Medical Cannabis, THC, Cannabidiol, and Hemp

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Justin Lam, ABAAHP, FMNM


Introduction to Medical Cannabis

A container and pipe with medical cannabisMedical cannabis, which is also referred to as medical marijuana, pot, or weed, is undoubtedly becoming more commonplace in the United States. Medical cannabis simply represents the utilization of the entire marijuana or cannabis plant and all the extracts as natural medicine to remedy unpleasant symptoms or improve a condition. This plant must be classified as medical grade and produced without the use of fertilizers or pesticides, which may contain toxins.

The healing component of medical cannabis comes from its concentration of cannabidiol (CBD) and specific flavonoid and terpene content. Another part of the cannabis plant that is well-known for its psychotropic effect on the brain is tetrahydrocannabinol, which is usually referred to as THC. Those seeking marijuana for recreational purposes are drawn to higher THC levels, whereas medical cannabis has lower levels of THC but a high CBD content.

Until 1942, marijuana was classified as a medicinal plant. Around 50% of Americans have tried it. There are about 200 medical conditions that have been noted to improve by the use of cannabis.

History of Medical Cannabis

Since medical marijuana has become more widespread, it’s sometimes believed to be a recent trend. This notion that medical cannabis is relatively novel is inaccurate, however, as it’s use can be dated back to at least 5,000 years ago.

Cannabis is a type of hemp plant that is used to make fiber, food, oil, paper, biofuel, clothing, and medicine. A spiritual instructor called Zoroaster wrote a book that covered almost 10,000 plants around 2,700 years ago. This author considered hemp to be one of the more valuable plants in his collection. A famous Greek physician named Hippocrates, one of the architects of western medicine, even endorsed extracts from the cannabis plant.

Even the physician who served Queen Victoria offered medical cannabis for her majesty’s menstrual cramps. This physician, Russell Reynolds, was a leader in the medical field and boasted that, when it comes to medicine, cannabis was one of the most beneficial. During this same era, cannabis was effectively used by other well-known doctors for the correction of depression and migraines, things that it is still widely used for today.

Soldiers of the American Revolutionary War were given compensation via cannabis. Presidents Thomas Jefferson and George Washington even urged farmers to produce more hemp for goods such as ship sails, paper, and more. Hemp is also a useful alternative to plastic and is better for the environment.

How Medical Cannabis Works and What It Can Help With

Medical cannabis has many uses despite not being approved by the FDA (as of 2016)The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to approve medical cannabis, but a growing number of physicians are in favor of this drug for its value and benefit to health.

Cannabis is made up of many compounds. Two of these, CBD and THC, are referred to as cannabinoids. There have been approximately 80 of these cannabinoids identified, and they represent almost half of the plant.

Most of these cannabinoids work in the body by binding to cannabinoid receptors that exist in the body naturally. Cannabinoid receptors can be found in the kidneys, liver, immune system, lungs, and brain. Researchers now consider cannabinoid receptors to be the most extensive receptor system in the body.

Cannabinoid receptors are involved in how the body addresses pain, immune function, regulation of metabolism, food cravings, bone growth, and anxiety. The endocannabinoid system is believed to play a role in almost all physiological activities. It helps to ensure homeostasis, and it supports energy storage and intake, cell communication, emotional balance, memory, sleep, reproduction, and more. The body produces natural cannabinoids that play a role in operating signals that mimic serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters.

Cancer patients that use medical cannabis see a decrease in nausea, insomnia, and pain that are side effects of chemotherapy. There’s also a possibility that medical cannabis can function as a natural form of chemotherapy in two ways. First, it can trigger suicide of cancer cells, and unlike traditional chemotherapy, it allows healthy cells to remain intact. Second, cannabis has been shown to possess anti-angiogenic properties, which restrict blood supply to cancer tumors.

Medical cannabis has also been used in the correction of mental and mood disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), multiple sclerosis, autoimmune conditions, obesity, seizure disorders, heart conditions, degenerative types of neurological disorders, and Parkinson’s disease.

