The Adverse and Therapeutical Effects of the Biologically Active Compounds of the Plant Genus Cannabis
In this master's thesis written for the University of Eastern Finland, I research the adverse and therapeutical effects of the main compound groups of the plant genus Cannabis, that are cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. You can download the thesis at the bottom of this page. It's only in Finnish.
In the literature review, 65 plant compounds characteristic for the Cannabis-genus are examined, going through the adverse and therapeutical effects and illuminating confluences to the endocannabinoid system. There is also emphasis on the synergistic effects of the different compounds, that are balancing and reinforcing one another. In addition, e.g. the historical medicinal use of the Cannabis plant genus and co-evolution with the humans are reviewed.
The experimental part includes anecdotal data about the adverse and therapeutical effects of the compounds in question, from medical cannabis users holding a prescription. Experiences on e.g. applying for the prescription and the public atmosphere about the cannabis medication have been compiled to the appendix "Lääkekannabis Suomessa - reseptin saaneiden kokemuksia".
Prescription holding medical cannabis users' evaluations about the adverse and therapeutical effects were in line with the scientific literature by most parts. Medical cannabis doesn't seem to cause significant adverse effects on persons that get a positive response from cannabis medication.
With regular use, a tolerance is developed against the side effects of the medication, without a significant decline in the pharmacological effectiveness. This has been identified due to the subtle behaviour of the cannabinoids as partial agonists of the cannabinoid receptors.
For these patients, medical cannabis has been an effective treatment for chronic pain and migraine, multiple sclerosis symptoms, chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting, severe childhood-onset epilepsy and posttraumatic stress disorder. There was a substantial improvement in the quality of life of the patients due to the cannabis medication.
In addition, medical cannabis had provided therapeutical benefit when treating anxiety, depression, psychic problems and substance addiction. Therapeutical effects were rated to be comprehensive including physical and mental relaxation, stress relieve, uplifted spirits, enhanced appetite and quality of sleep. The extensive therapeutical benefits must be attributed to the synergistic effects of the plant-based cannabis medication.
Humans have utilized the Cannabis plant genus for medicinal purposes for milleniums. From the early hunter-gatherers and nomads to the ancient Mesopotamian civilizations, Chinese and Egyptian dynasties, Indian kingdoms and the Roman Empire, this herbal medicine has played an important role in alleviating various symptoms and diseases. The bioactive compounds of the Cannabis plant genus connect to our endogenous cannabinoid system, affecting many physiological functions, such as appetite, sensing of pain, mood and memory.
There have been found over 750 compounds from the plants of the Cannabis genus, from which 121 are cannabinoids. The medical and consciousness altering effects are primarily due to cannabinoids, that are exclusively produced by the plants of the Cannabis genus.
Other important compounds of the medical hemp include terpenes and flavonoids, that give the distinctive aroma, flavor and colour to each cultivar. The unique chemical profiles of different varieties and plant individuals, containing hundreds of compounds, affect synergistically on the psychoactive effects of the plant.
The plants of the Cannabis genus produce the active compounds in glands that are called trichomes. The resin glands, invisible to the naked eye, are light sticky balls with an appearance of a mushroom. They are located on the plant's leaves and floral parts.
In Finland, about 300 persons hold a special permit for a medical cannabis prescription, most of which are for dried bud products. Synthetic cannabinoid products are prescribed only marginally per annum. The use of medical cannabis has clearly increased in the last years, especially regarding THC-rich Bedrocan cultivar.
On estimate 2 000 – 5 000 persons use cannabis as medicine to treat chronic ailments without prescription. Of all the cannabis users, for a fifth this plant serves a medicinal purpose. There are approximately 35 000 persons in Finland who use cannabis at least once a week.
In the future, as the scientific data accumulates, we will fathom the applicable end uses for the therapeutical effects of the cannabinoids and other active compounds of the Cannabis plant genus. Empirical knowledge, case histories and the central role of the endocannabinoid system in maintaining body functions, suggest that it is possible to use this plant to treat many maladies.
You can download the thesis from here.
|Cannabis-kasvisuvun biologisesti aktiivisten yhdisteiden haitalliset ja terapeuttiset vaikutukset.pdf|
|File Size:||6106 kb|
Alternative download link.