Legalize marijuana for medical uses | Columnists

There was such a stigma associated with cannabis that respectable people were reluctant to acknowledge that anyone they knew used pot. In 1992, presidential candidate Bill Clinton apologetically admitted in an interview that he had tried marijuana as a college student, but “didn’t inhale.” At that time the idea that the humble weed might have any redeeming health benefits was pretty much off the radar of public opinion.

Meanwhile, a handful of brave physicians and scientists persevered with their research and have broadened our understanding of cannabis and its effects. In the 1960s, scientists in Israel discovered the major psychoactive compound in cannabis: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In a search for how THC and other cannabinoid ingredients work, researchers came upon the body’s endocannabinoid system. They found that the endocannabinoid system regulates many bodily functions, including memory and cognition, digestion, immune response and inflammation, appetite, pain, blood pressure and bone growth.

It is believed that the chemical compounds in the cannabis plant interact with endocannabinoid receptors in order to help maintain a state of equilibrium in the body.

The two cannabis compounds most familiar to us are THC and CBD (cannabidiol). In addition to being psychoactive, THC has been shown to be potent at reducing inflammation, relieving pain and aiding sleep. CBD is recognized for reducing inflammation, and relieving pain and nausea, as well as its calming and antidepressant effects. In Cannabis Pharmacy (2017), Michael Backes cites research showing the effectiveness of these compounds either separately or together in treating a wide variety of disorders, many of which are symptoms of COVID-19.

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