We have a certain responsibility to not only educate ourselves; but, to provide true and accurate information to the public. With that in mind, we begin with a few key terms to help us understand and speak a common language not mired by politics and several generations of false and untruths dolled out to a public not adept at self education and their "due diligence."
Cannabis contains over 300 compounds. At least 66 of these are cannabinoids, which are the basis for the medical and scientific use of cannabis. In the past, this presented problems for researchers in isolating the effect of specific compounds and taking account of the interaction of these compounds. However, with the improvement made in scientific and medical technology in the past several decades, researchers are now better able to separate and study each of these specific components of the cannabis plant.
Cannabinoids can serve as appetite stimulants, antiemetics, antispasmodics, and anticonvulsives. They have also been shown to be useful in treating seizures as well as having analgesic effects. Five important cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant are tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol, B-caryophyllene, and cannabigerol.
A major constituent of medical cannabis, CBD (or Cannabidiol), represents up to 40% of the extracts of the medical cannabis plant. Cannabidiol has been shown to relieve convulsions, inflammation, anxiety, cough and congestion, and nausea. It has been shown to effectively inhibit growth of cancer cells. Cannabis strains with high levels of CBD may benefit patients with multiple sclerosis, frequent anxiety attacks and Tourette Syndrome. CBD does not create the experience of being high as THC does.
THC, or Tetraqhydrocannabinol, is the component of the plant responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. In other words, it is the compound in the plant which gives one the feeling of being high. The compound is also a mild analgesic and recent research has shown it to have antioxidant activity as well. THC is believed to interfere with the parts of the brain normally controlled by the endogenous cannabinoid neurotransmitter, anandamide. Anandamide is believed to play a role in pain sensation, memory and sleep.