Traditional medicine still can’t do much to improve or relieve certain complaints, such as pain, nausea and loss of appetite. This is when people may start looking for alternative options, including self-medication. Cannabis has been used as medicine to reduce the effects and complaints of certain diseases for quite a while now. It can relieve chronic pain (in case of cancer, phantom pain), muscle spasms in cases of MS, nausea and vomiting (in case of chemotherapy, aids), improvement of appetite and Tourette syndrome. Cannabis is also used for the treatment of alcoholism and heroin addiction, to prevent migraines, muscle tension, poor blood circulation, stress, difficulty in sleeping, sexual complaints and hormonal problems.
Scientific research is still being conducted into the use of medicinal cannabis but more and more information about the efficiency of cannabis has become public and it appears that many people benefit from it. However, not all medical benefits claimed by users can be proven by scientific research. Still, for a number of conditions, there is enough evidence to prescribe the use of cannabis. Although many people claim that they benefit from the use of medicinal cannabis, there are others who state that it has no effect at all. But it’s true of any medicine that affects people differently and for some it is not the right option. It’s also possible that the wrong type of cannabis is used or that the amount administered is too low. Also, the form of administration has an influence on the ultimate effect.
Cannabis as medicine is hard to dose. When you use/smoke or vape medicinal cannabis, you have to pay close attention to the amount you use. The medicinal effects are only indications and are recorded by numerous users. Use them as a guideline and not medical advice. The amount which will have the best effect depends on the person, so start with a low dose and experiment.
Effects of medicinal cannabis
There are several substances present in the cannabis plant which affect the body, such as cannabinoids. The best known substance / cannabinoid is tetradydrocannabinol (THC). In case of a high dosage this substance will make you high, but it is also proven to have a positive effect on nausea, vomiting and pain. It also improves the appetite, which can also help people who have cancer or AIDs. The substance / cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) can also be present in a cannabis plant. You don’t get high from CBD, but it can relieve anxiety attacks and slow down age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Each person has receptors in his brain and nervous system. A receptor is kind of a switch, which can be pressed if the right chemical substances are present in the body. Once pressed, the switch will cause a certain effect. For instance aspirin presses the switch that reduces pain. There are also receptors that become active when there is THC in the body. Other receptors are activated by terpens and flavonoids present in cannabis plants.
Types of administration for cannabis
There are four types of medicinal cannabis available in the Netherlands: Bedrocan, Bedrobinol, Bediol and Bedica. They each have their own composition and strength. Medicinal cannabis can be used in two different ways, namely via the mouth (orally) or into the lungs (inhalation). Oral administration is possible through food and beverages, inhalation by smoking and vaporising. With each type of administration the cannabis is heated in a certain way (cooking tea, smoking, vaping, baking cake). In this way, substances or cannabinoids in the cannabis that are less active become active components.