There are more than 100 different types of cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. Cannabinoids can also be found in the human body, these are called endocannabinoids and they affect appetite, sleep, memory, pain and inflammation.
Cannabinoids from the cannabis plant act on receptors in the brain and other parts of the body by mimicking naturally occurring endocannabinoids.
The main cannabinoids that interact with the human body are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). When used separately, these cannabinoids will have varying effects on a person as each work differently.
THC may be used to reduce symptoms of nausea, vomiting, pain and muscle spasticity as well as improve sleep and appetite. In some people, THC may cause the ‘high’ generally associated with recreational cannabis use.
CBD does not cause a ‘high’ and may reduce the unwanted side effects of THC.
Research is continuing into the medicinal uses of CBD and THC combined. The combination is thought to be useful in the management of seizures and pain and may also help to reduce anxiety.
Depending on a patient’s medical condition, the doctors’ diagnosis and treatment plan will be carefully considered to ensure the medical cannabis product received contains the appropriate levels of cannabinoids for symptom management.