About Cannabis

Cannabis sativa is a plant native to East Asia. Some scientists break it down into subspecies: Cannabis sativaCannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderallis. It is now cultivated in many countries for its use in medicine, religion, food, and manufacturing of consumer goods.

As with many plants, different parts of cannabis are used for different purposes.

Cannabis in Medicine

Medicinal use of cannabinoids is logical, since our own bodies produce some of the same chemicals (endocannabinoids) for healthy brain function.

Check with a medical professional before using any cannabis product for medicinal treatment.

The history of using cannabis for medical benefits goes back thousands of years in many cultures.

The scientific evidence of the medicinal properties of cannabinoids is increasing as governments are loosening regulations and permitting more research.

Depending on the ailment, the following are different ways cannabinoids are administered for a medical benefit:

  • Pills
  • Smoking/vaping
  • Tinctures
  • Capsules
  • Dermal patch
  • Lozenges
  • Edibles
  • Sprays


For decades, Western conventional medicine has used cannabinoids (some synthetic) for the treatment of nausea, particularly for those taking chemotherapy.

It has also been used to increase the appetite of those with HIV/AIDS.

Pain & Migraines

Cannabinoids are used to reduce pain, particularly from nerve damage or inflammation. It’s also used to reduce migraines.

Some doctors prefer cannabis to avoid the bad side effects and dangers of prescription opioids.

Muscle Spasms

Many conditions include muscle spasms or muscle spasticity. Parkinson’s patients report it’s effective.

Spasms are thought to come from the area of the brain that controls movement, where there are many cannabinoid receptors.

Anxiety & OCD

Animal studies and cannabis-user surveys suggest that low levels of cannabis are effective for anxiety. Brain scans show that CBD oil triggers changes in blood flow to regions in the brain linked with feelings of anxiety, indicating it for OCD, too.


The FDA has approved cannabinoids to treat patients over 2 years old with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (two types of epilepsi). The plant-based formula has been shown in recent studies to be more effective than other treatments.

Tourette Syndrome

Medications with cannabis extracts and THC are used in Germany, Israel, and Canada to treat Tourette syndrome.

Some states have legalized medical marijuana particularly for the treatment of Tourette syndrome.

Sleep or RLS

The benefits of cannabis for sleep problems and restless leg syndrome have been reported for many years.

Research is just now analyzing the effects cannabinoids have on this very important biological need, a good night’s sleep.

Post-Traumatic Stress

Patients have reported cannabis reduces symptoms of PTSD, such as nightmares, panic attacks, hypervigilance, personal detachment, etc.

Cannabis reduces amygdala activity, the organ causing the fear response.

Other Illnesses

Other illnesses that have seen positive results from cannabis use: menopause, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, hypertension.

Medicinal Side Effects & Tolerance

The use of cannabis products, in any form, like most medications and some supplements, may produce desired or undesired side effects. Patients should consult with their physicians on their individual circumstances and the risks versus benefits of all treatment options. Many patients prefer cannabis because it is well-tolerated for most and comes from a natural plant that can be grown and processed organically.

Additionally, some research indicates cannabis might increase the symptom it is intended to reduce, and some see no effect at all. In some cases, depending on doses, patients may find that the cannabinoid loses its effect over time. In this area, cannabinoids are no different than what some patients experience with conventional treatments.

Check with your doctor before using any cannabis product for medicinal treatment.

Cannabis as Food

Human Food

Hemp seed, or parts of it, are FDA-approved and used as a protein, carbohydrate, or oil ingredient in beverages (juices, smoothies, protein drinks, plant-based alternatives to dairy products), soups, dips, spreads, sauces, dressings, plant-based alternatives to meat products, desserts, baked goods, cereals, snacks, and nutrition bars.

Some eat unprocessed hemp seeds as a vegetarian source of protein that is easily digested. The hemp seed does not contain THC or CBD.

Where legal, cannabis, with the active cannabinoids, is consumed (for a medical or recreation purpose) in foods, such as gummies, cookies, or in tea.

Animal Food

At this time, cannabis products are not used in animal feed, and anyone wanting to give it to their pet as a treatment should consult with a veterinarian.

Hemp seed (actually a nut) is found in birdseed because birds like it and it is high in fat.

Manufacturing Goods

The cannabis plant (or hemp) has been used  to make practical products for hundreds of years. However, using hemp in manufacturing products on a large scale is in its infancy.

Better for the Environment

One acre of hemp produces as much fiber as 2-3 acres of corn. Growing hemp requires less water and can be grown in any state, whereas cotton growing requires certain climates.

Hemp fiber lasts twice as long as cotton and does not mildew.

Some products made from hemp fiber are:

  • rope
  • textiles
  • shoes
  • paper
  • insulation
  • fiberboard

Additionally, producing hemp seed oil for biofuel is  closer to being carbon-neutral than growing corn for ethanol.

Currently, hemp bioplastic is used for the production of ecological packaging for hemp products. Some companies make furniture and surfboards from hemp. Cannabis can also be used to make cellophane.

Cannabis in Religion


Back to at least 1500 BCE in India, cannabis was (and to a limited degree, is also today) used in religious practices. From there, its spiritual use spread to other Asian countries, the Middle East, Africa, Mexico, and German tribes in the Middle Ages. In some of these cultures, its religious use was as an offering to the gods of those people.


In the Rastafarian religion, cannabis is considered a sacrament. It is ingested or burned as an incense in the rituals. Some Rastafarians believe they have reached a higher spiritual level so that they no longer use it.


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