Cannabis and cannabis products have been used for centuries around the world for various ailments, pain relief, and, of course, recreational activities. It has been made illegal, criminalized, decriminalized, and made legal, again, in a growing number of areas, and the health benefits are, once again, being rediscovered. The difference being today’s use and the plant’s use a thousand years ago is that, now, we are able to scientifically determine the how and why that surrounds the effectiveness of cannabis, as opposed to attributing the effects to witchcraft, magic, or something equally unlikely.
Cannabis research has increased drastically in recent years due to the legalization in various stages and capacities, both medicinally and recreationally. Scientists have learned things about the cannabis plant and its effects on the human mind and body that were previously unexplained and have even discovered new properties of how the plant grows and works to create certain chemical reactions and compound.
One discovery that has been more recently research and discovered is cannabis compound CBN, which can treat Alzheimer’s and help prevent certain types of liver cancer. Next time grandma is having trouble remembering where she has kept the sugar for the past 30 years, have her light up a joint or enjoy a half a gummy, if she has her teeth in. Then just sit back, relax, and enjoy the stories that she remembers from her 20s and 30s when she was a wild woman, and the world was her oyster.
Scientists have also discovered new elements within the cannabis leaf itself that were previously unknown, such as the final step within the plant where the plant creates CBD or THC from the base micro-organs. Previously, all we knew was that the plant took in the necessary nourishment just like every other fern or flower, but we didn’t know exactly how or why cannabis plants converted these base needs into CBD or THC where other plants only look pretty or taste good on chicken.
Due to modern tools, such as microscopes and other technologies, we were able to break down and monitor every process of the plant through its’ entire lifecycle, learning how and when certain products are created. We can now pinpoint the moment the plant begins to create these compounds, so we know exactly when to cultivate a matured plant.
That’s not to say that everything we’ve learned has been positive. The same CDB and THC compounds that help grandma remember the 1950s also shrink monkey testicles. There is currently nothing that shows that it has any affect whatsoever on human testicles, but it does show that cannabis has different effects on different species, and there is always more to learn.
On 27 July, the US government published a letter stating that they plan “to promote mechanistic research of therapeutic benefits of minor cannabinoids and terpenes in the cannabis plant.” This means that our knowledge will only continue to expand. As we continue to learn and grow our scientific knowledge, we can only hope that the overall experiences will become more widely enjoyed and accepted, while finally discarding much of the stigma previously associated with cannabis in general.