Are marijuana and cannabis the same thing?
The terms “cannabis” and “marijuana” are frequently used interchangeably, however they do not mean the same thing.
All items generated from the Cannabis sativa plant are referred to as “cannabis.”
Approximately 540 chemical compounds are found in the cannabis plant.
Parts of or products from the Cannabis sativa plant that contain significant levels of tetrahydrocannabinol are referred to as “marijuana” (THC). THC is the active ingredient in marijuana that has the most impact on a person’s mental state. THC is present in only a small percentage of cannabis plants. These plants are classified as “industrial hemp” rather than marijuana under US law.
The plant Cannabis sativa is referred to as “cannabis” throughout the rest of this data sheet.
What are cannabinoids, and what do they do?
Cannabinoids are a class of compounds present in marijuana plants. You can mail order marijuana online for health reasons.
What are the most well-known cannabinoids?
THC and cannabidiol are the two most common cannabinoids (CBD).
What is the total number of cannabinoids?
More than 100 additional cannabinoids have been discovered in addition to THC and CBD.
Is cannabis or cannabinoids approved for medical use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)?
The cannabis plant has not been licensed by the FDA for any medical application. The FDA, on the other hand, has approved a number of medications that contain specific cannabinoids.
Epidiolex was licensed for the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome, two rare and severe forms of epilepsy. It contains a purified version of CBD obtained from cannabis.
The FDA has approved Marinol and Syndros, which contain dronabinol (synthetic THC), as well as Cesamet, which contains nabilone (a synthetic chemical related to THC). Dronabinol and nabilone are used to treat cancer chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Dronabinol is also used to treat HIV/AIDS-related weight loss and loss of appetite.
Is it legal to have THC or CBD in dietary supplements or foods?
THC or CBD-containing products cannot be legally sold as dietary supplements, according to the FDA. Foods containing THC or CBD are not allowed to be sold in interstate commerce. The laws and regulations of each state determine whether they can be marketed legally.
Are Cannabis or cannabinoids effective in the treatment of medical conditions?
Cannabinoid-containing drugs may be useful in treating certain rare kinds of epilepsy, nausea, and vomiting associated with cancer treatment, and HIV/AIDS-related lack of appetite and weight loss. Furthermore, some research suggests that cannabis or cannabinoids may have minor benefits for chronic pain and multiple sclerosis symptoms. Glaucoma is not helped by cannabis. Cannabis or cannabinoids research for different ailments is still in its early phases.
The research on cannabis or cannabinoids for certain health issues is summarized in the sections below.
The effects of cannabis or cannabinoids on chronic pain, particularly neuropathic pain, have been studied (pain associated with nerve injury or damage).
A study published in 2018 looked at 47 research (4,743 individuals) of cannabis or cannabinoids for chronic pain other than cancer pain and found evidence of a minor benefit. Twenty-nine percent of those who took cannabis/cannabinoids saw a 30 percent reduction in pain, compared to 26 percent of those who took a placebo (inactive substance). It’s possible that the difference isn’t significant enough for patients to notice. People who used cannabis/cannabinoids experienced more adverse occurrences (side effects) than those who used placebos.
A 2018 review of 16 studies of cannabis-based medicines for neuropathic pain found low- to moderate-quality evidence that these medicines provided better pain relief than placebos. The majority of the studies tested a cannabinoid preparation called nabiximols (brand name Sativex; a mouth spray containing both THC and CBD that is approved in some countries but not in the United States). However, the data could not be trusted because the research only enrolled a limited number of participants and could be skewed. People who took cannabis-based treatments were more likely to drop out of studies due to side effects than those who took placebos.
A 2015 evaluation of 28 trials (2,454 participants) of cannabis that looked at chronic pain concluded that while the studies typically demonstrated improvements in pain measurements in people using cannabinoids, most of the studies did not approach statistical significance. Cannabinoids, on the other hand, had a higher average number of patients reporting at least a 30% reduction in pain than placebo.
Aiding in the Decrease of Opioid Addiction
THC in combination with opioids has been shown in animal tests to help reduce pain at a lower opioid dose.
A 2017 study looked at studies in which cannabis were used in conjunction with opioids to relieve pain in humans. These trials were conducted to see if cannabinoids could reduce the quantity of opioids needed to control pain. Three trials (642 people) employed a high-quality study design in which participants were randomly randomized to either cannabis or a placebo. The findings were mixed, and none of the high-quality research suggested that cannabinoids would reduce opiate use.
Researchers analyzed statistical data on groups of people to examine if availability to cannabis (for example, through “medical marijuana laws,” which allow patients with certain medical conditions to obtain cannabis) is linked to changes in opioid usage or damage from opioids. The results have been contradictory.
People on Medicare in states with medicinal marijuana laws had reduced prescription rates for opioids and all other medicines that cannabis could replace for. Medical marijuana users, on the other hand, were more likely than nonusers to report taking prescription medicines, according to data from a national survey (not limited to persons on Medicare).
An review of data from 1999 to 2010 found that states with medical marijuana laws had reduced death rates from opioid pain medication overdoses, but a comparable research from 2017 found higher death rates from this type of overdose.
