How cannabis works in your body
Cannabinoids are the main active ingredients in cannabis and more than 100 have been identified. They can be produced by the human body, found in plants, or manufactured in a laboratory for use in prescription medications. The two most commonly discussed cannabinoids are THC and CBD, due to the fact that they are found in relatively high concentrations in the plant.
Medical cannabis and its cannabinoids - primarily THC and CBD - can be used as therapy to treat or alleviate symptoms. Depending on your needs, you may wish to take a product containing THC, CBD, or a balance of both.
The Endocannabinoid System
We naturally produce cannabinoids (called endocannabinoids) that interact with cell receptors throughout our bodies. Endocannabinoids are like a key, receptors are like a lock, and they fit together to produce effects in the body.
Our endocannabinoid system (ECS) is involved in many physiological functions, including inflammation, sleep, pain, memory, digestion, immune functions, and neuroprotection.
THC and CBD also interact with the receptors of our ECS. This could partly explain why cannabis seems to have an effect on such a wide variety of symptoms and conditions.
What the product may be used for
“Your healthcare practitioner may have authorized the use of cannabis for the relief of one or more of the following symptoms associated with a variety of disorders that have not responded to conventional medical treatments. These symptoms (or conditions) may include:
severe refractory nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy
loss of appetite and body weight in cancer patients and patients with HIV/AIDS
pain and muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis
chronic non-cancer pain (mainly neuropathic)
severe refractory cancer-associated pain
insomnia and depressed mood associated with chronic diseases (HIV/AIDS, chronic non-cancer pain)
symptoms encountered in the palliative/end-of-life care setting
This is not an exhaustive list of symptoms or conditions for which cannabis may be authorized for use by your healthcare practitioner.”
Taken from Health Canada's
One size does not fit all
Cannabis is not a one-size-fits-all therapy, so finding an appropriate product is often a matter of informed trial and error. Many patients benefit from using more than one variety. For example, for when they are medicating during the day versus the evening, or for different symptoms.