The effects in health and diseaseNumerous studies have examined the effects of cannabis in health and disease states. Many focused on healthy subjects and how cannabis influences different psychological and physiological processes. However, a lot more have looked at the ways in which cannabis affects various medical conditions. This chapter provides overviews of scientific studies that tell us about cannabis compounds and their relation to effects in healthy people and patients, ranging from creativity and sexual arousal on one hand, to different kinds of pain on the other. A note from our science team to everyone who wants extra education on this topic: When reviewing scientific work, it is very important to distinguish between healthy volunteers and patients. Dosing a patient with medication might save their life, whereas it could kill a healthy person. This might sound extreme, but in fact, this very example regards to precise dosing of a compound from the foxglove plant (Figure 1), which is considered the start of modern pharmacotherapy. The reason for the different results between healthy people and patients is that their bodies work in a different way, and therefore require different treatments. In the case of various diseases that we will describe in the following sections, the endocannabinoid system is dysregulated, often as a result of the disease. Figure 1: Digitalis is a genus of about 20 species of herbaceous perennials, shrubs, and biennials commonly called foxgloves. A group of medicines extracted from foxglove plants are called digitalin and are used to increase cardiac contractility (it is a positive inotrope) and as an antiarrhythmic agent to control the heart rate, particularly in the irregular (and often fast) atrial fibrillation. Digitalis toxicity (also known as digitalis intoxication and digitalism) results from an overdose of digitalis and causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, as well as sometimes resulting in xanthopsia (jaundiced or yellow vision) and the appearance of blurred outlines (halos), drooling, abnormal heart rate, cardiac arrhythmias, weakness, collapse, dilated pupils, tremors, seizures, and even death.
Image taken from free stock photo website. Caption taken from Wikipedia.