If you’re suffering from inflammation of the gut, it’s not the THC you want, it’s the CBD.

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The scientific literature now brims with potential uses for cannabis that extend beyond its well-known abilities to fend off nausea and block pain in people with cancer and AIDS. Cannabis derivatives may combat multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory conditions, the new research finds. Cannabis may even kill cancerous tumors.
Within two decades, other researchers had developed synthetic THC to use in pill form.
The secrets of how THC worked in the body lay hidden until the late 1980s, when researchers working with rats found that the compound binds to a protein that pops up on the surface of nerve cells. Further tests showed that THC also hooks up with another protein found elsewhere in the body. These receptor proteins were dubbed CB1 and CB2.
A bigger revelation came in 1992: Mammals make their own compound that binds to, and switches on, the CB1 receptor. Scientists named the compound anandamide. Researchers soon found its counterpart that binds mainly to the CB2 receptor, calling that one 2AG, for 2-arachidonyl glycerol. The body routinely makes these compounds, called endocannabinoids, and sends them into action as needed.
“THC just mimics the effects of these compounds in our bodies,” Mechoulam says. Although the receptors are abundant, anandamide and 2AG are short-acting compounds, so their effects are fleeting.
From a biological standpoint, smoking pot to get high is like starting up a semitruck just to listen to the radio. There’s a lot more going on.
More than a dozen medical trials in the past decade have shown that treatments containing THC (and some that combine THC with another derivative called cannabidiol, or CBD)
Fighting inflammation
CBD, the same cannabis component that proved beneficial alongside THC for MS, may also work on other hard-to-treat diseases. Tests on cell cultures and lab animals have revealed that CBD fights inflammation and mitigates the psychoactive effects of THC.

Crohn’s disease, which can lead to chronic pain, diarrhea and ulcerations, could be a fitting target for CBD. In Crohn’s disease, inflammatory proteins damage the intestinal lining, causing leaks that allow bacteria in the gut to spread where they shouldn’t. This spread leads to a vicious cycle that can trigger more inflammation.

Karen Wright, a pharmacologist at Lancaster University in England, and her colleagues have found that CBD inhibits this inflammation and can reverse the microscopic intestinal leakiness in lab tests of human cells.
The results bolster earlier findings by Wright’s team showing that cannabinoids could improve wound healing in intestinal cells.

CBD’s anti-inflammatory effect may work, at least in some cases, through its antioxidant properties — the ability to soak up highly reactive molecules called free radicals, which cause cell damage.

“CBD has essentially been bred out of North American black market drug strains,” Russo says. People growing cannabis for its recreational qualities have preferred plants high in THC, so people lighting up for medical purposes, whether to boost appetite in AIDS patients or alleviate cancer pain, may be missing a valuable cannabis component.Read more at www.sciencenews.org