Marijuana 101

Medical Cannabis 101: A Basic Introduction

After much debate, you have finally decided to give cannabis a shot. Or perhaps you have already secured yourself a medical cannabis recommendation and have yet to make your first trip out to the dispensary. Nonetheless, it isn’t uncommon for new medical cannabis patients to have a few questions before making their first purchase. Below is a quick introductory guide that will hopefully help you navigate your journey towards better health and wellness.

TREATMENT WITH MEDICAL CANNABIS

Medical cannabis has been used historically for thousands of years, with its first recorded use tracing back to 2,300 B.C.E. It has proven helpful in treating various medical conditions and disorders; however, it’s best to always consult with a healthcare professional before adding cannabis to your daily regimen. From there, an experienced cannabis consultant at a reputable dispensary will be able to better advise you on which products are suited to help with which specific medical conditions.

 

  • Different cannabis strains can be used to help treat various conditions and symptoms.
  • Sativa strains are commonly known to provide cerebral, uplifting effects and are often used to help relieve symptoms associated with mood disorders.
  • Indica strains are widely known to be more sedative. They provide relaxing, full-bodied effects and are better suited for pain management and sleeping disorders.
  • Hybrid strains are the result of breeding an indica with a Sativa strain. Hybrid strains offer a mix of cerebral and body effects depending on which particular strains had been utilized during breeding.

WHY PATIENTS CHOOSE CANNABIS

There is a myriad of reasons why thousands of patients are choosing cannabis over their traditionally prescribed medications. The cannabis plant is easily one of the most versatile commodities in the world, and its therapeutic properties can be applied to a host of conditions and disorders. Numerous published studies conducted by renowned, peer-reviewed medical journals have documented many significant health benefits directly associated with medicinal cannabis.

 

Qualifying conditions in the state of New York include:

 

  • Cancer
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV/AIDS)
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Epilepsy
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Neuropathy
  • Chronic pain
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Severe nausea

WHY SENIORS ARE TURNING TO MEDICAL CANNABIS

Medical cannabis treatment from within the senior community has sky-rocketed by about 250% from 2006 to 2013 alone. Below we will discuss just a couple of reasons why many senior citizens are making this move towards medical cannabis in place of their traditionally prescribed medications in record-breaking numbers.

Medical cannabis is safer and more cost efficient: Medical marijuana has proven itself to be a far safer alternative to prescription drugs such as opioids and antipsychotic medications and has fewer and far less severe adverse side effects. Additionally, it can be a more cost-effective treatment. Senior citizens spend an average of close to $3,000 annually on prescription drugs alone. Contrast that with the standard cost of about $650 yearly, medical cannabis is a much more cost-effective option as well.

Out of options: Many seniors experience pain so severe that over-the-counter and prescription medications don’t always treat their maladies. Therefore, many often seek medical cannabis out of desperation and often reap positive results. It thankfully, give unprecedented pain relief. A common senior use is for arthritis. The tinctures and rubs that you can place where you are having chronic pain aides to sooth and allow many folks to sleep comfortably at night. Whether you are senior suffering from nerve pain, joint pains, side effects of chemotherapy, cannabis can help.

THE IMPORTANCE OF CANNABINOIDS AND THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM

Cannabinoids and their effect on our endocannabinoid system are what is accredited for the cannabis plant’s therapeutic effects. The endocannabinoid system is an endogenous system that is widely believed to be our most important physiological function, one that is responsible for establishing and maintaining overall health. At least 113 different cannabinoids have been identified in the cannabis plant thus far.

  • Cannabinoids typically bind to either the CB1 or CB2 receptor.
  • CB1 receptors are spread throughout the body, though they can be most commonly found in specific regions of the brain.
  • CB2 receptors are mostly located in the gastrointestinal and immune systems, though trace amounts can be found in areas of the brain as well.

The two most common cannabinoids are delta-nine-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

  • THC is a psychoactive compound known primarily for its mildly intoxicating, or “high” effect.
  • CBD does not produce the same intoxicating effect and is instead much more subtle and therapeutic.
  • CBD has demonstrated an ability to counteract the sedating effects of THC when consumer simultaneously.

CBD TO THC: RATIO MATTERS

Always consider the product’s CBD to THC ratio, as this dramatically influences the therapeutic potential of the product. All medical cannabis products will explicitly list the active CBD to THC ratio.

  • Products with differing THC to CBD ratios are ideal for treating a wide variety of symptoms.
  • If you are seeking a non-intoxicating effect, find a product with a higher CBD ratio.
  • THC and CBD, alongside other cannabinoids and terpenes, can work together synergistically to amplify the overall therapeutic effect in a process known as the “entourage effect.”
  • Reading all instructs and labeling on packaged products is crucial. Ensure that the product was tested by third-party labs for both accuracy and consistency. This is essential for your health and safety.

COMMON APPLICATION METHODS

The world of cannabis has evolved in some pretty surprising ways. No longer are consumers forced to smoke dried cannabis bud as their sole method of ingestion, though products containing medical cannabis will vary from state to state. The following products are currently legal for medical cannabis patients in the state of New York.

  • Vapor Products: These cannabis-infused oils are designed to be vaporized with the use of a handheld vaporizer – these are commonly referred to as vape pens. The oil is meant to be heated at extremely high temperatures to the point of vaporization, which is then inhaled to provide quick and effective therapeutic relief.
  • Tinctures: This is by far the most common way to administer one’s daily dose. Tinctures typically are administered sublingually; however many consumers have opted to blend them into their favorite food or drink. It is important to note, that when applied sublingually, it is crucial to allow the oil time to set under your tongue (about 30-45 secs), for proper absorption into the bloodstream to occur.
  • Capsules: For consumers seeking a more traditional application method, these easy to swallow capsules are a safe bet. Similar to a daily multivitamin, cannabis-infused capsules are the most accurate way to dose.

Medical Marijuana is a wonderful option for numerous patients dealing with chronic issues. It’s non-addictive and can profoundly enhance the quality of life with minimal side effects. Contact your medical provider if you have further questions.