Methods for Using Medical Cannabis

The following list explains some of the many different methods of administration:

Smoking – Cannabis can be smoked using a joint, pipe, or water bong (pipe). This method could cause some of the drug to be lost since it can burn with a marijuana cigarette or joint. Utilizing a water pipe can prevent some of the airway irritation that can be caused by using a pipe or joint as well.

Vaporization – When medical cannabis is heated to a designated temperature, the medication will be released into vapors that can then be breathed.

Oromucosal or sublingual – Cannabis can be produced in a form that can be placed in the mouth or under the tongue to deliver immediate relief. This is an attractive option for those who do not wish to smoke.

Brownies are a popular form of medical cannabis consumptionEdibles – Cannabis can be found in pre-made cookies, brownies, or teas that are designed to be eaten. While there could be complications with absorption due to cannabinoids affinity for fat, this is another option for non-smokers.

Topical products – Cannabis comes in many topical forms, such as lotion and ointment to help with muscle pain, inflammation of the skin, and arthritis.

Medical cannabis can be used to help remedy a wide variety of conditions. Although administration methods vary with this drug, it’s critical that high grade medical cannabis is utilized, that it lacks any type of pesticides or synthetic chemicals.

CBD vs. THC

The part of the plant that proves therapeutic stems from the cannabidiol (CBD) content. CBD works in the human body by serving as an agonist of the 5-HT1A receptor, which is responsible for neuromodulation. Neuromodulation on this receptor is involved in dilating vessels to in turn decrease heart rate and blood pressure. This type of receptor agonist also functions as an antidepressant that provides anti-anxiety properties.

The American Stroke Association has found that CBD offers neuroprotective benefits. CBD is also classified as an allosteric modulator of receptors of opioid, and it allows for pain reduction and decreases the effects of chronic inflammation on the body.

CBD functions as a powerful antioxidant. CBD was found to decrease inflammation in the intestine. It has also been proven to decrease barrier disruption and inflammation in endothelial cells as a result of high glucose, which is important to diabetes research.

Medical cannabis typically has low levels of THC and high levels of CBD. This is achieved by allowing male cannabis plants to pollinate the female plants. When the two are separated and female plants are not pollinated, the concentration of THC increases dramatically. In order to obtain high levels of CBD, it is also possible to extract it from the cannabis plants and take it as a singular ingredient.

THC, in contrast to CBD, has been suspected of being a potentially addictive component in the marijuana plant. THC binds mostly to receptors called CB1, which simply stands for cannabinoid receptor type 1. CB1 receptors can be found mainly in the peripheral and central nervous system. These systems include the brain (minus the brainstem), liver, kidneys, lungs, heart, and pancreas.

CBD can help to dispel some of the psychoactive symptoms of THC and helps prevent the memory loss that can be associated with using the drug. It also has a very low toxicity level. No one has ever died while using CBD, which is in stark contrast to drugs such as aspirin or alcohol; responsible for 1,000 and 110,000 deaths every year respectively.

It is important to note that medical marijuana still contains both CBD and THC. CBD that is extracted and isolated does not contain any THC. However, while medical cannabis is grown to ensure maximum CBD levels, THC levels can sometimes meet this level and their concentration can vary. Medical cannabis is considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance that is only available with a doctor’s prescription, and it is legal only in specific states. CBD that is produced from hemp oil, however, unlike CBD produced from medical marijuana, is perfectly legal for purchase without a prescription and is widely available.

Difference between CBD from Medical Cannabis and Hemp Oil

The compounds from hemp are different compared to medical cannabisCBD can be made from either medically produced cannabis plants, or industrially produced hemp plants. Hemp oil is made from hemp seeds, whereas CBD is made from the leaves, flowers, or stems of the plant. CBD produced from the cannabis plant, on the other hand, can contain high levels of THC, which can help a number of conditions but does have drawbacks with regard to psychotropic side effects or feelings of anxiety. Hemp CBD is safe for all ages due to its insignificant levels of THC. Hemp has a THC concentration of less than 1 percent, lacks flavonoids and terpenes used in healing, and has a CBD concentration of around 4 percent. This means that CBD from hemp is safer to use for certain medical ailments.

