Cannabis: A Historical Overview
Cannabis has a long history as one of the oldest medicines, with its use dating back as far as 12,000 years. Medical cannabis refers to the compounds obtained from the cannabis plant that are used to treat and relieve severe and chronic symptoms. Cannabis has been used for thousands of years for medical, spiritual, and social purposes. In ancient China, cannabis seeds were eaten as a highly nutritious food source, and the plant was used to treat vomiting, parasitic infections, and haemorrhage.
CBD and THC: The Primary Cannabinoids
As the legal use of cannabis products grew in many different countries, consumers became more curious about their options, such as cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Both compounds interact with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS), affecting mood, appetite, pain, and inflammation. CBD and THC share similarities, but THC may not be suitable for everyone due to its psychoactive effects. CBD products, derived from the industrial hemp plant, are legal within the European Union and have been gaining popularity as natural health supplements.
Medical Cannabis in the UK
Currently, the NHS prescribes medical cannabis for conditions such as severe epilepsy, chemotherapy-induced nausea, and muscle stiffness caused by multiple sclerosis (MS). In 2018, the NHS approved the prescription of medical cannabis for treating severe epilepsy in children and adults. The UK CBD market is expected to be worth over £1 billion by 2025, indicating the growing popularity of natural health supplements.
Potential Risks of Recreational Cannabis Use
Despite the benefits of medical cannabis, recreational use has its downsides. It has been linked to mental health issues like schizophrenia, suicidal thoughts, and bipolar disorders. Younger users are at higher risk of developing mental health problems later in life.
The Ongoing Debate on Medical Cannabis Legalisation
The debate surrounding the legalisation of medical cannabis has persisted for nearly 150 years. Advocates argue that it's a safer alternative to other treatments, while opponents point to the risk of addiction and abuse, impaired short-term memory, and easier access for children. The facts concerning cannabis and mental health should inform drug policies, but don't necessarily mean medical cannabis should be avoided or remain illegal.
References List (shortened for brevity):
- Debate Room: Should we legalise medicinal cannabis ….” https://www.thejournal.ie/readme/should-we-legalise-medicinal-cannabis-3107364-Dec2016/.
- Epileptic boy has a first seizure in … – independent.co.uk.” 12 Jun. 2018, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/cannabis-medication-billy-caldwell-epileptic-seizures-marijuana-customs-confiscation-latest-a8394971.html.
- Historical Timeline – Medical Marijuana – ProCon.org.” https://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/historical-timeline/.