How does cannabis work?

All mammals have an endogenous cannabinoid system (its naturally made), which has key wholes and keys in different body tissues that stimulate certain responses in our bodies (pain-relief, no seizures, etc.).

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Which medical conditions can cannabis treat?

People self-medicate with cannabis for many conditions, but only a few have been approved by the FDA and Health Canada. Only, muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis, intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, refractory neuropathic pain and intractable epilepsy has been approved by the FDA (The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids, 2017). There are other medical uses that under study and evidence is increasing.

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What are some short/long term effects of using cannabis?

According to Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health, cannabis usage has health risks, especially affecting cognitive function (Schrot et al., 2016Wallitt et al., 2016).

Amongst these:

  • memory loss
  • increased risk of schizophrenia in predisposed individuals
  • increased risk of respiratory infections
  • could decrease cardiac contractility
  • alters blood pressure regulation
  • deficits in attention span
  • impaired decision-making and vision acuity
  • impulsivity
  • Depression/anxiety
  • Insomnia

*Although these effects have been reported in the literature, more research is still needed as most of these studies were done under varying environmental circumstances.