Cannabis’ Cousin: Hemp

Similar to medical marijuana, hemp is a type of cannabis plant that is low in THC and contains CBD. Both marijuana and hemp stem from the same cannabis origin and share a scientific classification of Cannabis sativa. Hemp can be thought of as a so-called “cousin” to the marijuana plant, as they are actually two different types of cannabis plants. However, hemp has been industrially bred to be low in THC, and there is very little possibility of it producing THC after pollination.

Production of hemp seeds has more than tripled around the world since the 1990s. Because the United States specifically has grouped hemp into the same category as pot since the ‘70s with the passing of the Controlled Substances Act, it can be confusing to understand that it is not dangerous. In fact, hemp is one of the most holistic products available today and throughout history. Because of this law, the U.S. does not cultivate or grow hemp. However, that does not mean it is not used or sold here; the U.S. actually is the leading consumer of products made from hemp. Hemp has recently been allowed to be grown in certain states for the sake of research, and more than 25 states are interested in pursuing industrial production of hemp. Thirty-nine states have introduced hemp-supporting bills into their state legislature.

Industrial hemp can be used to produce oil and hemp seeds for consumption, CBD, and to create fiber to be used for items such as wood, cotton, and plastic alternative.

In ancient China, hemp seeds were given to the poor to be used for growing and food. Hemp seeds provide numerous minerals, unsaturated fats, and protein. When the seeds are shelled, soft and nutritious hemp hearts are exposed. Hemp seeds are a great source of essential fats like omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, which are critical to sustaining health. Nutrition & Metabolism published research that stated hemp seeds contains an ideal proportion of linoleic acid (omega-6s or LA) and a-linoleic acid (omega-3s or ALA) for a wholesome diet.

Gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) is also prevalent in hemp seeds, which supports healthy organs, nerves, muscles, cell function and growth. GLA offsets some of the side effects of the prolactin hormone, which can worsen unpleasant side effects of PMS and menopause. The only raw food source of GLA is hemp.

Hemp also provides a variety of benefits beyond medical cannabisIt is important to note that these unsaturated fatty acids do not provide a source of energy to the body, but rather are the building blocks for cells and biosynthesis. Skin conditions may arise when the body has inadequate levels of fatty acids. Because of the fatty acid concentration in hemp products, it can prevent things like eczema and inflammation. Hemp seeds contain about 30 percent healthy and essential fats, in addition to protein and other nutrients.

Hemp seeds are also a fantastic source of protein, comparable to beef. This can be especially important in a diet that lacks meat from animal sources, such as for vegetarians and vegans. For every couple of tablespoons of this nutritious food, it supplies around 10 grams of protein. The amino acid composition of hemp is similar to egg whites and soy. Hemp is also easily digested, which is rare for a high-protein plant food.

Hemp seeds support a healthy heart by way of the amino acid L-arginine, which gives way to nitric oxide, and increases the flow of blood and supports healthy blood pressure. The nitric oxide element is important because it assists in the dilation of blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more easily through the body and heart. Risk for coronary artery conditions rises when nitric oxide levels are low or insufficient. Hemp seeds have been found to decrease blood pressure and blood clot risk, and improve the recovery of the heart after a heart attack according to research.

Fiber is extremely important to overall digestive, skin, and heart health. Some research even shows that fiber may play a role in weight regulation and the management of blood sugar. Intact hemp seeds provide a high concentration of fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber breaks down in the intestines, slowing digestion and allowing the body to go longer periods without food. This is beneficial for weight management. Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve as readily in the tract, allowing for optimal digestive movement and elimination. A diet high in fiber can also lower cholesterol.

