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.

CBD

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.

CBN

Cannabinol; has mild psychoactive properties. Shown to reduce intraocular pressure, a main characteristic of glaucoma, and to inhibit seizure activity.

CBC

Cannabichromene; provides pain relief, anti-inflammatory properties, and has shown antidepressant effects.

CBG

Cannabigerol; pain relief, specifically neuropathic pain, reduces anxiety, shown to improve gastrointestinal disease (Crohns, inflammatory bowel disease, etc.)

THCV

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

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

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

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
  • AK-47

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.

SMOKING/INHALATION

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.

KIEF

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.

HASHISH/HASH

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

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.

INGESTION

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.

EDIBLES

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

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.

TOPICAL

Using cannabis topically has shown to provide pain relief in the upper surface of the skin, surface allergy relief, muscle pain, inflammation, and swelling.

LOTIONS

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.

OILS

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

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.

Therapeutic Results

  • Decreases Seizure Activity
  • Aides in Sleep
  • Decreases Anxiety
  • Relieves Pain
  • Reduces Muscle Spams

CBD PRODUCTS

CBD Isolate

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

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,

MyrceneLimoneneLinalool
Found in:Hops

Lemongrass

Eucalyptus

Mangoes

Citrus FruitsLavender

Mint

Cinnamon

Coriander

Aroma:Earthy

Musky

Clove

Grape

Lemon

Citrus

Spicy

Floral

Effects:Sleep Aid

Muscle Relaxant

Sedative effects

Treats acid re flux

Anti-Anxiety

Antidepressant

Anti-carcinogenic

Anesthetic

Anti-Convulsant

Pain Relief

Anti-Anxiety

Beta-CaryophylleneAlpha-Pinene and Beta-PineneAlpha-Bisabolol
Found in:Black Pepper

Cinnamon

Cloves

Oregano

Basil

Rosemary

Rosemary

Orange Peel

Pine Needles

Parsley

Chamomile

Candela Trees

Aroma:Spicy

Peppery

Pine TreesFloral
Effects:Anti-Inflammatory

Pain Relief

Aides in cellular protection of GI Tract

Anti-Inflammatory

Bronchodilator

Aides Memory

Antibacterial Properties

Antibacterial Properties

Antioxidant

Pain Relief

EucalyptolHumuleneGeraniol
Found in:EucalyptusHops

Cloves

Sage

Lemons

Tobacco

Aroma:MintEarthy

Woody

Spicy

Grass

Peaches

Plum

Effects:Pain Relief

Improved Concentration

Anti-carcinogenic Effects

Appetite Suppression

Pain Relief

Anti-Inflammatory

Antibacterial Effects

Neuro-Protectant

Antioxidant

FLAVONOIDS

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:

  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-mutagenic
  • Anti-carcinogenic
  • 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.