Let’s start with the basics:
Cannabis is a flowering plant indigenous to many locations around the globe. It’s flowers and leaves are used by medical patients to treat various ailments through different methods of consumption. Like other species of flowers, cannabis will range in its characteristics between strains. Different strains yield different smells, taste, and most importantly the amount and type of cannabinoids present.
CANNABINOIDS AND CANNABIS MOLECULES
The most recognized, and first identified cannabinoid is THC (∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol), this cannabinoid is associated with the psychoactive effects of cannabis. THC will vary between different strains, as well as different plants that are the same strain. Variants in growing conditions, like nutrients and lighting, as well as the plant’s genetics play a significant role in the types of cannabinoids produced and their concentration.
Cannabidiol; shown to relieve nausea, increase appetite, decrease convulsions, act as an anti-inflammation, aid in sleep, decrease anxiety, relieve pain, and stop muscle spasms. CBD alone has no psychoactive effects, but typically there will be low amounts of THC in a CBD specific cannabis strain.
Cannabinol; has mild psychoactive properties. Shown to reduce intraocular pressure, a main characteristic of glaucoma, and to inhibit seizure activity.
Cannabichromene; provides pain relief, anti-inflammatory properties, and has shown antidepressant effects.
Cannabigerol; pain relief, specifically neuropathic pain, reduces anxiety, shown to improve gastrointestinal disease (Crohns, inflammatory bowel disease, etc.)
Tetrahydrocannabivarin; typically found in sativa strains it has shown to reduce appetite, aiding in type 2 diabetes and some metabolic disorders.
This list only depicts a small amount of the most common cannabinoids and chemical compounds found in medical cannabis. Two other biologically active molecules present in cannabis are flavonoids and terpenes. These are mostly associated with the taste, color, and smell of specific cannabis strains; but current research shows immune-system benefits as well.
SATIVA, INDICA, AND HYBRIDS
There is no guarantee that a specific strain will induce the same psychoactive, emotional, and physical response in every patient. There are numerous factors that can affect how cannabis will make a patient feel, such as dosage used, method of consumption, present environment, patient’s biochemistry, experience using cannabis, and diet. When discussing THC rich strains there are generally three groups, Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid. Each has specific characteristics; such as growth cycles, yield, and cannabinoids present, but most importantly are the medical effects it has on the patient.
Sativa’s tend to have a higher ratio of THC to CBD, they are thought to have more cerebral effects, resulting in energy and creativity. This makes Sativa strains a great candidate for daytime usage.
- Energizes mind and body
- Increases focus and creativity
- Reduces depression and elevates mood
- Shown to relieve headaches and migraines, as well as associated nausea
- Some analgesic effects
- General feeling of well-being
- Can increase appetite by reducing nausea, but may decrease appetite if the strain is high in THCV
- May cause anxiety associated with cannabis induced paranoia
Some highly recognized Sativa strains:
- Sour Diesel
- Blue Dream
- Super Silver Haze
- Purple Haze
Indica effects are primarily felt within the body. They tend to be more sedating and relaxing, with a lower risk for cannabis associated anxiety; making them a great candidate for nighttime usage.
- Sedative effects, sleep aid
- Reduces muscle spasm associated with Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and Tourette Syndrome
- Induces relaxation
- Reduces anxiety
- Inhibits seizure activity associated with Epilepsy
- Analgesia, reduces pain and inflammation
- Reduces pain from headaches and migraines
- Reduces intra ocular pressure
- May cause excessive sleepiness
- May cause fogginess
Some highly recognized Indica strains:
- Northern Lights
- Master Kush
- Hindu Kush
- Black Widow
- Sensi Star
Hybrid strains have parent plants possessing characteristics of both Sativa and Indica, with one usually being more dominant. The effects are well rounded and work well for patients looking for energy with low anxiety, or relaxation without the excessive sleepiness.
Some highly recognized Hybrid strains:
- Girl Scout Cookies
- Gorilla Glue
- Death Star
Finding the perfect strain for a patient’s individual needs can be a process. Since cannabis is naturally derived, and not synthetically produced, the levels of cannabinoid concentration will not only vary between strains, but also between plants of the same strain. We recommend a patient keep a record of which strains they try, and which worked well for them, until they feel completely comfortable with the process.
METHODS OF USE
After the growth process is completed, the cannabis plant is harvested and processed for consumption. There are many ways to consume medical cannabis, this is meant to be an introduction to some methods. Although you can make products from the entire plant, the flowers of female plants are most widely used because of its high cannabinoid potency. From these flowers trichomes are separated, concentrates are processed, and edibles are made.
The most well-known, and common use of cannabis is smoking the dried flowers. This is the simplest form of cannabis, where processing only consists of manicuring the buds. This is typically smoked using a glass pipe, or being rolled in cigarette or tobacco papers; but there are many different devices available for use.