Additionally, the dietary consumption of hemp seeds and oil have anti-inflammatory properties and increase brain function, improve energy levels, and decrease stroke risk. Research has shown that hemp consumption can help with vomiting and nausea, cancer cells and tumors, degenerative neurological disorders, seizures, psychotic disorders, anxiety, and depression.

Medical Cannabis: The Pros and Cons

Cannabis has been found to be an effective medicine for many health problems and symptoms, and it does so in a more natural and less hazardous way, compared to pharmaceutics. States that have approved the use of medical marijuana have seen a 25% drop in overdoses due to prescription pain medicine. Marijuana also boasts extremely low toxicity levels and can be an alternative to prescription drugs taken for similar nagging symptoms.

Medical cannabis used for chemotherapy, instead of traditional methods, is much less toxic and may produce better results.

Dangers of Medical Cannabis

Medical cannabis can have unforeseen effectsHowever, there can also be negative side effects while using this drug. When marijuana is discontinued abruptly, withdrawal can manifest as symptoms similar to nicotine withdrawal, depression, insomnia, and more. The use of cannabis can lead to memory problems, coordination and balance issues, a weakened immune system, abnormal hormone levels and reproductive function, an increased risk of heart conditions, adrenal fatigue, irregular or rapid heartbeat and increased risk of heart attack, higher risk for cancer of the lung, cough, and more. Research has shown that regular use of marijuana leads to reduced cognitive abilities as well.

THC in medical cannabis also increases cortisol levels, which is critical knowledge to those suffering from adrenal fatigue.

Cadmium found in the leaves of marijuana can actually accumulate in the body, which could lead to increased blood pressure, illness, and breakdown of the kidneys.

Marijuana addiction is a gray area due to the classification of dependence versus addiction. However, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that about 30% of people who use cannabis show some level of marijuana use disorder. This disorder is associated with withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not used, such as headaches, changes in mood, sleep, and appetite. Those who use cannabis before they are 18 years old are more likely (by 4 to 7 times) to acquire a marijuana use disorder than adults. NIDA claims that around nine percent of cannabis users will become addicted.

How Cannabis, THC, and CBD Affect the Body

Cannabis, THC, and CBD affect many areas of the body in important ways. Here is some of the current research:

Hormones – THC raises cortisol levels, and in rat studies, it reduced levels of thyroxine (thyroid hormone) by 90% in some subjects. However, CBD was found to reduce levels of cortisol. THC also lowers prolactin, which is made in the pituitary gland and manages the development of breasts and breast milk.

Central nervous system – THC promotes a large release of dopamine, which represents the feeling of “high.” Judgment and memory can become impaired with THC use. THC negatively affects basal ganglia and the cerebellum, which function in coordination, reflexes, and balance. THC can also promote hallucinations and could lead to schizophrenic episodes for those who are predisposed to this condition. Cannabis can function to eliminate pain, inflammation, and seizures. Fetal brain development is highly affected when the mother uses this drug during pregnancy, which can put them at risk for problems with concentration, memory, and problem solving. THC is still being assessed for its ability to correct glaucoma, as it can decrease pressure in the eyes.

Medical cannabis use can help protect from stressEndocrine system – CBD can shield against excess stress since it can prevent activation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. THC delays male puberty, inhibits the release of eggs from ovaries, disrupts menstrual cycles, and negatively affects sperm.

Liver – CBD and THC reduce levels of fat in the liver. Cannabis was once believed to cause cirrhosis or fibrosis of the liver, but this was later found to be inaccurate. However, plant material and possible toxins could cause damage to this organ.

Metabolism – THC can increase blood sugar, while CBD can decrease insulin levels. Cannabis users have fewer cases of type 2 diabetes and obesity than those who do not use the drug. CBD and THC increase metabolism and decrease cholesterol in the blood. These two components of cannabis were also found to increase insulin sensitivity, protect insulin-producing cells, boost metabolic rate, and cause appetite suppression in rodents.

