What is Medical Marijuana?
Facts of the Matter – Learn the basics of marijuana.
Marijuana has a variety of benefits for the mind and body. It can aid in managing pain for various ailments, help reduce symptoms or be a source for positive overall well-being. The use of marijuana and its cannabinoids, including THC and CBD, show significant potential in providing an array of positive effects versus traditional methods.Marijuana, as an option, is not a new concept. Right now, however, we’re in a time of new and exciting possibilities for fully understanding, utilizing and offering all of marijuana’s benefits.
How does marijuana affect the body?
Marijuana interacts with receptors both directly and indirectly with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is a group of receptors located in the brain and throughout the central nervous system.
What are THC and CBD?
THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol. The most well-known cannabinoid, THC is the main psychoactive component in marijuana. Its possible benefits include:
- Stimulating the mind
- Relaxing muscles
- Increasing appetite
- Relieving pain
CBD stands for cannabidiol. CBD is gaining attention for its role in treating neurological disorders and mitigating THC’s psychoactive effects. Its possible benefits include:
- Mitigating inflammation
- Reducing anxiety
- Enhancing sleep
- Controlling seizures
What are terpenes?
Terpenes are fragrant, organic oils that give marijuana plants their unique beneficial qualities and flavor. There are more than 200 known terpenes, each with a different profile and set of effects. Terpenes bind to the endocannabinoid system throughout the brain and body to deliver beneficial qualities and effects.
Sativa strains are invigorating and provide cerebral effects including euphoria and increased energy. They are recommended for patients with symptoms that include fatigue, depression or mood disorders.
Possible benefits include:
- Uplifting euphoric effect
- Increased activity
Indica produces more sedative and relaxing effects and provides deep body relaxation. These strains are recommended for patients suffering from symptoms such as insomnia, pain or anxiety.
Possible benefits include:
- Soothing body euphoric effect
- Enhanced focus
A strain is the variety of plant within a species. Strains define a specific cannabinoid profile—the mixture of THC, CBD, etc. within it. Each strain has its own physical characteristics, or phenotypes, such as height, leaf structure, and color. Depending on the strain and its corresponding cannabinoid profile, the plant will deliver varying effects and possible benefits. Strains can be pure or hybrids of Sativa and Indica.
Sativas are more invigorating and provide more cerebral effects, including, euphoria and mental clarity.
Possible effects: Reduce stress, increase mental clarity, increase focus
Indica produces more sedative and calming effects and provides deep body relaxation.
- Chronic pain
- Loss of appetite
Possible effects: Reduce stress, reduce anxiety, relieve nausea and vomiting, relieve pain, stimulate appetite, reduce fatigue
Hybrids blend the phenotypes of Indica and Sativa, and the presence of THC and CBD will fall along a spectrum between Sativa and Indica.
Possible effects: Reduce inflammation, relieve nausea, relieve pain, regulate digestion, reduce stress, reduce anxiety, relieve nausea and vomiting, relieve pain, stimulate appetite, reduce fatigue
Strains that lead with the euphoric effects of a Sativa but also have some of the relaxing properties of an Indica.
- Movement Disorders
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
Possible effects: Relieve pain, relieve seizures, relieve anxiety, inhibit involuntary muscle movement, energize and uplift
A hybrid that is more Indica-dominant provides a more relaxing effect with the exhilarating attributes of Sativa.
- Chronic pain
- Inflammatory Diseases
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Spinal-cord injuries and diseases
Possible effects: Relieve nausea and vomiting, stimulate appetite, reduce fatigue, relieve pain, reduce seizures, regulate digestion, relieve depression, relieve insomnia, reduce muscle stiffness and tightness, relieve muscle spasms, reduce stress
How to Use Medical Marijuana
Start low and go slow.
Medical marijuana can offer significant benefits for patients, but the effects of marijuana aren’t always immediately felt. Everyone responds differently. Finding the most effective product and optimal dose may take time and varies with different illnesses. Methods of using marijuana can be discussed with a PharmaCannis pharmacist and patient care representative to find a method that will manage your symptoms while working with a method of delivery that is comfortable for you to use. Finding a balanced ratio of CBD and THC that creates the right combination of both cannabinoid compounds is the goal. The basic principle for dosing medical marijuana is “start low and go slow.”
Marijuana has a wide margin of safety and there is a limited risk of overdose. However, caution is warranted until you fully understand the effect that the marijuana may have. Dosage varies greatly among individuals, even when treating the same condition. Please consult with one of our pharmacists or patient care representatives with any dosing concerns.
There are many factors that impact the effect, including:
Amount used (dosage)
Attaining desired results relies on using individualized dosing. Using marijuana in excess of an individual’s optimal dose can lead to diminishing returns and adverse outcomes.
A strain is the variety of plant within a species. Strains define a specific cannabinoid profile—the mixture of THC, CBD, etc. within it. Each strain has its own physical characteristics, or phenotype, such as height, leaf structure and color. Depending on the strain and its corresponding cannabinoid profile, the plant will deliver varying effects and possible benefits. See a list of strains and possible effects.
Method of consumption
It is important to choose a delivery method that works best for you and your condition. Absorption rates vary based on your chosen method of consumption.
Ratios appear on all of our packaging for greater transparency. THC is used to affect pain relief as quickly as possible. CBD is used as an adjunct to the pain relief offered by THC; and has been shown to help reduce systemic inflammation, as well as help regulate the symptoms of neurological conditions and cancer. You can ask your PharmaCannis pharmacist or patient care representative more about ratios during your consultation.
Potential Risks and Side Effects
Each person responds differently
Like any medical option, marijuana’s efficacy may vary and possible side effects exist. Particular strains and/or ratios will not always be effective for a given symptom. The effectiveness of a strain and/or ratio of medical marijuana will be dependent on your personal response and sensitivity to the individual product, and it is important for you to work with your pharmacist or patient care representative at the dispensary to help match the products to your unique needs.
Figuring out the optimal dose that will work best for you usually requires making adjustments along the way. What works for one person may not work for another, and it also depends upon your level of comfort. Finding a balanced ratio of CBD and THC that creates the right combination of both cannabinoid compounds is the goal. The basic principle for dosing medical marijuana is “start low and go slow.”
You should also be aware that marijuana use may also cause short-term effects related to:
Sense of time
Marijuana has been shown to distort an individual’s perception of time, typically slowing time down.
Long-term marijuana use can have an adverse effect on attention span.
Marijuana can diminish or impair an individual’s problem-solving skills.
Long-term marijuana use can have an effect on one’s verbal memory or ability to recall words.
Marijuana has been shown to impair one’s reaction time.
Certain psychomotor skills may be influenced by marijuana use.