What’s Next for Cannabis?

CANNABIS CULTURE – I often tell people that “medical marijuana is not a panacea – it won’t necessarily help or cure everything.” However, I take a look at all the conditions that cannabis could be helpful for, and I start thinking, “maybe cannabis isn’t a cure-all, but it does seem to look that way!”

And there’s a good reason for why it looks this way: the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is sort of like the human body’s “supercomputer” or “mainframe” that helps keeps everything in equilibrium (homeostasis). Modulating one part of it can affect another part of the nervous system. Should the ECS go “out-of-sync”, bad things start to happen, and it seems as if there are many conditions where the ECS is affected.

What does this mean for the future? Well, as it is only theoretically rather than practically possible to overdose on cannabinoid-terpenoid-based medications alone, then I am hoping for a day when many of the most dangerous and addictive substances available at the pharmacists are gone, or at the very least used sparingly. However, this day is only possible if doctors and scientists are allowed to research cannabis and its constituents properly and without the possibility of a federal prison sentence hanging over their heads. Should cannabis be rescheduled to a lower class of substance, or preferably taken off the list entirely, then finding out about this amazing plant’s abilities and how it interacts with humans will be made many times easier.

We are starting to see the medical side of cannabis appear now. Smoking and vaporizing is becoming replaced by tinctures, tablets, salves and suppositories, at least to some extent. We are also moving away from the “folk medicine” of strain names, and starting to look at cannabinoid and terpenoid profiles. The question of “indica or sativa?” has started to become meaningless as we begin to understand more about the chemical makeup of cannabis. Many of those who are using cannabis for medical purposes aren’t even necessarily using it to get “high” or “stoned”, and may even take types and doses of cannabis that have little or no psychoactive effect. Many people have taken prescription medication, found that sometimes they were just as bad if not worse than what they’re using such medications to treat, and simply just want a “way out” of their pain without becoming “zombified” and unable to function properly.

So, are there any companies out there that are pushing cannabis and cannabinoid science to the fore? There are a few, although they can sometimes be quite far between. This is because there are many companies who are operating in states where only medical cannabis is legal, but are not necessarily focused on the medical side of it. This doesn’t mean they are all like that, though, and there are a few good examples.

From what I’ve seen (and please don’t take these as prescriptions or recommendations!), companies such as Aunt Zelda’s are doing a good job of matching patients to specific cannabinoid-terpenoid profiles. GW Pharmaceuticals are also one of the only companies who are – and have the ability to – creating cannabinoid-based medications based on clinical trials and placebo-controlled studies. Sadly, much of GW Pharma’s work utilizes synthetic cannabinoids, which may be a huge issue as they aren not necessarily anywhere near as safe as naturally-occurring plant cannabinoids are. Other companies, such as Care By Design and She Don’t Know also seem to be doing excellent work, but I cannot say for sure unless I’ve seen test results for safety and efficacy. (We’re working in it!)

So, where do I see cannabis and cannabis-based medicines going? I hope to see specific cannabinoid-terpenoid profiles for specific conditions, with specific dosages. I hope to see highly tailored cannabinoid-terpenoid medications, based upon personal preferences and what each individual’s ECS requires. I even see cannabis-infused oils becoming more of a commonplace ingredient in kitchens, used in place of pills and high amounts of alcohol. “Feeling depressed or have a nasty migraine today? Then use a little bit of cannabis oil in your cooking, and get rid of the need for pills.” I also hope to see more and more people grow their own cannabis, wherever possible. And who knows? Maybe one day most of the medications available at the pharmacist may be cannabis-based!

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