Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences




As of November 4th, 2020, thirty-six states and four territories (District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands) have approved a measure that regulates cannabis for medicinal use (Markle & Nativio, 2019). In particular, Pennsylvania law allows residents with twenty-three different medical conditions to apply for an ID card that will enable them to purchase medical marijuana from dispensaries. Some of the medical conditions included are anxiety disorders, autism, epilepsy, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As more states approve marijuana for medicinal use, researchers continue to investigate the interaction between medicinal cannabis and the endocannabinoid system.

The cannabis plant consists of about 100 molecules called phytocannabinoids, with the two most studied as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is responsible for the intoxicating effects of cannabis due to its action on CB1 cannabinoid receptors (Arnold, 2020). Clinical trial results have shown that THC is efficacious in chronic pain and spasticity in multiple sclerosis, among other symptoms. Other research studies have shown CBD to be effective in treating epilepsy and anxiety. However, CBD has a wide range of pharmacological actions without any euphoric effects. Although CBD and THC produce different results, both molecules enter the brain through the endocannabinoid system. This system is essential for modulating many organ systems, including the central and peripheral nervous systems. Within this system, there are two receptors that THC and CBD can bind to, cannabinoid 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2) receptors (Arnold, 2020). Through this interaction, researchers have conducted clinical trials where altered doses of cannabis showed a reduction in pain intensity for patients with neuropathic pain.

Previous clinical findings, case studies, and focus group research have shown that consistent use of CBD in the endocannabinoid system effectively reduces seizures in epileptic patients and reduces nightmares and irritability of PTSD patients (Krediet et al., 2020). As research continues to look into the endocannabinoid systems’, painstaking efforts are underway to analyze the proper THC and CBD ratio in medicinal cannabis patients. This paper investigates the effects of medicinal cannabis on patients with anxiety, PTSD, and epilepsy.

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