Inflammation – CBD is proven to lessen acute as well as chronic inflammation, surpassing other well-known inflammation fighters like antioxidants and vitamin C. Gut, colon, and joint inflammation are some examples of conditions CBD can help with.

Sleep – The CBD in cannabis can fight insomnia and improve sleep. Although cannabis has been found to prevent sleep with dreams (REM sleep), it improves deep and overall sleep. People who discontinue cannabis use report problems with disruption of sleep.
Anxiety – Cannabis high in THC and low in CBD can actually increase stress and anxiety. A well-balanced type or types high in CBD, on the other hand, lower stress levels and anxiety.

Cannabis and Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome: Pros and Cons

The use of cannabis, as with any drug, stimulates the adrenal glands because it interrupts homeostasis. The cannabis creates an environment where the liver detects toxins, which also involves energy expenditure from the adrenal glands. The more often cannabis is used, the more the adrenals are activated, which can lead to their decreased function or eventual exhaustion. This can worsen adrenal gland fatigue if it is already present.

Using this drug can cause a short-lived feeling of energy and absence of anxiety, pain, etc. THC, compared to other stimulants that are commonly used such as nicotine and caffeine, may actually cause less stress on the adrenals. As cannabis is used continually over a long time period, however, it can cause the user to become tired due to the strain put on adrenals. This restarts the cycle of drug-use to alter energy level or feelings.

In earlier stages of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS), high cortisol is common as the body tries to fight stress. Since cortisol is made by adrenal glands, cannabis with high amounts of THC could cause increase already high cortisol levels, causing additional stress on the overworked adrenals of those affected by AFS. In adrenal fatigue, this internal cortisol can cause multiple organ resistance, which can include issues such as ovary and thyroid imbalance (by way of an ovarian-adrenal-thyroid (OAT) imbalance in females or adrenal-thyroid axis imbalance in males).

Medical cannabis use may decrease thyroid activityThis thyroid piece of adrenal fatigue is also important to cannabis use, as research has shown that cannabis can decrease thyroid function in rat studies, some by 90%. Hypothyroidism, whether or not it is detected, is common in AFS, which could be made worse by high THC intake.

On the other hand, CBD has been found to have the opposite effect of THC on cortisol levels. CBD, higher in medical cannabis, can actually lower cortisol levels. Since the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal HPA axis modulates cortisol levels in response to the body’s need for the hormone, CBD proves beneficial to this system as well. In decreasing cortisol levels, CBD could, in turn, benefit insulin sensitivity, the immune system, bone strength and mineralization, fat loss, and more.

In early stages of AFS, anxiety, irritability, and insomnia are all common. The use of medical cannabis has been proven to be effective in reversing all of these symptoms. The removal of stressors and increasing sleep are two of the most important steps to take when trying to reverse AFS. Cannabis could provide temporary relief to some emotional stressors that take time to solve, such as problems with family, finances, relationships, or marriage. Medical cannabis could assist in falling asleep faster and providing a deeper, albeit dreamless, rest which could help with AFS recovery.

Medical cannabis can greatly affect metabolism because cortisol is tied to insulin function in the body. When adrenals are overworked, blood sugar levels can drop, leading to lightheadedness and dizziness. In this way, CBD could help those suffering from AFS by decreasing insulin levels. Insulin drives glucose from the blood into the cells. Decreasing insulin can help sustain a balanced blood sugar level and even out absorption of glucose into the cells. High THC consumption, on the other hand, could lead to blood sugar spikes.

Cannabis could negatively affect heart function, as it can cause symptoms like heart palpitations and blood pressure changes, some of the same symptoms that are associated with adrenal fatigue. Changes in heart rate and rhythm are more likely associated with THC.

The use of cannabis on a long-term basis has been associated with adrenal fatigue and damage to the endocrine system. Cannabinoid receptors are abundant in the body, including in the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands contain CB1 receptors, which is what THC binds with that causes cortisol and adrenaline release. Chronic or excessive stress, a central cause of AFS, may even result in a semi-permanent state of hypoglycemia and can cause adverse reactions to marijuana since problems with the control of cortisol and adrenaline are associated with this syndrome. Blood sugar levels should be monitored for those with AFS if cannabis is to be used.

