souls who wants to learn more about the medicinal properties of marijuana and the conditions it treats, then here we lay it all out.

How Does Medical Marijuana Work

Every one of us has a complex web of interconnected nodes within us that makes up what’s known as the endocannabinoid system. The system consists of a series of receptors located all through the body from the brain, organs, connective tissues, and immune cells to our glands.

The endocannabinoid system helps regulate everything from pain perception, mood, appetite, gut motility, memory, emotions, stress response, and even our immune system response.

Cannabinoid Profiles in Medical Marijuana

The cannabinoids present in medical marijuana interact with this system to produce a myriad of beneficial effects that help to restore balance.

When you ingest cannabinoids like THC or CBD, these molecules bind with endocannabinoid receptors within the body. THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid that produces the well-known high. But aside from its intoxicating effects, it also induces many medicinal benefits such as inducing sleep and providing pain relief.

CBD is another important cannabinoid with many medicinal benefits. The primary benefits include reducing inflammation, anxiety, and seizures, all without the intoxicating effects of its cousin THC.

In medicinal cannabis, it’s often the ratio of THC to CBD that governs its medicinal potential. Depending on the condition you’re treating, this ratio is critical. THC is great for chronic pain, while CBD is better for anxiety relief, and your symptoms may require a specific blend of both.

But things aren’t that simple. Cannabis is a complicated plant, and there’s a lot more to it than THC and CBD. There are 112 known cannabinoids within the plant, many of which occur in small quantities but provide a medicinal benefit that science is still trying to understand.

The Power of Terpenes in Medicinal Cannabis
Other useful medicinal compounds include terpenes. These aromatic compounds give cannabis its unique and pungent smell, and there are over 200 of them in the cannabis plant. Some of the more common ones interact with the cannabinoids to produce what is known as the entourage effect. The synergistic relationship between the compounds actually enhances the properties of medicinal cannabis.

Myrcene is abundant in medical cannabis and helps counteract the intoxicating effects of THC as well as inducing sleep. Limonene, with its citrusy scent, has anti-depression and anti-anxiety properties, while pinene, the potent smelling terpene from pine trees, helps counteract the short-term memory effects of THC while also being a potent anti-inflammatory.

Learning about terpenes is crucial in understanding how different strains provide medicinal benefit. Once you become experienced, you may even learn to detect their presence and predict their effects by smelling the bud alone!

Author's Bio: 

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