Canadian CANNAINVESTOR Magazine July / August 2017 - Page 211

As a fourth-year student at the University of Western Ontario, mental health and health sciences has become a deep-rooted interest of mine; specifically relating to language and the brain. It has become the lens through which I understand current research and why humans act the way we do. What is interesting about education, specifically relevant to the health sciences, is that we love learning hard facts. We have a hunger to learn what has already been studied, tested, and integrated into science. We seem to do better with this type of knowledge, opposed to learning tentative facts and persisting research. Thus, the majority of students might be more interested in studying medication which is known to work and has been used extensively in the past, opposed to medication under current research such as medicinal cannabis. Although courses on current/ongoing medical research may be available, they tend to be extremely specialized and are not as open to students outside of specific programs.

In psychology, however, most of what we learn is tentative because the mind is harder to study. Instead of directly studying the mind we have to create our own constructs which are believed to resemble the area of interest as closely as possible. It may be due to my background in psychology which strikes my interest in current, tentative, research and my background in health sciences that fuels my interest in questions pertaining to medicinal marijuana. To my experience, the use of cannabis is still under investigation and not frequently discussed in depth in many of the health science courses. This lead to my desire to research externally on the topic of cannabinoids, in hopes to gain knowledge on its uses and complications. With literature reviews, I will try to determine the use of cannabis to speech therapy, which lies outside the realms of most research.

Cannabinoids are any group of plant-derived or synthetically produced compounds which mimic the metabolic pathways of cannabis (Iversen, 2003). Due to continuous findings on the variety of its uses in the medical field, cannabinoids remain a hot topic in current research. However, because cannabis remains illegal in Canada, limited funding for this research results. One of the most popular medicinal cannabinoids are cannabidiols (CBD) which possess many anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, and anti-psychotic properties. Unlike the cannabinoid THC, CBD does not result in psycho-activity producing a psychedelic euphoria (Kalant & Porath-Waller, 2012). In fact, THC has consistently demonstrated to be counterproductive to many treatments, including epilepsy (Rosenberg et al., 2015). The major areas of aid provided by the use cannabinoids include pain, nervous system relief, and mental health.