The Science Behind The $13 Billion Medical Cannabis Industry

There’s nothing quite like cannabis in the plant kingdom. Beneath its humble surface, over 750 unique compounds exist within – all of which have helped propel the cannabis industry into the multi-billion dollar market it is today.

Today’s infographic from The Green Organic Dutchman takes a deep dive into the cannabis components which contribute to its therapeutic potential, how it interacts with the human body, and the ways it can be consumed.

The Chemical Effects of Cannabis

While many people would be familiar with THC and CBD as the two major cannabinoids, there are a few lesser-known cannabinoids which also play important roles: Cannabichromene (CBC), Cannabigerol (CBG), Cannabinol (CBN), Tetrahydrocannbivarin (THCv), and Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa).

In different combinations, they work together with terpenes – aromatic oils that are present in most plants – to provide relief for a variety of ailments.

Category Cannabinoid Ailment
Pain/ Sleep CBD, THC Cramps, Migraine
CBC, CBD, CBN, THC Insomnia
CBC, CBD, CBN, THC, THCv Pain
CBC, CBD, CBDa, CBG, CBN, THC, THCa Arthritis, Inflammation
Gastro-Intestinal THC Appetite loss
CBD, THC Nausea
CBD, THCv Diabetes
CBD, THC, THCa Crohn’s disease
Mood/ Behavior CBD, CBG Anxiety
CBD, THC ADD/ADHD, Stress
CBD, CBG, THC Bipolar disorder, OCD, PTSD
CBC, CBD, CBG, CBN, THC Depression
Neurological CBC, CBD, CBG, CBN, THC, THCa Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
CBC, CBD, CBG, THC, THCa Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s
CBD, CBN, THC, THCa Multiple Sclerosis
CBD, CBN, THCa, THCv Epilepsy, Seizures
Other CBC, CBD, CBDa, CBG, THC, THCa Cancer
THC Fatigue

When cannabinoids and terpenes interact, the human endocannabinoid system is already equipped to deal with the entourage effects that are created.

Modern-Day Medical Cannabis

It’s clear that many cultures embraced cannabis long before scientific research came into play. Its therapeutic properties were widely recorded and extolled around the world.

After decades of restricted access and stigma, the tide is turning back towards what our ancestors discovered long ago. Millions of patients rely on medical cannabis today, with Canada and Israel paving the way in cannabis research.

  • Canada
    Medical cannabis has been legal nationwide since 2001, aiding scientists in studying its effects.
    Funding: CAD$1.4 million (US$1.05 million) invested by the government towards research projects.
  • Israel
    Since the 1990s, medical cannabis has been legal for patients of cancer, chronic pain, and PTSD.
    Funding: 8 million shekels (US$2.16 million) annual government funding to support innovation.

Back in the day, typically only dried cannabis flower was used. However, consumption methods have evolved into three broad categories today: ingestion, inhalation, and application.

  • Ingesting
    The dosage of cannabis consumed is easy to control using edibles or beverages, tinctures or sprays, and capsules.
  • Inhalation
    The effects of cannabis are quickly felt through smoking, vaporizing, and/or dabbing concentrates.
  • Application
    Transdermal patches and topicals like balms offer localized relief through a controlled dose.

Each of these methods have their own pros and cons, but in the end, they all offer the medical cannabis patient with a wide variety to choose from. Some of these forms, such as topicals and edibles, even lend themselves to the rapidly growing consumer cannabis segment.