Cannabis, a modern day medicine?
For the majority, "cannabis" naturally refers to illegality, drugs, or even the joint. However, this taboo substance in France is rich in medicinal virtues. It is used in the Netherlands, Italy, Germany and Finland as a "quasi-medicine".
Thus, the so-called therapeutic or medicinal cannabis has experienced an unexpected boom in recent years, arousing much curiosity among the public. Thousands of people are currently treating their illnesses, pain or even side effects from other treatments with this plant. The multiple benefits that cannabis has to offer as well as its growing consumers testify of its certain efficiency. This incites the seed banks and the cultivators to imagine and create new hybrids differentiating themselves according to their contents of cannabinoids such as THC, CBD or CBG.
When we speak about medicinal cannabis, it implies that some varieties have no particular interest. This is a recurrent error that shows a real lack of information on the subject. In reality, cannabis plants produce a series of compounds called cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids... Each compound has its own medicinal property. Depending on the plant, the dosage of the compounds differs which means that each plant represents a medicinal potential of its own. Thus, some plants prove to be more interesting for medicinal use but none of them is negligible.
Read also: The legalization of cannabis in France (weed-info.fr)
The use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes dates back to ancient times when it was used in China, India and the Middle East to treat vomiting, constipation, bleeding and parasitic infectious diseases. The medicinal effects of the plant were scientifically proven following the discovery of THC with psychoactive properties in 1964 and of the two types of cannabinoid receptors present in the human body in 1990.
The properties that have been proven following numerous scientific researches are: analgesic, either related to chronic pain resistant to lambda treatments, anxiolytic properties against psychiatric diseases or bronchodilator treating asthma.
Sativex, a drug approved for the treatment of pain and muscle stiffness related to multiple sclerosis is a representation of the outcome of these numerous researches. Marketed in Canada since 2005 and in Germany since 2010, the drug has been a source of great popularity. In France, the marketing authorization of Sativex remains pending and will potentially become the first cannabis-based medicine sold and authorized in the country. Several other studies remain underway with the goal of creating treatments for epileptic seizures, dysfunction and tics related to Tourette's syndrome.
The appearance of these different medicines in France could gradually participate in the evolution of mentalities concerning cannabis. The lack of information is consequent and contributes largely to the demonization of the plant in France perceived as a drug whose consumption remains reserved for a stereotype of person established by the society.