By Gamuchirai Mugadzaweta
THE legalisation of marijuana for medicinal purposes this year was welcome news for Zimbabwe albeit short-lived since the intended legislation was put on hold.
Before this, marijuana was mostly abused for ‘recreational’ purposes. There is nothing recreational when one takes the substance to get high.
Way back in history, traditional healers used cannabis for treatment of asthma, epilepsy, lung infections and many other ailments.
For patients with breathing challenges, cannabis was burnt, with the recipient covered under a blanket inhaling the smoke over a hot water bucket. The smoke is also believed to chase away evil spirits.
Besides being smoked, there are many benefits from hemp oil extracted from cannabis apart from the leaf that many people are familiar with.
One can’t get high on hemp nor its cannabidiol (CBD) hemp oil and CBD products as the tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC) meant to get a smoker high is extracted from marijuana meant for medicinal purposes.
CBD has the same chemical formula as THC, but the atoms are arranged differently. This slight variance causes THC to create a psychoactive effect while CBD lacks such an influence.
THC is classified as an illegal drug with considerable immediate and long-term cognitive side effects, including impaired thinking and reasoning, reduced ability to plan and organise, altered decision-making and reduced control over impulses.
In addition, chronic use of THC is associated with significant abnormalities in the heart and brain. Various ailments are treated by hemp oil than raw cannabis as it works on fewer ailments than oil.
According to CBD oil review.org: “Hemp seed oil is a great source of high-quality nutrients and has a long history of use in Eastern culture as a multi-purpose natural remedy. Despite its widespread popularity, prejudice related to its association with cannabis has kept it from common use, while the oil contains virtually no THC.”
Hemp seed oil is often used as a moisturiser for the skin and for good reason. Studies have indicated that hemp seed oil can dramatically decrease skin dryness to alleviate itching and irritation. Moreover, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties slow the aging process while soothing the skin.
Hemp oil contains some of the same terpenes as dried cannabis bud. Terpenes are the aroma molecules found in plants. Beta-caryophyllene (pepper) and myrcene (musk) are found in hemp oil.
According to recent research, beta-caryophyllene acts as a cannabinoid in the body. It engages some of the same cell sites as smoked cannabis. In particular, the terpene interacts with cell receptors that regulate the immune system.
Myrcene has been found to have antidepressant and anti-inflammatory effects. It also acts as an antioxidant and helps molecules move across cell membranes. The combination of essential fatty acids, vitamins, antioxidants and healing terpenes make hemp oil one powerful super food.
Hemp seed oil contains essential fatty acids, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), that are required for brain development. DHA is crucial to the health of the brain as well as the retina of the eye, particularly in the first year of life.
Mothers who supplement with hempseed oil during pregnancy may provide brain and eye protective benefits for the developing baby.
Hemp seed oil has a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, a balance that has been shown to support heart health and promote proper cardiovascular function.
These nutrients play a role in many biological processes and may help prevent a number of degenerative diseases.
Hemp is a rich source of gamma-linolic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid that helps the body balance hormones.
For women, supplementing with GLA can help ease premenstrual syndrome and may also reduce cramping as well as pain during menstruation.
Fortunately, hemp seed oil works as a terrific alternative to traditional omega-3 fatty acid supplements.
The essential fatty acids in hemp seed oil have been shown to promote healthy flora in the intestines and support immune system response and function.
It can be very helpful during the cold and flu season when viruses are running riot in schools, at workplaces and in everyday social interactions.
Most people don’t understand that cannabis is both non-psychotropic hemp and psychotropic marijuana. The two plants are actually cousins; Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are two types of cannabinoids found naturally in the resin of the marijuana plant, cannabis sativa.
Both of these substances interact with the cannabinoid receptors found in the human body, but the types of effects brought about by these compounds couldn’t be more different. For this reason, CBD is more often used for medical treatment than THC.
Locally, some youths are known to abuse marijuana with negative effects. There have been noted cases of abusers losing their faculties. Death has also been recorded though no statistics are available.