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Medical Cannabis: The Science

As you read the scientific literature regarding the therapeutic effects of cannabis and cannabinoids, one thing will become quickly evident: cannabis has a profound influence on the human body. This one herb and its variety of therapeutic compounds seem to affect every aspect of our bodies and minds.


The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors located in the mammalian brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems, consisting of neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors. Known as "the body’s own cannabinoid system", the ECS is involved in a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory, and in mediating the psychoactive effects of cannabis.


Two primary endocannabinoid receptors have been identified: CB1, first cloned in 1990; and CB2, cloned in 1993. CB1 receptors are found predominantly in the brain and nervous system, as well as in peripheral organs and tissues, and are the main molecular target of the endocannabinoid ligand (binding molecule), Anandamide, as well as its mimetic phytocannabinoid, THC. One other main endocannabinoid is 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) which is active at both cannabinoid receptors, along with its own mimetic phytocannabinoid, CBD. 2-AG and CBD are involved in the regulation of appetite, immune system functions and pain management. There are however over 480 currently known chemical compounds in the Cannabis plant, 66 of those compounds have been classified as "cannabinoids". Those are chemicals unique to this plant, including Delta 9 tetrahydrocannabidol and cannabinoids. There are however, many more, including: cannabigerols (CBG), cannabichromenes (CBC), other cannabidols (CBD), other tetrahydrocannabidol (THC), cannabinol (CBN), and cannabiondial (CBDL), other cannabinoids such as cannabicyclol (CBL), cannabellsoin (CBE), cannabitriol (CBT), and other miscellaneous types. Other constituents of the cannabis plant are nitrogenous compounds (27 known), amino acids (18), proteins (3), glycoproteins (6), enzymes (2), sugars and related compounds (34), hydrocarbons (50), simple alcohols (7), aldehydes (13), ketones 13, simple acids (21), fatty acids (22), simple esters(12), lactones (1), steroids (1), terpenes (120), non cannabinoid phenols (25), flavonoids (21), vitamins (1), pigments (2), and other elements (9).


All of the compounds of the cannabis plant exert some therapeutic effect, more than any single compound alone. These compounds work better together than alone; that is the entourage effect. The endogenous cannabinoid system, named after the plant that led to its discovery, is perhaps the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining human health. Endocannabinoids and their receptors are found throughout the body: in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. In each tissue, the cannabinoid system performs different tasks, but the goal is always the same: homeostasis, the maintenance of a stable internal environment despite fluctuations in the external environment. Cannabinoids promote homeostasis at every level of biological life, from the sub-cellular, to the organism, and perhaps to the community and beyond. Here's one example: autophagy, a process in which a cell sequesters part of its contents to be self-digested and recycled, is mediated by the cannabinoid system. While this process keeps normal cells alive, allowing them to maintain a balance between the synthesis, degradation, and subsequent recycling of cellular products, it has a deadly effect on malignant tumor cells, causing them to consume themselves in a programmed cellular suicide. The death of cancer cells, of course, promotes homeostasis and survival at the level of the entire organism.


Endocannabinoids and cannabinoids are also found at the intersection of the body's various systems, allowing communication and coordination between different cell types. At the site of an injury, for example, cannabinoids can be found decreasing the release of activators and sensitizers from the injured tissue, stabilizing the nerve cell to prevent excessive firing, and calming nearby immune cells to prevent release of pro-inflammatory substances. Three different mechanisms of action on three different cell types for a single purpose: minimize the pain and damage caused by the injury. The endocannabinoid system, with its complex actions in our immune system, nervous system, and all of the body's organs, is literally a bridge between body and mind. By understanding this system we begin to see a mechanism that explains how states of consciousness can promote health or disease. In addition to regulating our internal and cellular homeostasis, cannabinoids influence a person's relationship with the external environment. Socially, the administration of cannabinoids clearly alters human behavior, often promoting sharing, humor, and creativity. By mediating neurogenesis, neuronal plasticity, and learning, cannabinoids may directly influence a person's open-mindedness and ability to move beyond limiting patterns of thought and behavior from past situations. Reformatting these old patterns is an essential part of health in our quickly changing environment.


Medical Cannabis Education For Medical Providers


TMCI provides online medical education for healthcare professionals who want to learn about medical cannabis and its potential clinical application. Our science-based, accredited courses help professionals deliver quality care and address patient questions. TMCI works with organizations that are recognized as pillars of medical cannabis learning and brings their valuable medical expertise to the healthcare community via an ever-growing online course catalog.

Through TMCI’s online course offerings, healthcare professionals will learn about everything from the basics of the endocannabinoid system and the importance of patient education to specific medical cannabis treatments for pain, cancer and other diseases.


The legalization of medical cannabis is advancing worldwide. Since the science of medical cannabis is generally not part of today’s medical training, healthcare professionals must close an education gap on the science behind medical cannabis and clinical care.

To meet growing demand for sound, fair, balanced and relevant medical cannabis education, TMCI has created an eLearning website with courses to help educate a growing global community of healthcare professionals, caregivers and patients who want to learn about the science and clinical data behind medical cannabis. Courses are approved for CME/CNE credit.

Are You A Medical Professional Who Supports the Medical Option of Cannabis?

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Research Resources

Medical Cannabis Research

The Science of Medical Cannabis

Cannabis has immense medical value; we have collected research on cannabinoids and the therapeutic use of cannabis.

Site includes

Database of Clinical Research and Case Reports


A database of clinical research and case reports from the last 40 years, maintained by the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicine (IACM).




This resource is an excyclopedia of scientific and medical articles on specific medical ailments and the ways in which cannabis has an effect on human systems and symptoms.

Granny Storm Crow's List

This is resource is a of scientific and medical articles on specific medical ailments.

Current Law in United States
A History of Healing and the Legacy of Prohibition

“States are not required to enforce federal law or prosecute people for engaging in activities prohibited by federal law. Therefore, compliance with the  Kansas Safe Access Act  does not put the state of Kansas in violation of federal law.”

 "In recent years, Congress provided very clear guidance about how it views the relationship between the CSA and state medical marijuana laws in the bipartisan Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment to the federal budget (Sec. 542 on page 223). First approved in 2014, this amendment prohibits the Department of Justice from using money to interfere with the administration of medical marijuana programs in Arizona and 41 other states, territories, and D.C. Simply put, the passage of the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment clearly demonstrates that Congress respects states’ medical marijuana laws, and it does not want the federal government to obstruct or impede them." ACLU March 7th, 2016

Attorney General Announces Formal Medical Marijuana Guidelines

Attorney General Eric Holder today announced formal guidelines for federal prosecutors in states that have enacted laws authorizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The guidelines make clear that the focus of federal resources should not be on individuals whose actions are in compliance with existing state laws, while underscoring that the Department will continue to prosecute people whose claims of compliance with state and local law conceal operations inconsistent with the terms, conditions, or purposes of those laws.

The United States Government as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services currently holds patent number 6630507, it is titled Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotecterants. It is only ONE of the many patents held by our government on cannabis.


Here is a link to that patent;

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