The passage of medical marijuana laws was not linked to lower nonmedical prescription opioid usage, according to a study of survey data from 2004 to 2014. As a result, it did not appear that patients who had access to medicinal marijuana were substituting it for prescription opioids.
Cannabis or cannabinoids may assist to alleviate anxiety, according to a tiny amount of evidence from human research. In a study of 24 patients with social anxiety disorder, CBD was demonstrated to reduce anxiety in a simulated public speaking exam when compared to a placebo. Cannabinoids may be useful for anxiety in persons with chronic pain, according to four research. The study participants did not all have anxiety issues.
Cannabinoids, particularly CBD, have been researched for the treatment of seizures caused by epilepsy that is difficult to control with traditional medications. The FDA has approved Epidiolex (oral CBD) for the treatment of seizures caused by two epileptic encephalopathies:
Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. (Epileptic encephalopathies are a group of seizure illnesses that begin in childhood and are characterized by frequent seizures as well as severe cognitive deficits.) There hasn’t been enough research done on cannabis for other, more prevalent forms of epilepsy to draw any judgments regarding whether they’re useful in these cases.
Glaucoma is a set of disorders that affect the optic nerve of the eye, causing vision loss and blindness. Early therapy can typically save a person’s sight. Lowering ocular pressure can help to decrease the disease’s course.
Cannabis or compounds derived from it were found to lower ocular pressure in studies conducted in the 1970s and 1980s, but not as successfully as currently available treatments. One drawback of cannabis-based treatments is that they only have a temporary effect on eye pressure.
CBD, when given directly to the eye, has been shown in a recent animal study to cause an unfavorable increase in eye pressure.
Symptoms of HIV/AIDS
For persons living with HIV/AIDS, unintentional weight loss can be an issue. The cannabinoid dronabinol was licensed by the FDA in 1992 for the treatment of loss of appetite linked with weight loss in HIV/AIDS patients. This approval was based mostly on a 139-person research that looked at how dronabinol affected appetite and weight fluctuations.
There have been a few previous studies of cannabis or cannabinoids for appetite and weight loss in HIV/AIDS patients, but they were short and only included a limited number of people, so the results could be skewed. Overall, there is no evidence that cannabis/cannabinoids are beneficial to HIV/AIDS patients.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The term “inflammatory bowel disease” refers to a set of diseases in which the digestive tract becomes inflamed. The most frequent kinds are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, and fever are all possible symptoms. The symptoms can range from moderate to severe, and they might arise and disappear, sometimes for months or years before reappearing.
In a 2018 study, researchers compared smoked cannabis or cannabis oil to placebos in persons with active Crohn’s disease in three studies (with a total of 93 participants). In terms of clinical remission, there was no difference between the cannabis/cannabis oil and placebo groups. Some persons who used cannabis or cannabis oil saw a reduction in their symptoms, but others experienced negative side effects. It was unclear whether the possible advantages of cannabis or cannabis oil outweighed the risks.
In a 2018 analysis, 92 patients with active ulcerative colitis were compared to placebos in two studies that evaluated smoked cannabis or CBD capsules to placebos. In the CBD research, there was no difference in clinical remission between the two groups, but those who took CBD reported higher side effects. A measure of disease activity was lower in the cannabis group after 8 weeks in the smoked cannabis study; no information on side effects was provided.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a condition in which the intestines
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is characterized by chronic stomach pain and irregular stool movements (diarrhea, constipation, or both). It’s one of a set of gastrointestinal (GI) tract functional diseases that has to do with how the brain and gut interact.
Although there has been some interest in using cannabis/cannabinoids to treat IBS symptoms, there has been little study on their usage in individuals. As a result, it’s unclear whether cannabis or cannabinoids are beneficial.
Tourette Syndrome Causes Movement Disorders
Synthetic THC pills may be related with a considerable improvement in tic severity in patients with Tourette syndrome, according to a 2015 assessment of two small placebo-controlled studies with 36 participants.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease that affects
Several cannabis/cannabinoid preparations, including dronabinol, nabilone, cannabis extract, nabiximols (brand name Sativex; a mouth spray containing THC and CBD that is approved in more than 25 countries outside the United States), and smoked cannabis, have been studied for multiple sclerosis symptoms.
In people with multiple sclerosis, cannabinoids caused a small improvement in spasticity (as assessed by the patient), pain, and bladder problems, according to a review of 17 studies with 3,161 total participants. However, cannabinoids did not significantly improve spasticity when measured by objective tests.
Cannabinoids (nabiximols, dronabinol, and THC/CBD) were associated with a greater average improvement on the Ashworth scale for spasticity in multiple sclerosis patients compared to placebo, according to a review of 6 placebo-controlled clinical trials with 1,134 total participants, though this did not reach statistical significance.
According to the American Academy of Neurology’s evidence-based guidelines published in 2014, nabiximols is probably effective for improving subjective spasticity symptoms, probably ineffective for reducing objective spasticity measures or bladder incontinence, and possibly ineffective for reducing multiple sclerosis-related tremor. The guidelines found that the data is insufficient to evaluate the effects of smoked cannabis in adults with multiple sclerosis based on two short studies.
