Medical Marijuana is the dried flowers of the Cannabis plant. Originally growing wild in south and Central Asia in ancient times, it has since been domesticated and hybridized for a variety of uses. The most common uses include hemp fiber, seed oils, medicinal properties and recreational uses.
Hybrids Emphasize Valuable Traits
There are commonly believed to be three major strains of Cannabis: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis.
There are also hundreds of hybrids that have been developed using specialized breeding techniques to maximize or minimize particular properties of the plant.
Varieties have been developed for industrial hemp production. It is a renewable resource with very low levels of the psychoactive substances and very high levels of a fiber that is both tough and strong.
Hemp clothing dates back to the ancient Chinese, and hemp paper was first developed 2000 years ago.
Hemp clothing has had a resurgence in modern times. Originally valued for its durability, it is being used for designer clothing and casual wear such as shirts, shoes and jeans. It has also been combined with silk and made into lingerie.
Cannabis Seed Oil
Cannabis seed oil or hemp oil is both an edible and nutritious as a dietary supplement. It has high levels of essential fatty acids and it is 25% protein. It can be used to make iced tea, brewed into beer, fermented into wine, and distilled into stronger alcoholic beverages.
Medication or Recreation
Hybrids developed for personal use as a medicine or for recreation have high levels of cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are a group of psychoactive substances that bind to receptors found in the brain, spinal cord and periphery affecting a variety of bodily functions including metabolism, appetite, anxiety and the immune system.
Over 60 different cannabinoids have been isolated and shown to have some effect on the human body. Many of the actions and interactions between the various types are still being studied. It appears that the main effect of many of these is on other cannabinoids. This interaction may increase, decrease or otherwise change response to one or more cannabinoids.
THC and CBD
The two major cannabinoids are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). These two are responsible for the majority of effects. How the many other cannabinoids interact and change or alter that effect is not well understood.
THC is said to cause a more euphoric or "high" sensation. It has also been shown to stimulate appetite making it useful for people with eating disorders such as anorexia.
CBD is more associated with a sedative type of effect. It may be more appropriate for nighttime use and helpful for people with insomnia.
Seemingly Endless Combinations to Strengthen Useful Qualities
All of the different hybrids of cannabis have both of these substances and it is the amount and ratio of these materials that growers attempt to manipulate with different hybrids. People who want to grow hemp will try to lower the levels of cannabinoids and adjust the traits that affect the quality of the fiber.
Breeders who are growing marijuana to use as medicine will try to develop a combination of cannabinoids that will be useful for a particular medical condition. There are many well documented studies that demonstrate the beneficial effects of medical cannabis as a pain reliever, an anti-inflammatory, as well as antitumor, anticancer, and antibiotic effects.