What are Cannabinoids (Cannabis and Its Variants)
Written by Fouzia Sultana
The term Cannabinoids refers to the overall category of cannabis and its variant drugs. Cannabinoids have been classified into a separate category of drugs on the basis of their effects. Cannabis drug is depressant, that means it slows down the messages travelling between the body and brain. When the user taken cannabis dose in large amount, hallucinogenic effects is produced. Active chemical of cannabis is THC which is often known as “delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol” which is the main chemical of cannabis. Cannabis drug is made by Indian Hemp plant “the Cannabis Sativa”. The Hemp plant has been cultivated in many parts of the world for centuries through tough fiber of the stem to for psycho-active properties. For some of its altering properties, the cultivation of cannabis is banned (Stephen, 2013).
Cannabis is known as cannabinoids for more than sixty centuries, it only occurs in naturally only in cannabis plant. In cannabis the main the chief psychoactive substance is delta-9 tetra-hydrocannabinol, and is referred as THC, and this THC is responsible for the effect cannabis drug produce. Some other names of cannabis are Marijuana, weed, Yandi, pot, , joint, stick, , cone, gunja, chronic , choof, dabs, dope, hash, dabbing, BHO (Peter & Sadock, 2011).
Some main categories of drugs:
|Hashish/Charas||Charas/hashish, the drug is made from cannabis. Hashish male and female both plants are exists. The female of hashish secretes sticky resin which is highly concentrated. When this secretion of cannabis plant is dried it is called Charas/Hashish. Its color is light brown to almost blackish. The content of THC in hashish is ranges from 5 to 15%. Hashish is consumed through smoking as a small piece in pipe, vaporizer or joint, via oral ingestion or in a bong. It sometimes baked with food products and then eaten.|
|Hashish Oil||It is also by known as cannabis oil and this is obtained by the extraction of cannabis. It is a dark viscous liquid. It is a concentrated form of the plant that contains many of its terpenes and resins. It is highly potent THC concentration and its ranges from 20% to 60%. Hashish oil is usually dripped on cigarettes and smoked.|
|Ganja/ Marijuana||Marijuana is prepared through dry leaves and flowering buds and leaves hemp of the plant. It is referred to as pot/stuff or as grass. The color of Marijuana grayish green to greenish brown. Ganja/Marijuana is smoked by mixed with tobacco through hand-rolled cigarettes or through pipes. The concentration of THC in marijuana is depending on the source of the plant material used.|
|Bhang||Bhang is obtained from dried parts of a plant including leaves and stems. It is a brown leafy material with dry twigs. It is usually used by boiling with water and used in tea, milk and drunk. In some countries bhang is traditionally distributed on holi a spring festival.|
Pharmacology of Cannabis:
The results of high lipid-solubility of cannabinoids is persisting in the body for a long periods of time. A single administration of THC, is detectable levels of THC which is found in the body for weeks or longer (it depends on the amount administered and on the sensitivity of assessment method). Investigators have suggested that this is an important factor in marijuana’s effects, because cannabinoids accumulate in the body, or particularly in the lipid membranes of the neurons. (Stephen, 2013)
Absorption of cannabis in body:
It is observed that when cannabis is smoked, less than 50% of THC is absorbed and enters in the circulation of blood. The effects of cannabis is feels within few minutes. When the effects reaches on its peak within 10 to 30 minutes and its actions ceases after 2 to 3 hours. When cannabis is taken through oral route its effects produce after 1 hour and reaches at peak after 4 to 5 hours, that’s why users prefer to smoke cannabis to take immediate effect that is in 3 minutes as compared to oral route of administration. (Louin, 2009).
Distribution of Cannabis in the body:
After absorbing THC immediate leaves the blood and enter into the body organs and also in the brain. THC is fat soluble and is not distributed throughout the body or in fat tissues. THC stays long period of time in reproductive organs, brain, fat tissues and in and no undergoes breakdown of fat tissues (Louin, 2009).
Excretion of Cannabis from the body:
THC immediately enters in the fat tissues from the blood and reaches to liver for metabolized. THC is water soluble compound so that it is secreted (Louin, 2009).
Cannabis effects on users:
- The main effects of these drugs are;
- It produces impairment to perform motor tasks
- It decrease muscle strength
- Causes mild form of euphoria followed by dreamy state of relaxation
- It effect sense of touch, taste and smell
- It lowers the inhibition or spontaneous laughter
- It increased visual and auditory activity
- It impaired the short-term memory, poor concentration, reduced attention span and also disturbed thought pattern
- Some users experience adverse reaction like anxiety, fear, and panic conditions
- Nausea, vomiting and dizziness may occurs.
It increased appetite, especially for sweets, due to decreased salivary flow dryness of mouth and throat caused.
It increased the heart beat (Tachycardia).
Increase in body temperature and blood pressure causes dilation of blood vessels.
Bronchodilation, irritation of mucosal membrane in respiratory system.
Some other effects:
- Tolerance and dependence:
To produce the same effect of drug the regular and frequent users increase the amount of drug for normal functioning of the body.
Physical dependence is only seen in high dose users and strong psychological dependence is developed in daily users. It causes continuously craving of drug and if the frug is not taken it produced panic symptoms and feeling of anxiety (Leblane, 2009)
- Withdrawal Symptoms of cannabis:
When body resist to normal functioning it produce withdrawal symptoms. It include both physical and psychological symptoms. These symptoms are extreme painful and not finished with any pain killer. It includes restlessness, irritability, anxiety, sweating, an upset stomach, loss of appetite, nervousness, major mood issues and sleep disturbance, sometimes chill, body temperature and tremors develop. Blood pressure also increased. These symptoms lead to its peak in 48 to 72 hours. Psychological dependence of this category is more than physical independence (Leblane, 2009).
According to physician’s and therapist’s there is specific medical treatment for cannabis abuse. If the patient uses it for alleviation of depression and reduce anxiety, an anti-depressant and anti-anxiety agent is recommended as a substitution therapy. Diazepam drug is suggested in acute anxiety (Stephen, 2013).
Psychosis: A typical psychotic episode is observed by delusion, hallucination, confusion, disorientation and paranoid symptoms may observed.
Amotivational syndrome: The user may become so apathetic and not respond when his name called out and he loses interest in his family and everyday activity.
Sterility: Regular use decreases sperm motility and cause reduce sperm count but there is no proper evident is indicated.
Its regular and long-term use produce irritant effect and caused asthma, bronchitis, chronic redness of eyes, sinusitis (inflammation of one of the paranasal sinuses). Psychological dependence is particular high in users with emotional problems. The users feel relief from psychological effects after taken dose of cannabis. The user inappropriately depend on cannabis instead of learning how to coping with stress and stressful conditions (Peter & Sadock, 2011).
Leblane, E. (2009). Drugs and Drug Abuse. United States: Suzzana Kincaid.
Louin, W. S. (2009). Drug Addiction. Singapore: Carly Bergey.
Peter, D. C., & Sadock, K. M. (2011). Drugs and their effects. England: Santlago Sooul.
Stephen, J. (2013). Drug Addiction. New york: Linda Schreiber-Ganster.