Cannabis sativa (hemp) as a medicinal plant Posted on 20 Nov 09:03
The therapeutic effects of the medicinal plant hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) have been used for thousands of years – Shen-Nung, the mythical founder of Chinese herbal medicine, hemp, already mentioned in 2737 BC. – And in the 19th century, cannabis for various applications an important part of house pharmacies. In particular, in the treatment of pain of various causes – from joint and muscle pain associated with rheumatic diseases on migraine up to crampy discomfort associated with the menstrual period – Cannabis preparations have been used since ancient times.
With the rise of modern pharmacology were the therapeutic possibilities of the hemp plant in the background during her abuse was strongly emphasized as a drug. At present, the tendency is emerging to differentiate more clearly between noise and sober and healing and to investigate whether the therapeutic effects under the controlled conditions of clinical trials described in a plethora of individual observations are understandable.
As a drug, cannabis is used in the form of different products with names such as marijuana (cannabis herb), hashish. ingredient is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
To prescribing doses between 5 mg and 20 mg of THC per day. This is (eg dry mouth, dizziness, and palpitations) mostly tolerated without side effects or in some cases with mild side effects. Because cannabis has a relatively low potential for addiction, is not expected in the course of medical treatment with the emergence of a dependency.
Cannabis as a narcotic
Cannabis and its components are subject to the Narcotics Act, ie, possession, cultivation, trade, import and export are forbidden. 1998 it has been possible in Germany by amending this Act, the main ingredient THC (dronabinol) as approved in the U.S. drug (Marinol ®) or as recipe drugs for the treatment of nausea, loss of appetite and weight loss in cancer and AIDS patients to prescribe. The reclassification of cannabis extract to a prescription drug capable recipe had been promised by the Federal Ministry of Health 2004; However, the Authority drew this commitment back. Thus, preparations from the whole plant (cannabis) but not the contradictory situation will continue to exist, that the main ingredient of a plant (THC), which is also responsible almost solely for their addictive potential, may be prescribed.
Cannabis as a wholeThe modern cannabis research began with the isolation and Teilsynthetisierung the main ingredient, delta-9-THC (1964) and culminated in the discovery of specific cannabinoid receptors in the brain (1988) and later on immune cells as well as in the presentation of endogenous ligands, ie, endogenous cannabinoids, Anandamide called (1992).
Delta-9-THC is the most extensively and thoroughly studied cannabinoid. Another important main cannabinoids cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG) and delta-8-THC. Cannabidiol (CBD), the second most important main ingredient of cannabis, THC acts as anti-spastic, anticonvulsant and pain relieving effect. Of particular importance, however, is that CBD attenuates the psychoactive effects of THC and thus can act the most frequently adjusting and unpleasant side effect of isolated THC contrary. Other positive effects of CBD are in terms of a balance of unilateral effects of THC attenuation of THC-induced tachycardia, a normalization of the slowed by THC sense of time and a weakening THC-induced dizziness.
It is likely that a cannabis extract in the THC and CBD are present as main constituents, and a balanced sound effect as an isolated or synthesized THC, their clinical use is often limited by psychotropic side effects.
Even for the so far only recognized indications of THC or synthetic derivatives (eg originating from the UK nabilone ®) may ask the question whether cannabis could be no more effective and better tolerated than whole plant: The experience of many cancer and AIDS patients with “illegal” cannabis in the treatment of severe nausea and vomiting, and a weight gain due to appetite stimulation confirm this assumption. In a survey of 2430 oncologists in 1990 the U.S. spent 44% of over 1000 anonymous respondents that they already own cannabis patients as the more effective and better tolerated antiemetic to have recommended (for the inhibition of nausea).
Further indicationsIn the future it should be possible for cannabis implement the following additional medical applications:
Pain: Animal studies have shown that THC and other cannabinoids may increase the effects of opiates.study showed a significant reduction in morphine requirement by passing a standardized cannabis extract in strong inflammatory pain in Mediterranean fever. There are also a variety of information from animal studies that cannabinoids especially in neuropathic pain could be helpful.
Migraine: A wealth of individual case reports have documented good efficacy in this by previously approved drugs often unsatisfactory influenced disease. Possible mechanisms of action have been investigated.
Seizures and movement disorders: The relaxing and pain-relieving effect is particularly pronounced in spasticity due to multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injury as well as for menstrual pains. In an epidemiological survey indicated over 90% of 112 surveyed MS patients to be able to effectively improve by smoking cannabis spasms, tremors and pain.
Glaucoma: Already in 1971 it was documented that smoking cannabis lowers intraocular pressure by about 50%. This effect could be achieved also with oral and intravenous delta-9-THC and the delta-8-THC. It was later shown that delta-9-THC and cannabigerol (CBG) increase aqueous humor outflow to the two-to three-fold.
Asthma: Inhaled Cannabis expands the bronchial tubes. To avoid damaging the mucosa smoking, aerosols should be developed. Was demonstrated as early as the 70s that inhaled as an aerosol, delta-9-THC is a to the action of beta-sympathomimetics comparable improvement in lung function.
Further possible applications: sleep disorders, reactive depressive states, epilepsy and drug-induced movement disorders in Parkinson’s disease.