According to a 2010 analysis of three studies (666 participants) of nabiximols in people with multiple sclerosis and spasticity, nabiximols reduced subjective spasticity, usually within three weeks, and that about one-third of people given nabiximols as a supplement to other treatment had at least a 30% improvement in spasticity. Nabiximols appeared to be a relatively safe substance.
Cancer Chemotherapy-Related Nausea and Vomiting
A 2015 evaluation of 23 studies (1,326 individuals) indicated that the cannabinoids dronabinol or nabilone were more effective than a placebo and comparable to other drugs for relieving nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy. When taking cannabis drugs, however, more persons experienced side effects such as dizziness or tiredness.
The research on dronabinol and nabilone for treating nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy was mostly conducted in the 1980s and 1990s, and thus represents the sorts of chemotherapy treatments and antinausea medications available at the time, rather than contemporary ones.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a type of (PTSD)
Some people with PTSD have taken cannabis or cannabis-derived products to try to alleviate their symptoms, and some believe it can help, but there has been little study on whether it is effective.
The cannabis nabilone was found to be more helpful than a placebo in treating PTSD-related nightmares in a short study of ten participants.
Observational studies (studies that gathered data on persons with PTSD who made their own decisions about whether or not to take cannabis) haven’t produced conclusive evidence about whether cannabis is beneficial or detrimental for PTSD symptoms.
The effects of cannabis or cannabinoids on sleep have been studied extensively in patients with health problems (such as multiple sclerosis, PTSD, or chronic pain). People who use cannabis/cannabinoids often report better sleep quality, less sleep disruptions, or a shorter time to fall asleep. However, it’s unclear if cannabis products directly affected sleep or whether people slept better because their illnesses’ symptoms had improved. The effects of cannabis/cannabinoids on sleep disorders in people who aren’t sick remain unknown.
Is it safe to use cannabis and cannabinoids?
Several concerns about the safety of cannabis and cannabinoids have been raised:
- The use of cannabis has been related to a higher risk of car accidents.
- During pregnancy, using cannabis has been associated to a lower birth weight.
- Some cannabis users acquire cannabis use disorder, which manifests as cravings, withdrawal, a loss of control, and detrimental consequences on personal and professional obligations.
- Adolescents who use cannabis have a four to seven times higher risk of developing cannabis use disorder than adults.
- Cannabis use has been linked to an increased risk of harm in seniors.
In persons who are predisposed to these illnesses, cannabis usage, especially frequent use, has been associated to an increased chance of developing schizophrenia or other psychoses (serious mental illnesses).
Marijuana might produce orthostatic hypotension (head rush or dizziness when you stand up), which can put you at risk of fainting or falling.
The FDA has issued a public health warning against using THC-containing vape products. Many of the recorded cases of serious lung damage connected to vaping have been linked to products of this type.
There have been numerous accounts of children unintentionally consuming cannabis or its compounds, resulting in symptoms severe enough to necessitate emergency department care or hospitalization. Children exhibited more severe symptoms than adults in a group of people who became unwell after accidentally ingesting THC-laced candy, and they required to stay in the hospital longer.
Some long-term cannabis users have developed a disease characterized by repeated violent vomiting.
There have been instances of microbes, pesticides, and other contaminants being found in cannabis/cannabinoid products.
Some cannabis/cannabinoid products have cannabinoid content that differs significantly from what is indicated on the label.
Is it possible that CBD is harmful?
CBD has been shown to be detrimental to some persons.
Epidiolex (a pure CBD product) was tested for effectiveness and safety before the FDA authorized it as a medication. Some study participants experienced adverse effects (mainly diarrhea or tiredness), and some had abnormal liver function tests. Because of liver concerns, some trial participants had to stop using Epidiolex. Epidiolex interacted with a number of different medications that these folks were taking.
Because people using Epidiolex are utilizing CBD under medical supervision, problems like these can be handled. CBD users who take it on their own are not protected in this way. They might not even be aware of how much CBD they’re consuming. According to a 2017 study of 84 CBD products marketed online, 26% contained significantly less CBD than the label suggested, while 43% contained significantly more.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) funded this study (NCCIH)
Several NCCIH-funded studies are looking at the pain-relieving effects and mechanisms of action of cannabis compounds like minor cannabinoids (those other than THC) and terpenes (substances in cannabis that give the plant its strain-specific properties such as aroma and taste). The purpose of these studies is to add to the body of knowledge on cannabis components and if they can help with pain management.
Other studies on cannabis and cannabinoids that the NCCIH is funding include:
- An observational study investigating the effects of edible cannabis and its ingredients on chronic low-back pain sufferers’ pain, inflammation, and thinking.
- In order to discover strategies for synthesizing cannabinoids in yeast, researchers are doing research (which would cost less than obtaining them from the cannabis plant).
- The purpose of this study is to see if there is a link between cannabis use and type 2 diabetes.
More to Think About
Do not use cannabis or cannabinoids to put off visiting a doctor about a medical condition.
Take charge of your health by discussing any complementary health practices you utilize with your doctor. You can make shared, well-informed judgments as a group.