What is cannabis?
Cannabis refers to a group of three plants with psychoactive properties, known as Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis.
When the flowers of these plants are harvested and dried, you’re left with cannabis. Some call it to weed, some call it pot, and others call it marijuana.
Today Cannabis is legal in Canada for both recreational and medicinal purposes. Medicinal use of cannabis was legalized nationwide on 30 July 2001. In response to popular opinion, the legislation to legalize cannabis for recreational use (Cannabis Act, Bill C-45) was passed by the House of Commons of Canada and on 17 October 2018, the federal Cannabis Act came into effect and made Canada the second country in the world, after Uruguay, to formally legalize the cultivation, possession, acquisition and consumption of cannabis and its by-products. Canada is the first G7 and G20 nation to do so.
The federal government announced that recreational use of cannabis would no longer violate criminal law as of 17 October 2018. This legalization comes with regulation similar to that of alcohol in Canada, limiting home production, distribution, consumption areas and sale times. The process removed cannabis possession for personal consumption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. As of January 2019, on-line sales of cannabis for recreational use were well underway across Canada, via the provincial government.
As weed becomes legal in more countries, names for it are evolving. Today, more and more people are using the term cannabis to refer to weed.
Cannabis is usually consumed for its relaxing and calming effects. It can also be prescribed to help with a range of medical conditions, including chronic pain, glaucoma, and poor appetite.
Keep in mind that while cannabis comes from a plant and is considered natural, it can still have strong effects, both positive and negative.
What are Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids (e.g., THC and CBD) are the chemical compounds secreted by cannabis flowers that provide relief to an array of symptoms including pain, nausea, anxiety, and inflammation. These work their medicinal magic by imitating compounds our bodies naturally produce, called endocannabinoids, which activate to maintain internal stability and health. To put a complex system simply, they mediate communication between cells, and when there is a deficiency or problem with our endocannabinoid system, unpleasant symptoms and physical complications occur.
When cannabis is consumed, cannabinoids bind to receptor sites throughout our brain (receptors called CB-1) and body (CB-2). Different cannabinoids have different effects depending on which receptors they bind to. For example, THC binds to receptors in the brain whereas CBN (cannabinol) has a strong affinity for CB-2 receptors located throughout the body. Depending on a cannabis product’s cannabinoid profile, different types of relief are achievable.