Use of medical cannabis throughout history
Similarly, cannabis was found 10 years ago in the Yanghai tombs near Turpan in China. Here a shaman had been buried with almost a kilo of cannabis 2700 years ago, and further studies showed that the cannabis was THC-containing. One of the first pieces of evidence that strongly suggests that cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes dates back to 200 BC when residues of THC were found in ashes. In recent times, cannabis has also been used for medicinal purposes, and even the nobles used medical cannabis.
In the 1890s, Queen Victoria of England was prescribed cannabis by her doctor for her menstrual cramps. Cannabis has been used since the beginning of civilization, and people have long been aware of the plant’s many good properties and uses. We in Denmark are now fortunately so privileged that we again get the opportunity to use cannabis for medical purposes. We believe that this will undoubtedly benefit millions of patients worldwide.
How does cannabis affect you, and what happens in the body?
When you take cannabis, dopamine is released via the nerve cells in the brain. Dopamine is a signaling substance, produced in connection with e.g. exercise, sex, and alcohol. It plays a vital role in brain reward systems. Dopamine gives a feeling of happiness and well-being.
But what else happens in the body when one ingests cannabis? The endocannabinoid system functions as a communication system between the brain and the body. It’s believed that it helps to distribute the body’s resources to where they are needed.
Endocannabinoids and their receptors, CB1 and CB2, are found throughout the body. CB1 receptors are located in the nervous system, connective tissue, and organs. CB2 receptors are mainly found in the body’s immune system but also in the body’s organs. Endocannabinoids are cannabinoid molecules that the body itself produces, and these act as signaling substances for the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Research has Enlightened us
William Devane from the National University of Ireland has been researching cannabis for many years. In 1992, he discovered Anandamide (AEA), which is an endocannabinoid. We all form this molecule in the body and is considered to be the body’s version of THC. THC is a phytocannabinoid, which means it comes from a plant. Since then, research has shown that AEA has properties that affect mental health, pain relief, appetite, and memory. Not surprisingly, some phytocannabinoids inhibit the breakdown of AEA, giving a beneficial effect of the drug. Unfortunately, cannabis has been criminalized for more than 60 years. This has made it difficult for researchers to study the many different cannabinoids and their effects on the body.
Today, fortunately, it is easier for researchers to launch and fund their studies of cannabis, and new knowledge about this astonishing plant is becoming more and more enlightened. Our hope is that we, in the future, can specialize in the various forms of medical cannabis for the individual patient, and we here at OC Care will help to work for that.
This promotes the natural production of plant hormones and increases the secondary metabolism in the plants, which results in the plants producing more cannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavonoids, which have an extremely beneficial effect for patients and consumers.
We have been contacted by several patients who have had a lot of questions about medical cannabis.
We would very much like to help and inform those who contact us, but it is crucial that you as a patient talk to your doctor about the use of medical cannabis and which methods best suit the individual needs.
The two most commonly used methods of ingesting medical cannabis are ingestion by inhalation or by oral ingestion. These two methods have different effects because the active substances in medical cannabis are absorbed into the body in two different ways.
Upon inhalation, the active substances in medical cannabis, mainly THC and CBD, are absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs. In this way, the active substances are carried to the brain, after which the effect occurs. From the inhalation of the medical cannabis until the effect occurs, in some cases a soothing effect of less than a minute can be felt. When inhaled, the effect lasts for 2 to 4 hours.
Upon oral ingestion of medical cannabis, the active substance THC is metabolized by the liver. Here the Delta-9-THC molecule is converted to 11-hydroxy-THC, which efficiently crosses the blood-brain barrier and has a more substantial effect than Delta-9-THC. However, it can take between 1 to 2 hours before the effect occurs. Therefore, as a patient, you must be more careful when taking medical cannabis orally, and not dose again until you are sure that the full effect has occurred. For some, it can cause discomfort if the effect becomes too strong because you have been impatient and have taken more than the dose agreed with the doctor. When taken orally, medical cannabis may be effective for 6 to 10 hours. Therefore, this method would be perfect for patients with chronic pain to give them long-lasting relief.
It is very essential that you, in collaboration with your doctor, find the dosage that suits your needs. Like all other medicines, medical cannabis works differently from person to person. This also applies to the effect thereof. Therefore, it is necessary that first-time users of medical cannabis, together with their doctor, try small doses in the beginning. If the desired effect is not achieved, talk to your doctor about increasing the dosages or their frequency.
It is up to your doctor to assess whether you can drive when using medical cannabis.