In later stages of AFS, anti-inflammation mechanisms are lacking in the body due to the decreased output of cortisol by adrenals. Cannabis has effectively balanced all different kinds of body inflammation and could help fulfill this function.

Medical cannabis may have beneficial effects for the immune system in AFSImmune system function is suppressed with high levels of cortisol as the body tries to protect itself. The use of cannabis has been known to have a similar effect, which could lead to weakened state and increase the likelihood of infection. This adds to stress on the body and causes more fatigue.

Cannabis use could combat excess weight gain and inability to lose weight, which is common when the body is stressed and in AFS.

In the beginning phases of AFS, cannabis use could also help with offsetting high blood pressure. As AFS progresses, blood pressure drops and could be made worse with the use of cannabis.

Overall, medical cannabis with a high content of CBD and a lower level of THC would cause less physical stress and more benefit to someone suffering from AFS. Because CBD uses completely different receptors than THC, it can cause beneficial effects on anxiety, stress, and depression, which are some of the major causes of AFS and therefore play a huge role in recovery. CBD in cannabis is safer and does not possess the same addictive potential that THC does. CBD also works to balance hormones in the body. Since the adrenal glands are responsible for the production of over 50 hormones, this could be a major benefit to people with adrenal problems.

Because cannabis is a natural drug, it could also be a safer alternative for remedying AFS than pharmaceuticals. However, use of cannabis, especially long term, could lead to dependency or recovery failure if not first evaluated by a healthcare professional.

Cannabis and the NeuroEndoMetabolic Stress Response

The NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response is made up of a neuroendocrine unit comprised of the heart, adrenals, thyroid, brain, autonomic nervous system, and gut or GI tract. The metabolic unit of the NEM is made up of the immune system, microbiome, pancreas, liver, and extra-cellular matrix.

When stress is experienced in the body, the NEM will use its arsenal of defenses to maintain homeostasis. However, prolonged stress disrupts the web of systems and organs, and sends a cascade of responses in motion from both neuroendocrine and metabolic units. These responses can be hormonal, cardionomic, neuroaffective, metabolic, detoxification, and inflammatory, among others.

Cannabis is a powerful drug in the sense that it affects nearly all organ systems in the body. Cannabis can cause a disruption in the entire endocrine system. The use of cannabis affects several glandular hormones, as discussed above. These include the adrenal glands and the production of cortisol, and the OAT axis in women and the adrenal-thyroid hormonal axis in men.

A reduction in thyroid function can change body temperature and determine the rate at which it can respond to stress. This decrease ultimately results in fatigue. This type of hormonal imbalance leads to adverse effects on the other systems and can result in exercise intolerance, infertility, loss of hair, afternoon slump, low libido, and more.

The thyroid, pancreas and liver are components of the metabolic stress response, but medical cannabis may helpThe thyroid, pancreas, and liver are all key components in this snowball response, the metabolic component of the NEM. The effects of cannabis on the thyroid are interconnected, as a decrease in thyroid function will decelerate metabolic pathways. The pancreas produces insulin, which regulates our body’s energy source, glucose. The liver clears all toxins from our body.

Disruption of the metabolic response presents early warning signals like craving sugar, central obesity, and dyslipidemia, common in stages 1 and 2 of adrenal fatigue. More advanced disruption symptoms can include weight gain and hypoglycemia.

Cannabis can disrupt thyroid function with chronic use, but may actually assist the pancreas and liver in their function. Increased metabolism, lower blood cholesterol, increased insulin sensitivity, improved metabolic rate, and decreased issues with type 2 diabetes and obesity levels are all seen among cannabis users.

As both hormonal and metabolic components of the NEM become involved in addressing stress, the central nervous system joins in, and symptoms like depression, mood swings, insomnia, anxiety, and brain fog begin to appear. This neuro-affect response is maintained by the brain, gut, and autonomic nervous system.

