Modern biomedical science is beginning to provide a much more helpful understanding of the use of CBD and THC for treating medical problems. We now understand that for the most effective results, precise doses of THC and CBD, often carefully combined, should be used to deliver maximum benefit whilst minimising unwanted side effects.
CBD is currently available to buy over the counter from health food and vape shops, and although some may find relief from these products, the CBD content is often too low to provide alleviation of more severe symptoms experienced by those with chronic conditions. Cannabis medicines (CBMP’s), prescribed by clinicians and dispensed by pharmacists, are manufactured under strictly regulated conditions covering the whole process from the seed used to grow the plant to the manufacture and eventual delivery to the patient.
THC is more ‘psychoactive’, which may have earned it a bad reputation among those without recent medical experience of using cannabinoids. However, there is growing evidence that THC has a diverse range of potential medical applications such as regulating pain signalling, as an anti-convulsant, neuroprotectant, anti-spasmodic, appetite stimulant and anti-depressant. Medications containing THC are only available on prescription from Specialist Consultants in the UK and cannot be obtained over the counter.
In 1992, scientists at the laboratory of Raphael Mechoulam in Jerusalem discovered the naturally occurring endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system exists in the bodies of almost all animals, including human beings. The ECS is a system of receptors, situated on certain cells, that cannabinoids can bind to and through which they enact their medical effects.
The body produces its own cannabinoids, known as endogenous cannabinoids, all the time. They appear to be responsible for the regulation of physiological functions such as cognition, management of pain, appetite regulation, memory, movement control and emotion. However, in some cases, the production of these endogenous cannabinoids may become unbalanced. Phyto-cannabinoids, which is the term used to refer to the cannabinoids found in cannabis, mimic the actions of these endogenous compounds. Using CBMP’s may help to restore this balance.
Cannabinoids are active chemical compounds that act on specific cannabinoid receptors within the body. They are produced both within the human body (endocannabinoids) and in the cannabis plant (phytocannabinoids).
There are currently well over 144 cannabinoids that have been discovered in the cannabis plant. Currently, the most researched are THC and CBD. At present, the vast majority of CBMP’s focus on these two central active ingredients.
There is also research being undertaken on the action of terpenes and flavonoids found within cannabis plants and their potential role in the medical applications of cannabis medicines. These are not cannabis-specific compounds, however, and are found in many common foods and plants.
At Integro Clinics, we currently prescribe 3 forms of cannabis medicines; oral capsules (for long acting symptom management), sublingual oils (for long acting symptom management) and flowers (for short acting symptom management).
The capsules and the oil can be ingested orally, whilst the flower must be consumed through a government authorised medical vaporiser.
Although there is currently no cure for fibromyalgia, cannabis medicines can offer effective management of the symptoms of fibromyalgia. They seem to re-balance and regulate the human body’s endocannabinoid system, to reduce pain and spasm and restore more normal sleep patterns.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a common symptom of fibromyalgia, can also be significantly helped by CBMP’s. The gut is an incredibly complex organ that has its own nervous system that is relatively delicate and can be disturbed by fatigue and stress. Cannabis medicines can give IBS patients huge relief as it soothes and reduces inflammation whilst simultaneously reducing muscle spasms in the bowel and stomach. CBMP’s can help to manage the symptoms of fibromyalgia, especially those related to chronic pain.
Cannabis medicines has been shown to offer pain relief, thus minimising the feelings of pain without causing a loss or disruption to consciousness. Some specific forms of CBMP’s have also been shown to improve sleep for those with fibromyalgia and can even be a suitable substitute for other, traditional medications. For some patients with fibromyalgia, CBMP’s can offer relief from symptoms such as chronic pain, headaches and muscle stiffness.
Cannabis medicines can often provide a welcome relief to the pain of arthritis and succeed where traditional treatments can fail.
Various studies have concluded that cannabinoids have been able to improve the symptoms for those suffering from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis and offer significant improvements to the quality of life.
Cannabinoids offer anti-inflammatory properties which can help to reduce the symptoms of arthritis. Cannabis medicines offer significantly fewer side effects than many traditional medications such as opioids.