One of my newsletter and blog readers has asked me this question, and I’m getting the distinct feeling that the cannabis oil/medical marijuana story is going to be highly divisive. There will be some who consider it to be a hallucinogenic drug which cannot possibly have any health benefits, whilst there will be others who report that it is a universal panacea which is going to cure all the world’s ills. There’s truth in both camps, so let’s take a look.
Before I continue, I have to state here that I am, and have always been dead against drugs and, with the exception of alcohol in my earlier life, have never used them. It’s a feeling that I am sure will stay with me for life. I think one of the main reasons for this was seeing a film called Christiane F when I was still a teenager – if ever something is going to put you off such substances, this film is it.
Firstly, some definitions, and the necessity to say that hemp oil, which you might put on your salads and in some recipes, is very different from cannabis essential oil which is a concentrated and powerful medicine obtained via steam distillation of the flowers and upper leaves of the plant.
Likewise hemp seeds, which are a great source of protein and essential fatty acids of the omega 3, 6 and 9 type, cannot be put into the same category as cannabis essential oil or medical marijuana (see below). You’d probably have to eat approximately 24kg of hemp seeds in one sitting to ingest enough THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychotropic drug that causes “trips”, and why most people take it as a recreational drug in the first place) to have any significant central effects.
Medical marijuana is obtained from the whole (medicinal grade) plant, which must be carefully grown without the use of pesticides and fertilisers. Its health benefits, and those of cannabis essential oil, come from the monoterpenes and flavonols (which benefit the immune system) as well as the THC, which is more controversial.
Several body systems possess cannabinoid receptors including the brain, lungs, liver and immune system. Medical marijuana and cannabis oil is being used in the USA and Europe for pain relief from specific conditions such as cancer, nerve pain, muscle spasms such as those caused by multiple sclerosis, etc. Predominantly in the USA, it is being used to treat mood disorders, cancer, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Parkinson’s disease and seizures, in addition to its role in acting as an excellent painkiller.
Cannabis oil is delivered under the tongue and is rapidly absorbed. Whilst it is true that cannabis essential oil can be used for the relief of stress and anxiety, I would suggest that there are perhaps other less controversial essential oils that would also do the same thing, in addition to using magnesium spray to boost levels of this important mineral, which some 80% of the population is likely to be deficient in.
Personally I would consider the use of this interesting medical intervention as a last resort when other approaches have failed. However I am sure that for the terminally ill and those who use it for the alleviation of chronic pain, it is a Godsend.