There is a famous verse in Ayurvedic text which states that, there is no substance in the universe that cannot be used as medicine. Any substance can be used as medicine if the Vaidya applies Yukti. This suite the best for Cannabis. Cannabis has always been the talk of the town. In the past, individuals commonly used the term “cannabis” to encompass substances such as bhang, marijuana, and smack. However, with an increasing awareness surrounding the topic, people are now becoming more familiar with what cannabis really is and people are becoming curious to know more as it has garnered worldwide clinical attention.
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Cannabis vs Medical Cannabis?
Cannabis is a flowering plant genus that comprises three primary species, namely C. Sativa, C. indica, and C. ruderalis. Medicinal cannabis, as the name suggests, involves the use of cannabis for treating various ailments and diseases. This alternative form of medicine has emerged as a promising treatment option, with research showing its effectiveness in alleviating symptoms associated with conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety, and epilepsy.
Understanding the difference between recreational and medicinal cannabis is crucial, and awareness surrounding this topic is increasing rapidly. As more people become familiar with the benefits of cannabis, it is likely that medicinal cannabis will continue to gain acceptance as a viable treatment option.
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Cannabis And Ayurveda
Cannabis is referred as Vijaya or Bhanga in Ayurveda texts and is grouped under Upavisha – sub toxic herbs pointing to the fact that purification is required before its very-careful limited dose and time usage. It is said to be bitter, light, strong, hot in potency and the one which spreads swiftly to all the parts of the body.
It’s effect on tridosh is said to be pittala that is it increases pitta dosh and balances out vata and kapha dosha. Its effect on body is said to be grahi, karshini, deepani, ruchaya, madakritta, pachini, nidrakaraka, kamada and Vaka vardini that is it has absorbent qualities, causes weight loss, improves digestion power and taste, causes intoxication, relieves indigestion, induces sleep, increases libido and urge to speak and thus is used in treating low digesting power, IBS, insomnia, muscle pain and sexual disorders.
There are several classical medicines that contain cannabis such as Pushpadhanwa ras, jatiphaladi churna, nidroday ras, and several more whose success and results have led to such a deep study and research of cannabis today.
Why Cannabis Has Therapeutic Effect According To The Modern Research?
The answer lies in ECS or endocannabinoid system. It plays an important role in regulating a wide variety of bodily functions. These functions include, but are not limited to, mood, appetite, sleep, immune function, pain management, and memory. The endocannabinoid system is also involved in the regulation of the cardiovascular system, as well as the reproductive and digestive systems.
Endocannabinoids, such as anandamide and 2-AG, work in concert with cannabinoid receptors, which are located throughout the body. Anandamide is derived from the Sanskrit word “Ananda”, meaning bliss. It is so because it positively impacts mood, and hence, is the body’s own anti-depressant. 2-AG is hugely abundant in the body and connected to regulating the immune system.
There are two main types of cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are primarily found in the central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are primarily found in the immune system and peripheral tissues.
The role of endocannabinoids in maintaining balance within the body is also supported by metabolic enzymes that break down these compounds when they are no longer needed. These enzymes include fatty acid amide hydrolase, which breaks down anandamide, and monoacylglycerol lipase, which breaks down 2-AG.
Overall, the endocannabinoid system is a complex network that helps regulate many of the body’s vital functions.
When there is a deficiency of cannabinoids in the body, it can lead to a number of health issues. This is where the Cannabis comes in action – when consumed under the guidance of a doctor, it can help provide a holistic approach to maintaining a healthy ECS. It contains hundreds of beneficial chemical compounds, including Phytocannabinoids that mimic the effects of the body’s own cannabinoids. When these Phytocannabinoids are consumed, they bind to the cannabinoid receptors present in the ECS and activate them, thereby helping to regulate the physiological processes that they control.
By doing so, this herb can help decrease the cannabinoid deficiency in the body and produce the desired medical benefits. One of the two major cannabinoids in cannabis is THC, which is psychoactive in nature. It is partly more powerful as compared to the second cannabinoid in cannabis that is CBD. It is not psychoactive, unlike THC. Its main function is to prevent the endocannabinoids from breaking down thus helping them to show more effect on the body.
Cannabis Side Effects And Myths
Even milk if consumed in excess can cause health problems then how a upavisha like Cannabis can all be good. Cannabis has a strong impact on our body and mind and if taken in wrong form, quantity and without medical supervision then can cause some serious problems. It is said to be Madkari dravya or the one which due to its dominance of tama guna has the ability to disturb the intellectual faculty.
Now a lot of people say that in ancient India people used to consume Cannabis for spiritual enlightenment or awakening which is actually false. limitless use of Cannabis just takes you in a trance state which is actually a state of no consciousness and thus has nothing to do with achieving the highest consciousness. So, it is not at all advisable to consume Cannabis for any such thing without understanding the pros and cons.
Medical Cannabis vs Hemp
Hemp is nothing else but a botanical class of Cannabis sativa cultivars grown specifically for industrial or medicinal use. It can be used to make a wide range of products such as milk alternatives, hemp hearts, and food grade oils to insulation and plastics and contains no more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Many people use the word hemp and medical cannabis as alternatives whereas they have a clearcut demarcation. Medical Cannabis is the use of cannabis purely for medical purpose whereas hemp is a particular class of cannabis using which not only medical but also many other industrial products are made.
Growing Medical Cannabis Industry
It must be quite clear now why the Medical Cannabis industry is growing so fast. It is its magical effects on the health that has led this industry to flourish so fast. From treating indigestion to providing quality of life to Cancer patients by relieving their pain Cannabis has proved its excellence in all these areas. The more the researchers are spending time on Cannabis the more are they getting aware of its wonderful therapeutic effects. This has led to its legalization in various countries.
The market is primarily driven by the increase in the usage of CBD in medical applications and skincare. No doubt, immunity boosting products and pain-relieving products are witnessing a high growth too.
Along with this a lot ayurvedic classical medicines have been revived and lots of new formulations are being prepared for specific health issues such as menstrual disorders, IBS, inflammatory conditions and sexual disorders.
Amongst all this it is mainly the growing faith of people in Cannabis based medicine which has worked as a wonder for this industry.
At the end it is important to understand that Cannabis based medicines should always be taken under medical supervision and the guidance given by them should always be followed as it still remains the Upavisha and its misuse can lead to quite adverse effects.
About The Author
Dr. Annusuiya Gohil (MD Scholar)
All India Institute of Ayurveda
Expert in Immunity, Diet & Lifestyle daily routine
This article has been published by Paavan solely for informative purposes. It aims to provide factual information about Medical Cannabis without endorsing or encouraging its use or consumption, whether in the form of products or by-products. It is important to note that any cannabis-related medicines or preparations should only be consumed under the strict supervision of a medical professional.