Amid the euphoria of legislation changes allowing adults to use marijuana in private, it is worthwhile to note the key health benefits of the plant commonly known as dagga.
If it is a medical remedy you are considering, the first step is a discussion with your doctor to establish if a marijuana-derived remedy is for you.
Also, there are different varieties of marijuana and you must ensure you are using the correct one for your ailments as incorrect medicine can do more harm than good.
A recent report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine said there was evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids, which are found in the marijuana plant, could be an effective treatment for chronic pain.
This is by far the most common reason people request medical marijuana, the report reads.
Wendy Ford (not her real name), 31, agrees. After breaking her spinal cord, she had no choice but to use cannabis oil to alleviate the pain, she said.
“For about four hours after taking it, I would be able to function normally,” said Ford. After using it for three months she felt she was ready to deal with the pain without help.
Dr Asafika Mbangata who works at the Community-Oriented Substance Use Program, said cannabis preparations were obtained from the hemp plant cannabis sativa.
“Cannabis sativa contains more than 400 chemicals, of which about 60 are psychoactive cannabinoids, one of a class of diverse chemical compounds that acts on cannabinoid receptors in cells that alter neurotransmitter release in the brain,” said Mbangata.
She said there were two types of dagga, 9-THC or 9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which is dagga that gives you a high. Its effects kick in within minutes after smoking or consumption and may last from five to 24 hours.
CBD, also known as cannabidiol dagga, that impacts the central nervous system without the high, is used for medicinal purposes.
Relief of chronic neuropathic pain, such as from multiple sclerosis, HIV-associated sensory neuropathy, cancer, chronic alcohol use and rheumatoid arthritis, is among the research- proven benefits of marijuana.
Mbangata said cannabis could also be used as an appetite stimulant.