The main components of kief are trichomes, these are small crystalline hairs found predominantly on the flowers. The most common way to collect/process kief is through dry sifting of the plant. Generally, kief is smoked on its own or mixed with the dry flower but can also be used in cooking or processed into concentrates.
Making cannabis into hashish has been around for a long time, and many people still use the product. There are several ways to process hashish, one of the most common is filtering the plant through a series of bags in an ice water bath. There are also procedures that use dry ice and pressing methods, which varies the product in color, texture, and potency. Hashish can be smoked in a bowl or pipe, but there are special products called “hash spoons/pipes” that may be used as well.
Hash oils are the most potent form of cannabis on the market. There are many ways to extract the cannabinoids using various solvents. Butane, Carbon Dioxide, and Ethanol are among some of the most used solvents. The solution is then purged in laboratory grade ovens, where the solvent is slowly, and safely evaporated. Leftovers are the cannabinoids in an oil form, or in a completely vaporizable solid form. Hash oils can be mixed with dry flower, smoked out of an oil rig or vaporizer, and used to fill pen cartridges. The THC potency can range anywhere from 30%-90%, and is also available with high levels of CBD.
Although smoking cannabis is the most common method of use, many people choose to ingest their cannabis. This reduced the worries associated with smoke inhalation, like coughing or throat irritation. Ingesting cannabis takes longer for the effects to occur, but they last much longer.
The category “edibles” is broad because cannabis can be added to nearly any food; but the cannabinoids must be activated first. This is typically done by using a specific heat profile and adding a fat. Since cannabinoids are fat-soluble they dissolve in oils, fats, butters, and alcohol, but not water. These butters and oils are then added to foods, like brownies or cookies.
RSO (RICK SIMPSON OIL)
Rick Simpson Oil has long been recognized as having cancer curing properties. The extraction process uses solvents like naphtha or food-grade alcohol; unlike butters, there is no fat added. A washing process is performed, followed by a very specific heating schedule. The product is dark in color, with a thick paste-like consistency. It can be cooked at low temperatures, added to beverages, or ingested directly. A precise 30-day regimen is recommended when using it for cancer treatment.
Tinctures are another common way to ingest cannabis. They are much faster acting than edibles, but do not last as long. The cannabinoids are extracted using ethanol alcohol, or glycerin. Administered through the mucous membrane in the mouth by a dropper or in spray form.
Using cannabis topically has shown to provide pain relief in the upper surface of the skin, surface allergy relief, muscle pain, inflammation, and swelling.
Different cannabis oils and butters are added to surface penetrating creams and salves, sometimes with other essential oils. Many people find relief in using these products, without any psychological effects, and while also providing skin nourishing benefits.
Cannabis oils can also be applied directly to the skin; like Rick Simpson Oil or a pressed hemp oil. Some patients have reported a reduction in malignant tumor size after applying Rick Simpson Oil topically, but it is important to mention it is not medically proven to cure any diseases.
CBD, FLAVONOIDS, and TERPENES
CBD is short for Cannabidiol and is one of the most abundant Cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant.
It does not provide psychoactive effects on its own.
- Decreases Seizure Activity
- Aides in Sleep
- Decreases Anxiety
- Relieves Pain
- Reduces Muscle Spams
Only contains CBD and no other type of Cannabinoids or actives
Full Spectrum CBD
- Derived from the hemp plant
- Contains all Forms of Cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids
- THC must not exceed 0.3%
- Components have a synergistic effect with each other, Increasing effectiveness
Broad Spectrum CBD
- Contains Cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids Expect THC
- THC is removed using chromatography
- Still provides some synergistic effects
Terpenes are chemical compounds most widely associated with the smell and taste of organic materials. Terpenes are produced in the resin of the cannabis plant and more than 100 different terpenes have been discovered in cannabis.
Listed are a few known terpenes and their recognized flavors,
|Treats acid re flux|
|Beta-Caryophyllene||Alpha-Pinene and Beta-Pinene||Alpha-Bisabolol|
|Found in:||Black Pepper|
Aides in cellular protection of GI Tract
Flavonoids are a natural phenolic structure found in fruits, vegetables, grains, bark, roots, stems, flowers, tea and wine. Responsible for color and aroma of flowers and fruits, they also have a direct effect on plant growth and the body when ingested or inhaled.
Flavonoids effects the growth of plant by:
- Attracting pollinators
- Aiding in growth development of seedlings
- Protecting plants from environmental stressors
- Acting as a UV Filter
- Acting as a signaling molecule
Therapeutic effects on the body:
- Cellular enzyme function modulator
We hope you learned everything you needed to know but if you want a more in-depth knowledge about how medical marijuana can help you, please schedule a consultation with one of our highly trained Budtenders by calling 517-273-3000.