What is Medical Marijuana
Medical Marijuana refers to the use of the flowers or "buds" of the cannabis plant (also known as cannabis or marihuana) taken as a form of medicine or herbal remedy. Medical Marijuana acts on the endocannabinoid system, this system is associated with many processes in the human body including neural development, immune function, inflammation, appetite, metabolism and energy homeostasis, cardiovascular function, digestion, bone development and bone density, synaptic spasticity and learning, pain, reproduction, psychiatric disease, psychomotor behaviour, memory, wake/sleep cycles, and the regulation of stress and emotional state. Due to the vastness of the endocannabinoid system and the influence of marijuana upon it, medical cannabis can be effective in treating the symptoms associated with a wide range of illnesses.
Indica, Sativa & Hybrids
The two most common types / varieties of Marijuana are Indica (Cannabis Indica) and Sativa (Cannabis Sativa). Within these two varieties there are numerous strains, all of which possess different THC and CBD ratios. Strains of marijuana are often categorized as either an Indica variety or a Sativa variety.
Indica dominant strains typically have high THC, and low CBD ratios. Indicas are very effective for overall pain relief and is often used to treat insomnia for many people. Indica buds are most commonly smoked by medical marijuana patients in the late evening or even right before bed due to how sleepy and tired you become when high from an indica strain of marijuana, like Kush.
Sativa dominant strains typically have high CBD, and low THC ratios. Also sativa dominant marijuana strains tend to have a more grassy type door and providing an uplifting, energetic and cerebral high that is best suited for daytime use, filled with creativity and energy and pain relief.
Hybrid varieties are bred with the goal of creating a new strain that possesses all the positive properties of the parent strains while eliminating or reducing the negative ones. Hybrid strains are generally identified with whichever is more dominant, Indica or Sativa.
THC and CBD
Marijuana contains a number of active elements, including dronabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is usually the main ingredient, but other substances – such as CBD – can also have an active effect. The composition of these elements determine the effects, and side effects, of the marijuana. THC and CBD levels (often expressed in a percentage) should be considered when choosing a medical marijuana strain.
THC - Tetrahydrocannabinol
Is responsible for the psychoactive effects or "high" felt when using marijuana. It has also been shown to be responsible for medical marijuana's immunosuppressive, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties
CBD - Cannabidiol
Which lacks nearly all psychoactive effects, is responsible for giving medical marijuana its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-nausea, anti-emetic, anti-psychotic, anti-ischemic, anxiolytic, and anti-epileptiform effects.
Cannabis can be smoked, vaporized or ingested for medicinal purposes. Effects and dosage may vary depending on the method used. It is recommended that you consult your healthcare practitioner to determine the best dose and method of use for you.
Cannabis can be smoked with devices such as a bong or pipe, or by rolling into a cigarette. Smoking produces an almost instantaneous effect and, concurrently, a quick symptom relief. Health Canada does not recommend smoking cannabis.
Oral consumption has a slower effect than other delivery methods, since the cannabinoids must be first absorbed through the digestive system. To account for the slower absorption, start with a small quantity and monitor the effects prior to taking more.
Vaporizing involves heating the dried cannabis until the medicinally active cannabinoids (THC and CBD) are released in the form of a vapor. The product is not heated to a point where combustion occurs and smoke is released, eliminating a lot of the harmful chemicals and effects of smoking. As a result, vaporization is the recommended consumption method by most professionals as it produces a quick effect without the risks associated with smoking.
Cannabis can be consumed through edible goods and drinks that have been infused with cannabis Oils. They include commonly-baked goods such as cookies and brownies but can also include teas, breads, candies and more.
What Conditions are Treated
Scientific studies and tests point to potential therapeutic treatments for medical issues such as:
Depression or anxiety
Nausea or vomiting
HIV or AIDS
Due to the varying amounts and ratios of active ingredients in different marijuana strains it is challenging to assign general dosages. Various surveys published in peer-reviewed literature have suggested that the majority of people using inhaled or orally ingested marijuana for medical purposes reported using approximately 1- 5 grams of marijuana per day. Dosing remains highly individualized, patients with no prior experience with marijuana who are initiating marijuana therapy for the first time are cautioned to begin at a very low dose and to stop therapy if unacceptable or undesirable side effects occur. consumption of inhaled or oral marijuana should proceed slowly, waiting between puffs for a few minutes and waiting 30 - 60 min between sessions to gauge effects.
Indica strains are known for their calming benefits, and generally create a sedative feeling. This sensation tends to be centered in the body, which relaxes as muscle tension is reduced. For this reason, Indica strains are commonly used to promote a good night’s sleep. It is commonly used to relieve inflammation, glaucoma, arthritis, chronic pain, and muscle tension. Side effects reported by some users include lethargy and difficulty concentrating.
This strain is known for its stimulating properties by providing a cerebral, energetic ‘high’ effect which is experienced in the mind as well as in the body. For this reason, it is generally considered good for daytime use. Sativa strains are used most commonly in treating migraines, chronic pain, nausea, as well as helping to stimulate appetite. Side effects reported by some users include anxiety and hyperactivity.
Many professionally bred marijuana strains contain both Indica and Sativa genes, with one or the other dominant. Hybrid strains exhibit characteristics from both genes, which allow patients to benefit from a combination of medical uses and effects.