2. Cannabis and Its Effects
There is no currently accepted medical use of cannabis in North America outside of an experimental context, although it would appear that therapeutic use by a physician is not prohibited by law in Canada. Over 20 different cannabis preparations have been marketed, mostly on a prescription basis, in Canada since 1920. Production of the last of these medicines was discontinued less than two decades ago and new supplies of cannabis are no longer available through traditional pharmaceutical channels.[m] While cannabinoids have been reported to produce an array of possibly useful medicinal effects, the majority of these claims have either not yet been adequately investigated using modern scientific techniques, or the effects can be duplicated by other more readily available and more convenient drugs. The natural product's variability in potency, uncertain stability over time, and water insolubility, as well as a significant variability in response among different individuals and, later, the imposition of legal restrictions, were among the factors which led to its disfavour in Western 20th century medicine. However, recent advances in the isolation and synthesis of certain natural cannabinoids and closely related synthetic compounds, some of which are water soluble, have overcome some of the earlier difficulties and have prompted a second look at the therapeutic aspects of these drugs.
Cannabis has been widely used in many cultures for its medicinal properties. Cannabinoids have been used in the past and are presently employed in some countries (or are currently under clinical investigation) for their alleged anxiety-reducing, mood-elevating, appetite-stimulating, anticonvulsant, diuretic, blood pressure-reducing, analgesic (pain-reducing). sedative and anaesthetic properties. The antibiotic effect of cannabis on some bacteria has been related primarily to the CBD fraction. Cannabis has also been used to reduce insomnia, to treat coughs, tetanus, burns, earache, and migraine headache, to ease opiate narcotic and alcohol withdrawal, and as an aid in obstetrics and psychotherapy. Other uses in the past include the treatment of corns, warts and hemorrhoids. Cannabis has often been employed and is currently used illicitly North America, to reduce the secondary symptoms and suffering caused by the flu and the common cold.
Effects, this regard, may be a function of the drug's reported ability to improve mood, reduce pain and perhaps lower fever. 124,130,243,295,435,454,482,540,651
Recently declassified United States Army studies of synthetic cannabinoids. done in the I 950s, suggested that these drugs possess a variety of potentially valuable therapeutic properties.157,253,638 The researchers emphasize the drug's low toxicity and suggest that cannabinoids be explored in the treatment of fever, pain, epilepsy, migraine headaches, high blood pressure and psychosis. other new data suggest that cannabis may be useful in the treatment of glaucoma. 264
Many of the alleged therapeutic properties of cannabinoids have not been thoroughly studied in a modern scientific and clinical context, and their general medical potential still remains a matter of conjecture. Research now in progress should clear up much of the controversy in the near future.