Industrial hemp, the non-intoxicating cousin to marijuana, is a legal source of natural cannabinoids which are the active compounds of the cannabis plant. The natural cannabinoids in hemp benefit the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is the part of the body that helps regulate pain and inflammation. The ECS is controlled by endocannabinoids, chemicals which help maintain the balance of biological functions such as sleep, pain, appetite, and the immune system.
When the body is out of balance in these areas, cells in our central nervous system (CNS) and immune system produce endocannabinoids which bind to receptors responsible for controlling inflammation. This supports a healthy inflammatory response which protects the CNS from damage caused by inflammation. These benefits can be further enhanced by taking these supplements.
More research is needed before we can fully understand and appreciate the contribution of natural cannabinoids to our health and wellbeing. As we do, we will gain a better understanding of which compounds have synergistic effects that may improve it’s effectiveness or allow for the same effect at a lower dose.
Our evidence-based analysis on cannabis features 814 unique references to scientific papers.
THC and CBD appear to be notable analgesics and can reduce pain in a variety of health conditions. Pain in multiple sclerosis and neuropathic pain, in general, have the best evidence for benefits, and they also appear to be useful in cancer, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and pain from wounds. However, more research on those is needed. There is great interest in using cannabis to reduce opioid use, and while some evidence supports this, more research is needed to determine where it may be most effective. In instances of severe pain, the reduction in pain may not be enough to reduce opioid use.
Cannabis is the common name and genus for a few plants used around the world due to their psychoactive properties. Its major component, known as THC, possesses acute benefits but is subject to rapid tolerance. Additionally, nonpsychoactive components like CBD may have chronic benefits. While therapeutic, particularly for pain relief, the plant is not a panacea.
Inhaling cannabis smoke increases diastolic blood pressure and heart rate, though this change is temporary. However, many case studies note cannabis usage 30 – 60 minutes before heart attacks, so it’s possible that this acute effect could be dangerous for those at high risk. Heart attacks can occur when people with an elevated risk for heart disease push their blood pressure and heart rate to dangerous levels. It may also interact with some pharmaceuticals, which could result in elevated blood pressure and a heart attack. Smoking cannabis has also been associated with bronchitis.
Originally, this page included various studies on isolated THC. We have decided to transition the Human Effect Matrix of this page to one that exclusively includes studies on combinations of THC and CBD, either in the form of whole cannabis leaf, cannabis oil, or pharmaceutical combinations of THC and CBD. We have a dedicated CBD page and hope to release a dedicated THC page in the not-too-distant future.