There are very fine intricacies to the field of medical marihuana. We’ve taken an opportunity to provide you information regarding words and phrases you may or may not have heard, in an effort to help our customers better understand.
What is Medical Cannabis?
Cannabis (also called Marijuana and Hemp) is a plant which has been cultivated by human civilizations for over 12,000 years. Cannabis has many uses including but not limited to food, medicine, cloth, rope, paper, soap, and oil.
Medical Cannabis is what we call varieties of the plant that have been found therapeutically helpful for treating a condition or symptom. There is so much variety within this plant family that the effects of cannabis differ greatly depending on what strain you are using.
Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica which are commonly cross-bred to create a variety of hybrid strains with unique characteristics that serve many different patient needs.
INDICA VS SATIVA
- Night-Time Use
- Body High
- Deep Relaxation
- Sleep Aid
- Pain & Nausea Relief
- Stress & Anxiety Relief
- Day-Time Use
- Cerebral High
- Stimulate Appetite
- Fights Depression
There are over 400 natural compounds found in the medical marijuana, 80 of which can only be found in Cannabis plants. Every medical cannabis patient should get know and love the word cannabinoid.
Cannabinoids (e.g., THC and CBD) are the chemical compounds secreted by cannabis flowers that provide relief to an array of symptoms including pain, nausea, anxiety, and inflammation. They work by imitating compounds our bodies naturally produce, called endocannabinoids, which activate to maintain internal stability and health. To put a complex system simply, they mediate communication between cells, and when there is a deficiency or problem with our endocannabinoid system, unpleasant symptoms and physical complications occur.
The Human Endocannabinoid System
CBD, CBN and THC fit like a lock and key into existing human receptors. These receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system which impacts physiological processes affecting pain modulation, memory, appetite plus anti-inflammatory effects and other immune system responses.
The endocannabinoid system comprises two types of receptors, CB1 and CB2, which serve distinct functions in human health and well-being.
Receptors Are Found on Cell Surfaces
CB1 receptors are primarily found in the brain and central nervous system, and to a lesser extent, in other tissues.
CB2 receptors are mostly in the peripheral organs, especially cells associated with the immune system.
CBD does not directly “fit” CB1 or CB2 receptors but has powerful indirect effects still being studied.
Why Use Medical Cannabis?
Medical cannabis is not known to be highly addictive and does not have many of the serious health risks frequently associated with long-term use of pharmaceuticals. In addition, the great variety of strains allows you to customize your medicine to your particular body chemistry and symptoms. With conventional medications, you might have three or four options for a given set of symptoms. If none of these work, you are out of luck. But with cannabis, there are hundreds of strains you might try for any condition!
Is Medical Cannabis Safe?
Yes. The medical research continually supports the safety of Medical Cannabis. As with any medication, there are some negative side effects that cannabis patients might encounter. However, cannabis has such low toxicity that it is impossible to die from an overdose, unlike with many conventional medications. Common negative side effects reported are anxiety, dizziness, dry eyes, dry mouth, headache, and paranoia. Smoking can cause irritation of the mouth, eyes, throat, nose, and lungs, as well as allergies. While research does not support the claim that cannabis causes lung cancer, it is unclear whether the heat from smoking can cause damage to your throat and lungs.
Can I Use Cannabis Without Smoking It?
Absolutely. For many patients, smoking is not an option. Most hospitals prohibit smoking, as do many other medical facilities and live-in care facilities. Some can’t or don’t want to smoke for personal or medical reasons. But there are other options and ways to use cannabis. Edibles are a simple alternative with a lot of variety. You can also try topical cannabis infusements that can be applied and absorbed directly through the skin. While the effects from edibles and topicals are slightly different than smoked cannabis, these options can offer a lot of the same medical benefits, if not more, without the side effects of smoking.
Cannabis can be smoked in a pipe, bong or joint. When inhaled, CBD, THC and other compounds are absorbed by the lungs, into the blood, and cross the blood-brain barrier. The first effects of inhaled cannabis usually occur within a few minutes, and gradually wear off after 2-3 hours. Smoking is often effective for treating acute symptoms that need to be addressed quickly, such as painful spasms, nausea, and vomiting. It is fairly easy to titrate the dose by inhaling. If the effect is insufficient after a few minutes, one can take another puff until the desired effect is achieved. But smoke contains noxious substances that may irritate the lungs.
Edibles are foods or snacks cooked with cannabis-infused oil, butter or ghee. The effects of orally consumed cannabis can last 4 to 6 hours—considerably longer than inhaled cannabis. But the onset of effects is much slower (30-90 minutes) than for inhaled cannabis or sublingual sprays. The slow onset and longer duration make edibles well suited for treating chronic conditions that require a steady dose of medicine throughout the day. The biggest risk with orally administered cannabis is overconsumption. The longer time of onset makes it more difficult to titrate dosage. One should proceed cautiously by taking a small dose of an edible and waiting at least an hour before deciding if more is needed. Edibles may not be appropriate for someone suffering from nausea, vomiting or lack of appetite.
Sublingual sprays are made from cannabis extracts that may be mixed with another substance like coconut oil. The cannabis concentrate is sprayed under the tongue and quickly absorbed through the oral mucosa. First effects are generally felt within 5 to 15 minutes. Sublingual sprays are a good option for consistent, discrete, and timely cannabis dosing. There is no preparation involved and no lingering smell from smoking.
Cannabis prepared as a tea will include significant amounts of CBD and THC in their non-psychoactive “acid” form (CBDA and THCA) because the heat required to steep tea is less than the temperature necessary for “decarboxylation,” which transforms CBDA into CBD and THCA into THC. Cannabinoid acids have significant therapeutic properties, but there has been little research on these compounds.
Vaporizing with a vape pen or another device offers the same immediate benefits of smoking. But since a vaporizer heats the cannabis flower or oil without burning it, the active ingredients are inhaled as a vapor and no smoke is involved. This makes it a healthier alternative to smoking.
Cannabis extracts can be infused in a balm, lotion or ointment and applied directly to the skin. Patients report that cannabis topicals are effective for pain, inflammation, infections, and skin conditions. Because they are applied externally, topicals are generally not inebriating.
Cannabis oil can also be taken in a capsule or gel cap like a vitamin or supplement. The effect, duration and dosing are similar to that of edibles.
Tinctures are herbal remedies in which the active ingredients of cannabis are dissolved in alcohol or another solvent. Their effect, duration and dosing are similar to that of edibles.
How Do I Find The Right Type of Cannabis?
All Cannabis is not created equal, and it can be a complicated process to find the right products for what you need. At White River Wellness, we are committed to helping patients find the right products, methods, and dosing for their particular symptoms, conditions, and biochemistry.
Find links below to learn more about laws and requirements set forth by the State of Michigan.
Find all of the legal forms you’ll need in order to apply for a Michigan Medical Marihuana Card, becoming a Caregiver, Change of Address, and more.