• How Cannabis Works in the Body

    Cannabinoids are the main active ingredients in cannabis and more than 100 have been identified. They can be produced by the human body, found in plants, or manufactured in a laboratory for use in some prescription medications. Here, we will focus on cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, called phytocannabinoids.

    Phytocannabinoids are concentrated in sticky crystals on the flowers of the female cannabis plant, called trichomes. These trichomes are separated from the plant material when making extracts, including cannabis oil.

    THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are the two most-researched and well-understood cannabinoids. Cannabis varieties (also known as strains) differ in their THC and CBD levels and in the ratio of THC to CBD. Therapeutic benefits will vary depending on a patient’s biology and the variety selected.



    The limited research shows that THC may be helpful for things such as pain relief, relief from nausea, reduction of spasticity, and improving appetite. THC is also responsible for the euphoric or the psychotropic effects of cannabis. 



    The limited research into the CBD suggests that it may be helpful for reducing inflammation, seizures, and anxiety and improving sleep. It does not cause the intoxicating, euphoric effects that can be caused by THC and may in fact, reduce some of the potential side effects of THC, such as nervousness. 

    Cannabis isn’t a one-size-fits all therapy, so finding an appropriate variety is often a matter of informed trial and error. Many patients benefit from using more than one product as for example, when they are medicating during the day versus the evening, or for different symptoms. 

    Activation of Cannabinoids

    To be effective, cannabinoids need to be heat-activated in a process called decarboxylation. This occurs during smoking or vaporizing when the plant matter is heated to at least 120C. Cannabis oil and softgels from licensed producers contain cannabis oil that has been decarboxylated. 

    Indica and Sativa 

    The terms “indica” and “sativa are botanical terms that describe the shape of the different cannabis plants. They are often used to characterize the range of possible effects from a variety of cannabis.  

    Some people use “indica” to describe a variety whose effects are more sedating or physical in nature. Some people use “sativa” to describe a variety whose effects are more cerebral or energizing. 


Enhancing lifelong health

The Canadian Digestive Health Foundation believes our ability to help establish, enrich and protect a healthy gut microbiota is the key to lifelong health