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Medical Benefits of Marijuana: Why Weed Really Works

Posted by Jason Draizin on 01/10/2011 in Medical Marijuana Research

Ever wonder what it is about weed that makes you feel so good? Marijuana is a powerful medicine that is made up of 483 different identifiable chemical constituents. 66 of these are called cannabinoids—which play a major role in the medicinal qualities of cannabis. But that doesn't mean there are 66 different cannabinoid effects or interactions. Most of the cannabinoids are closely related and they fall into only 10 different groups. Here’s a look at the most significant players and their benefits:

 

THC: (Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol)
THC is the most psychologically active compound in cannabis, and it is also one of the most therapeutic. THC has analgesic, anti-spasmodic, anti-tremor, anti-inflammatory, appetite stimulant and anti-emetic properties that are used for a variety of ailments such as: eating disorders, side effects of chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, seizures and more. Additionally, THC has been found to reduce tumor growth and reduce the progression of atherosclerosis in mice.


(E)-BCP (Beta-caryophyllene)
(E)-BCP is a natural and powerful anti-inflammatory component that is also found in food items like black pepper, oregano, basil, lime, cinnamon, carrots, and celery. Unlike THC, this cannabnoid does not affect the brain, meaning it will not produce psychotropic effects. Researchers say (E)-BCP could be an effective treatment for pain, arthritis, cirrhosis, nausea, osteoarthritis, atherosclerosis and other ailments without getting patients high.

CBC (Cannabichromene)
Oftentimes, cannabinoids work together to create the healing properties of pot. CBC is a good example of this, as it promotes the effects of THC. CBC also has sedative and analgesic effects.


CBD
(Cannabidiol)
CBD is a non-psychoctive component of marijuana, which means it is not intoxicating. It is believed that the presence of CBD in cannabis may moderate the euphoric effects of THC. CBD has anti-inflammatory, anti-biotic, anti-depressant, anti-psychotic, anti-oxidant, sedative, and immunomodulatory properties, and appears to relieve convulsions, inflammation, anxiety, and nausea. It also works in conjunction with THC to treat chronic pain. In 2001, GW Pharmaceuticals found that only a combination of CBD and THC offered analgesic effects for MS patients. Taken alone, neither CBD nor THC was as effective in treating chronic pain as they were in combination.


CBG (Cannabigerol)

Cannabigerol is the first cannabinoid produced in the plant. It is the biogenetic precursor of all the other cannabinoids. It has sedative effects and antimicrobial properties, and it will induce drowsiness and makes one sleepy. Studies suggest that CBG may reduce intraocular pressure in glaucoma patients and contribute to marijuana’s antibiotic properties.