Medical marijuana uses the marijuana plant or chemicals in it to treat diseases or conditions. It’s basically the same product as recreational marijuana, but it’s taken for medical purposes.
The marijuana plant contains more than 100 different chemicals called cannabinoids. Each one has a different effect on the body. Delta-9-tetrahyfrocaanabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the main chemicals used in medicine. THC produces the “high” people feel when they smoke marijuana or eat foods containing it.
Cannaboids – the active chemicals in medical marijuana are similar to chemicals the body makes that are involved in appetite, memory, movement, and pain. Limited research suggests cannaboids might reduce anxiety, reduce inflammation and relieve pain, kill cancer cells and slow tumor growth, relax tight muscles in MS, stimulate appetite and improve weight gain in people with cancer and AIDS.
What is medical marijuana used for?
Researchers are studying whether medical marijuana can help treat a number of conditions including:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Appetite loss
- Crohn’s disease
- Diseases affecting the immune system like HIV/AIDS or Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Eating disorders such as anorexia
- Mental health conditions like schizophrenia and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
However, it is not yet proven to help many of these conditions.
A Brief History of Cannabis Use in Chinese Medicine
The first mention of cannabis in Chinese medical literature is in The Divine Farmer’s Materia Medica. This was published approximately more than two millennia ago. You can find this book on Amazon.
According to this text, cannabis has acrid and balanced properties. It is said to given the five taxations:
- Excessive use of the eyes
- Excessive lying
It is also said to rule the seven damages (over-eating, cold food and drink, climatic extremes, rage, fatigue, grief, and fear). Furthermore, cannabis is said to benefit the five viscera (the heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, and spleen). Marijuana is also believed to descent blood and cold qi. Qi is defined as the vital force that is inherent in all things.
Marijuana in Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese medicine is an ancient system that has developed over thousands of years. The systems uses treatments such as acupuncture and tai chi to bring harmony to the human body. It is still practiced today in a relatively unchanged form by practitioners both in China and around the world.
TCM views the body itself as a smaller version of the surrounding universe and aims to achieve harmonic balance between the opposing yet balancing forces of yin and yang. It differs from Western allopathic medicine in many ways, with the former taking a much more philosophical and holistic approach to health and the human body.
In cases of Yin deficiency, which is an absence of cooling energy in the body, cannabis can help fortify Yin. However, cannabis, especially marijuana, is not recommended as a singular medicine. That’s because cannabis itself can disrupt the central tenet and Goa of TCM philosophy: to obtain and maintain Yin/Yang balance (harmony or homeostasis)
Chinese medicine was practices long before modern medical equipment was invented. Ancient doctors developed practices for treating patients, including acupuncture, moxibustion, massage, and herbal medicine. One herb has played an essentials role in Chinese medicine throughout its history. This same herb, which is now creating a massive buzz in the modern medical world, is cannabis.
Modern Chinese Medicine
In modern Chinese Medicine, cannabis or hemp seeds are a popular remedy used for their mild laxative effects. Hemps seeds are the only part of the plant that is in regular medicinal use today. The plant is also used for cramps, anxiety, dry cough, asthma, and spasms.
Nowadays, however, it is the seeds that take the forefront when it comes to treatment. It has also been noted within older TCM texts that, over time, the seeds started to become more prominent than other parts of the plants.