Cannabis, specifically THC, alters dopamine levels in the brain, which is associated with feeling good and “high.” Although users can experience relief from neuroaffective responses like depression or anxiety, brain structure could change as a result of using marijuana. This, in turn, could cause temporary or permanent changes to homeostasis. Cannabis is simultaneously effective in correcting neurological disorders and symptoms, as well as inflammation.

The body and NEM respond to interrupted homeostasis with inflammation. The immune system and cells, gut, and microbiome become involved in this response.

For example, the risk for candida, a type of yeast that is the most common culprit for fungal infections, increases with cannabis use. The immune system is a major player in this response, and it employs macrophages (a Greek word meaning ‘big eaters’) to assist in cleaning up after an infection by swallowing any type of unwanted or damaging cell in the body. These macrophages are not equipped to fight candida well, and THC promotes the growth of this yeast throughout certain areas of the body (such as the vagina and oral cavity). The body reacts with inflammation to these toxic types of cells, thus causing an even more intense reaction from the body. However, CBD was found to be especially effective in correcting candida infections. It was also effective against gut and colon inflammation, which play a large role in depression, leaky gut syndrome, autoimmune conditions, and pain throughout the body. Thus, it could act to protect the immune system in regard to inflammation.

The ability of the body to detox is essential for homeostasis, and being unable to do so can lead to congestion in the extracellular matrix. Cannabis has been found to be potentially detrimental to the liver, responsible for detoxifying the body. In those with a compromised liver, such as hepatitis C patients, cannabis was found to worsen fibrosis of the liver. Oftentimes in adrenal fatigue, the liver is found to be functioning below optimal levels. Therefore, it would be prudent to approach cannabis with caution if you are displaying signs of a congested liver and body. These signs can include, brain fog, generalized muscle aches or pains, and chemical sensitivities.

Use of medical cannabis has the potential to interfere with signaling and communication between cellsWhen cannabis utilizes the receptor sites that are designed for cell signaling and the transport of messages between cells, congestion can occur. This can result in the cells becoming overloaded. When detoxification is not able to occur, the immune system becomes compromised and can lead to premature cell death. This can cause symptoms of hypersensitivity, intolerance of medications and supplements, sensitivities to chemicals, and a number of paradoxical reactions that can be extremely difficult to normalize.

However, because the cannabinoid system is involved in so many other systems, there is a huge potential for cannabis to be used as a healing agent as well. If cannabinoids like THC and CBD can offer improvement in autoimmune conditions, obesity, neurological degenerative conditions, PTSD, obesity, mental and mood disorders, as well as many others, then perhaps the body is actually wired to accept cannabis as a medicine.

Research is still limited, as cannabis is not approved for medical use at the federal level, which is where most of the funding for studies is sourced. It appears that although cannabis could cause a disruption in the body, it also provides a plethora of holistic benefits. Compared to other types of medications, medical cannabis could prove to be one of the healthier options.

 

Works Cited
Huang, W., Chen, W., & Zhang, X. (2016). Endocannabinoid system: Role in depression, reward and pain control (Review). Molecular Medicine Reports Mol Med Report. doi:10.3892/mmr.2016.5585Is marijuana addictive? (n.d.). Retrieved August 11, 2016, from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/marijuana-addictiveOrellana-Serradell, O., Poblete, C., Sanchez, C., Castell�N, E., Gallegos, I., Huidobro, C., . . . Contreras, H. (2015). Proapoptotic effect of endocannabinoids in prostate cancer cells. Oncology Reports Oncol Rep. doi:10.3892/or.2015.3746

Russo, E. B., Burnett, A., Hall, B., & Parker, K. K. (2005, August). Agonistic Properties of Cannabidiol at 5-HT1a Receptors [Abstract]. Neurochem Res Neurochemical Research, 30(8), 1037-1043. doi:10.1007/s11064-005-6978-1

© Copyright 2016 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.


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