Cannabis has been used for spiritual purposes for thousands of years all over the the world. It has had parts in celebration, healing, spiritual communication, sexual practice, and philosophy. The majority of these ancient uses of cannabis are still in use today, and the drug’s popularity is only rising.
Significant changes have occurred in the global policy environment surrounding cannabis legalization, production, and use. With the extensive availability of novel cannabis and cannabis-based products, there is a dire need to understand their safety and efficacy for medical indications.
Scientists and medical researchers have been exploring the health benefits and risks of cannabis for a long time. Researchers have been extracting cannabinoids—chemical compounds found in cannabis—and making strains of varying strength to see if they can alleviate chronic pain and treat or alleviate the effects of ailments such as seizures and other neurological disorders.
There are three primary factors that make it hard to initiate research that would answer the most important public health questions: the legal status of cannabis and cannabinoids, sources for cannabis and cannabinoids used in studies, and a lack of funding and resources to support studies. Despite these obstacles, research continues to grow rapidly and recent changes in the United States have opened the way for exciting new work. Despite this shifting landscape, information regarding the short- and long-term health effects of cannabis use is still inconclusive.
As cannabis legalization and access expand, it becomes increasingly important for people to have an understanding of it. Part of this information is learning how cannabis affects different groups of people in their own capacities.