The inquiry upon the manner in which THC produces its psychoactive effects on the human body led, in the 1980’s, to the discovery of the endocannabinoid system – a rather loose complex of nerve receptors which under the influence of compounds called cannabinoids trigger many physiological and psychological reactions. Because cannabinoid receptors are present in almost every tissue of a mammal’s body (although they are not limited to mammals), it has wide-ranging influences on the well-being of an organism. Therefore cannabinoids are definitely substances that deserve further attention from scientists.
Cachexia is a disorder involving dangerous weight loss brought on by diseases as diverse as AIDS, cancer or Alzheimer’s. A 2011 German study involving more than 100 people proved that patients on the placebo lost about 80 percent more weight weekly than those administered a cannabinoid cocktail. This, along with the mood-elevating properties of cannabidiol implies future applications for the treatment of widespread eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa.
According to the National Cancer Institute, over 38 percent of people will be diagnosed with one type of cancer or another at some point in their lives. While standard treatments – like medication, chemotherapy, radiation and various surgeries – have come a long way, there may be natural options to further the effectiveness of these drugs, or to provide an entire set of other benefits. (10)