We are talking about weed – not dandelions, but cannabis. Pot or cannabis has so many slang names! The “thigh slappers” above are but three of them. Not only does it have over a 1000 slang names, it has been part of civilization for over 1000 years.
Cannabis is the Latin name for hemp – and hemp is a very versatile plant that was grown widely in the colonies of the early 1600’s and used for rope, fabric and food. Cannabis (hemp) is fast growing and easy to cultivate. The early forms of the plant had very low levels of the psycho-active component tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. Medicinal uses in America were introduced in 1830 to treat the stomach pains of cholera, and by the late 1800s cannabis extracts were sold in pharmacies and doctors’ offices to treat stomach ailments of all kind.
By the early 1900’s Mexican immigrants introduced the recreational practice of smoking cannabis. But a combination of Prohibition in the 1920’s, the Great Depression, and the resentment toward Mexican immigrants taking jobs, public fear of the “evil weed” hit an all-time high (excuse the pun). All this resulted in the criminalization of cannabis.
Fast forward through several decades of continued secret and not so secret use when, in the 90's, California stepped up to allowed the use of cannabis for medical purposes . The drug was found to be helpful in managing chronic pain and alleviating the side-effects from chemotherapy. Since then 9 states and Washington DC have legalized cannabis for recreational use. And it looks like 2018 is the year for Canada.
While there is conclusive evidence that cannabis is effective for treating chemotherapy induced nausea and some symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, there is only moderate evidence that it is effective in improving short term sleep or in the ability to treat weight loss, anxiety and PTSD.
The bottom line is that medical cannabis won't give you a crazy high since it does not contain any psychoactive ingredient. We do know, however, that it provides relief from chronic pain which may lessen the need for opioids so...that's good. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and that are effective against certain chronic illnesses. Plus, it is an anti-oxidant and a mood lifter...so, cool. However, just like any other medication it is not guaranteed to work. But it seems to be worth setting aside preconceived notions and learning more about it, don't you think? Keep an eye out for our next blog on this topic.
ththink? Keep an eye out for our next blog...