Deakin Communicating Science 2016

EES 200/101

Is the Grass Greener On the Other Side?

“BE WARNED!! MARIJUANA IS NOW HERE AND IT IS KILLING THOUSANDS!”

weed in needle

(http://empirenews.net/colorado-teens-injecting-marijuana-to-get-high/)

Upon reading that sentence above, I’m sure you quickly grasped the stupidity of it.

The oldest known written record of cannabis use was from the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung in 2727 B.C. (Medical Marijuana Australia Organisation, 2013). That is almost a whopping 5000 years ago. The Chinese physicians were using cannabis infused teas to treat a range of medical conditions including Gout and Malaria (Medical Cannabis Australia, 2016).  Cannabis took many years to spread though Europe and eventually became a commonly used prescription in the physician’s tool box. By 1850 it had cemented itself into the United States Pharmacopoeia. The United States Pharmacopoeia are the authority that sets the safety standards of all prescription and over-the-counter medicines. They listed cannabis as an effective solution to many health issues in 1850 and still believe that its properties, partnered with proper legislation and control, can benefit millions of people.

STONER. POT-HEAD. SNOOP DOGG. snoop

(http://www.thehighercontent.com/ganja-fame/snoop-dogg-says-companies-should-endorse-weed1232015)

In Australia, when “Marijuana” or “Cannabis” is mentioned these are the words that typically come to mind for a great deal of people. This negative connotation surrounding the term “Marijuana” increases the difficulty of demonstrating to the public the positive medical aspects of it as many people are clouded by biased and incorrect claims.

What many people fail to realize is that there are two main parts of the Cannabis plant; Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). These two ingredients or Cannabinoids perform very different functions in the Human body:

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

  • THC is the psychoactive ingredient in Cannabis. This means that THC is the part of Cannabis that cause you to see pretty unicorns and feel like you’re flying.
  • It is also known to cause people to have anxiety attacks and to feel paranoid.
  • It also has side effects including severe drowsiness.
  • There is also clear legislation regarding Marijuana and THC.

 

Cannabidiol (CBD)

  • The other, less known ingredient in Marijuana.
  • It does not give the user a high, in fact its use is solely health based.
  • Cannabidiol has also shown properties that reduce anxiety (The British Journal of Psychiatry, 2010)
  • Cannabidiol is the ingredient that has been shown to have many health benefits.

 

Chemical structure

Chemical makeup of THC and CBD

 

THC and CBD are very different ingredients in Cannabis. Although the two have a very similar chemical makeup there biological effects are vastly different. With all of these effects in mind it is actually the CBD used in medicinal marijuana injections or oils, not THC.

All Cannabis plants contain both THC and CBD, however, all plants do not contain the same levels of the two Cannabinoids.

graph of thc and cbd

The two main types of Cannabis are the Sativa plants and the Indica Plants. These two plants contains very different levels of THC and CBD thus giving the two plants different biological effects. The Sativa plants has very high levels of THC making it highly psychoactive and also a depressant. This is very different to the Indica plant where it contains rather low levels of THC and high levels of CBD. This means that scientists and researchers are able to extract more CBD oil from the Indica plant. This also means that the oil extracted from the Indica plant has very little psychological effects but rather positive health effects.

indica vs sativa.png

(http://listtribe.com/types-of-marijuana-and-effects/)

Read Dan’s Story: http://www.dansstory.com.au/#story

Upon reading Dan’s story the one thing that stood out to me was when he said “I’m not a druggie.” This negative stigma is so cemented into Australia that even someone going through unbearable pain and suffering a horrific disease is scared to be labeled a “druggie” even if it helps him.

Until the negative stigma that blankets Cannabis in Australia is lifted the true health benefits of Cannabis and in particular CBD will never be seen.

Keep an eye-out for my next blog post “Please Keep Off The Grass! ….Or Not”

References 

HISTORY OF MARIJUANA.

http://empirenews.net/colorado-teens-injecting-marijuana-to-get-high/

http://www.thehighercontent.com/ganja-fame/snoop-dogg-says-companies-should-endorse-weed1232015

http://www.medicanaustralia.com.au/the-origins-of-cannabis

http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/197/4/285.long

http://www.truthonpot.com/2014/09/24/5-differences-between-cbd-vs-thc/

Different Types of Marijuana and Effects on Body

 

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One comment on “Is the Grass Greener On the Other Side?

  1. SamJ
    May 8, 2016

    An interesting history of early cannabis use, I was unaware that it was in China that this drug was first recorded to be used. I must admit you lack of references has me slightly skeptical as to the validity of the information you have provided here in your post.

    I believe that marijuana should be legalized, if only for medical purposes. I myself am not a user of this drug however I feel as though its impact is not so severe. Alcohol related deaths are vastly numerous in comparison to the zero death toll marijuana currently holds (from direct consumption). Therefore the danger alcohol poses seems, at least in my eyes, to be greater than that of marijuana. Legalization will also open new windows for further research into medicinal uses of the drug.

    You are right about the negative connotations it currently holds in society. If legalization was to happen here in Australia these views, whether correct or not, would need to be changed. I foresee a future where this drug does become legal in our country not unlike some select states of the USA. In fact cannabis is currently being grown in Tasmania for use in clinical trials. you can check out an article about it here: http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2015/12/tasmania-will-grow-marijuana-for-nsw-medical-trials/

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on April 22, 2016 by in Geelong - Friday 3pm.

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