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02. When is medicinal cannabis prescribed?

ODI Pharma's products are available only to medical patients through a prescription from a doctor. Research suggests that there are multiple applications for the product in standard and alternative medication. Since the 1980s research has contributed substantially to the reception and understanding of medicinal cannabis and its usage.

The Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a biological system composed of endocannabinoids that connect to cannabinoid receptors in the human system, and cannabinoid receptor proteins that are expressed throughout the central nervous system (including the brain) and peripheral nervous system. Researchers found that the endocannabinoid system is involved in regulating a variety of physiological and cognitive processes including fertility, pregnancy, during pre- and postnatal development, appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory, and in mediating the pharmacological effects of cannabis. The ECS is also involved in mediating some of the physiological and cognitive effects of voluntary physical exercise in humans, such as contributing to exercise-induced euphoria as well as modulating locomotor activity and motivational salience for rewards.

Also, in humans, the plasma concentration of certain endocannabinoids (i.e., anandamide) have been found to rise during physical activity; since endocannabinoids can effectively penetrate the blood–brain barrier, it has been suggested that anandamide, along with other euphoriant neurochemicals, contributes to the development of exercise-induced euphoria in humans, a state colloquially referred to as a runner's high.

Two primary endocannabinoid receptors have been identified:

CB1, first cloned in 1990; and CB2, cloned in 1993. CB1 receptors are found predominantly in the brain and nervous system, as well as in peripheral organs and tissues, and are the main molecular target of the endocannabinoid ligand (binding molecule), anandamide, as well as its mimetic phytocannabinoid, THC. One other main endocannabinoid is 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) which is active at both cannabinoid receptors, along with its own mimetic phytocannabinoid, CBD. 2-AG and CBD are involved in the regulation of appetite, immune system functions and pain management.

The researched applications for the human system

Medical cannabis has several potential beneficial effects. Evidence is moderate that it helps in chronic pain and muscle spasms. Low quality evidence suggests its use for reducing nausea during chemotherapy, improving appetite in HIV/AIDS, improving sleep, and improving tics in Tourette syndrome. When usual treatments are ineffective, cannabinoids have also been recommended for anorexia, arthritis, migraine, and glaucoma. Current research suggests that there is potentially an even broader application range for medicinal cannabis.

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Learn more about medicinal cannabis

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