The cannabis plant is an ancient plant that has been used for thousands of years for a variety of healing purposes as well as industrial uses. Although the medicinal properties of cannabis are complex and multitudinous, having a basic understanding of the effects cannabis has on the endocannabiniod system (ECS) (the bodies own system that provides balance and overall health in the body and mind), gives us a simplified understanding into the medicinal value. The psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis is called tetrahydrocannibinol (THC). The raw cannabinoid THCa is converted into THC when it is heated. After THC enters the body through being consumed, inhaled, or absorbed topically, a beautiful thing happens….THC binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors (the two main receptors in the endocannabinoid system ECS).
When THC binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors, it aids the body in finding a healthy homeostasis through the bodies own endocannabinoid stystem (ECS). Regulating effects begin to take place in the central nervous system and immune system, causing a plethora of medicinal effects to ensue. Cannabis is shown to have neuroprotective properties as well as providing promising results in seizures, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, asthma, and cancer to name a few. The science behind the healing effects of cannabis is finally being understood through greater research into the endocannabinoid system.
The movement to legalize cannabis and open up the market to recreational cannabis is certainly a highly emotional one full of pre-conceived notions and misinformation. In my own state of Massachusetts it is now legal for personal use and growing within certain parameters under the new law. Individuals over 21 can legally grow up to 6 plants with a maximum of 12 plants per household, and can carry up to an ounce of cannabis. Recreational businesses set to open in July of 2018, have faced quite a challenge as many people in politics and citizens are dead set against it. Thanks to the Cannabis Control Commission and Industry experts having open discussions and public meetings, finalized regulations are looking fair and balanced albeit quite costly. There is hope for many cannabis enthusiasts that this new and exciting industry will provide financial freedom, quality employment, and safe and legal access to cannabis.
When residents vote to allow cannabis business in their neck of the woods, communities will have the opportunity to capture lost state and local revenue, and the local job market will open up and provide more livable wages. Instead of people buying their cannabis from the illicit market, they will have public access to safe and clean cannabis with correct use and medicinal properties listed. A large number of people use cannabis weather or not their states have made it legal. It makes sense to bring the industry out in the open where communities can benefit from it, instead of giving the power and control to the illicit market. Alcohol kills hundreds of thousands in the U.S. ever year, but there are liquor stores on every Main street. The reasoning just doesn’t add up. It is time to get real and grow with the times. If you have the opportunity to vote to legalize and or regulate cannabis in your neck of the woods do so proudly, knowing that you are a pioneer and your community will benefit from safe and legal access to cannabis.
Endocannabanoid and cannabis info sourced from the following
“The Cannabis Heath Index” by Uwe Blesching (2013)
“The Medical Cannabis Guidebook” by Jeff Ditchfielt and Mel Thomas (2014)
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