A Comprehensive Guide to the History of Medical Marijuana and Its Current Benefits Today
Many politicians and the general public have been scrutinizing marijuana for the past couple of months with the legalization of hemp, which is derived from the cannabis plant, in the Farm Bill of 2018. Hemp doesn’t get you high, but it does have the properties to help you feel better. This is the exact same reason why some forms of medical marijuana is now legal in 33 states and the District of Columbia.
Oklahoma was the most recent state to pass medical marijuana laws, with 90% of the voters in support of medical cannabis. The passing of this law in such a conservative state proves that cannabis, marijuana, and all its forms are slowly but surely becoming mainstream. The use of marijuana can be a bit tricky because what is accepted in some states, may be different from what is acceptable in another state. On top of that, the federal government still sees marijuana as illegal so there is still some bit of confusion. This is the reason why people need to learn more about this all natural and alternative drug therapy. Read on below to find out more about it.
Looking Back to History
The legal history of marijuana has placed it in the Schedule 1 Category of Drugs, which is deemed as the most dangerous forms of drugs by the Federal Government. People tend to lose their control when they take these drugs that have absolutely no medical value. On top of that, they are habit forming. Other drugs that used to share the spot with marijuana are heroine, ecstasy, and cocaine, which can all severely affect the health of people who take them. But now, medical marijuana is legal in many areas, and it is considered an alternative and all natural solution to many diseases and chronic illnesses.
Now, the questions begs to be asked, if marijuana has a lot of medicinal benefits which can be traced as far back as the ancient Greek period and the Chinese Dynasties, how did it end up in the Schedule 1 list of banned substances? To understand the whole scenario, only history can answer the mystery. In the early 1900s, post Mexican Revolution, there was an influx of Mexican immigrants into bordering states like Texas and Louisiana. These new migrants possessed their own language, culture, and traditions. One of these controversial customs was the use of cannabis as a medicine and relaxant.
These new migrants referred to this plant as “marihuana”, while Americans were familiar with this plant as “cannabis” because it was present in all tinctures and medications at that time. Because people are generally fearful of something knew, they began to think negatively of these people and their customs, failing to realize that they already have this plant in their medicine cabinets. The demonizing of the cannabis plant is akin to the banning of opium many years before as an attempt to control the Chinese immigrants who brought into the US soil.
Controlling and Restricting the “Illicit” Substance
As callous as it may sound, the idea of making marijuana evil was to search, detain, and eventually deport these immigrants back into Mexico. In the 1930s several hearings regarding marijuana laws were conducted, and controversial testimonies made claims that marijuana use was the reason colored men transformed to become more violent and sexually explicit. This became the driving force of the Marijuana Act of 1973, which banned marijuana use and sales.
Years later, this act was rendered as unconstitutional, but it was just taken over by the Controlled Substances Act in the 1970s. This is responsible for establishing the Schedules that people are now familiar with today. The drugs are classified according to their possible negative effects to the takers, as well as their propensity for turning the takers into addicts. Cannabis was then placed in the most restrictive classification, the Schedule 1. It was supposedly temporary as they tried to make sense out of the plant, its properties, and its possible benefits.
Back then at the around same period, the Schafer Commission, which was formally known as the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse, was appointed by President Nixon to carry out the much needed research. The Schafer commission issued a report on their findings in 1972, declaring that marijuana should not even be in the Schedule 1 and that they doubted its identification as an illegitimate substance. Unfortunately, this report was ignored by the White House and they disregarded the recommendations contained therewith, which is why marijuana remained in Schedule 1.
The First Sign of Progress Towards Approval
The decriminalization of marijuana was first felt in the state of Oregon in 1973. This means criminal penalties with personal marijuana use became more lax. Many other states followed Oregon, lowering the sting from anti-marijuana laws. But decriminalization is not the same as legalization because the latter not only allowed individuals to possess marijuana, they also permit legal production and sale of the substance.
It was only in 1996, when the notion that marijuana was an insignificant substance with no medical value was put to a grand and public test. The state of California at that time pushed for the approval of the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, stating that it has thousands of years in history as a natural healing and therapeutic agent across many countries and cultures. Opponents of medical marijuana insist that the risk of abuse is high and there is not enough research to warrant marijuana use for medical purposes, but its long history was used as basis for evidence regarding its medical efficacy.
Imagine, for many decades, marijuana was banned in all the 50 states of the United States of America. But with the approval of medical marijuana in California, other states slowly began to see this plant’s many benefits. Just like dominoes that are lined up, as the first domino toppled, it caused a chain reaction that made one fall on top of the other. What began as decriminalization, ended up in legalization, and now, marijuana use is slowly being accepted as the norm.
That being said, the marijuana plant as a whole remains as a controlled substance under the federal law. Marijuana is still illegal for the federal government and that can create a bit of confusion. Even if states have legalized some form of marijuana use, the government can prosecute violations of applicable federal laws. To illustrate, even if a patient has a prescription, the TSA or Transport Security Administration will not allow cannabis in anyone’s luggage.
Currently, the US FDA or food and drug administration has not approved the marijuana plant as a medicine for treating a specific condition. However, there are now two FDA-approved medications with cannabinoids in pill form. For example, Epidiolex with cannabinoids is used for helping alleviate the symptoms of epilepsy. Cannabinoids are the chemical components that can be found in cannabis or marijuana. Now, there is continued research in the hopes to provide more medication coming from this natural source.
Marijuana Use Today
All except four states have drafted some kind of medical marijuana law. That being said, only 16 states permit the legal utilization of cannabidiol (CBD) or medical cannabis that has very low tetrahydrocannabinol (TCH) concentration on its ingredient list. CBD and TCH are both chemical components of the cannabis plant. CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t produce any of feared mind-altering changes like mental highs, hallucinations, and addiction. THC, in contrast, is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that causes all those alterations.
These 16 states are not included in the count of states that have legalized medical marijuana because of their strict laws the has levied limits on the form and manner of how marijuana can be used and dispensed for medicinal purposes. Thirty-three states, however, permit patients to have broader access to marijuana use to treat their medical ailments.
Ten states and Washington DC have cannabis laws that permit legal use of marijuana for both medical and recreational reasons. In those jurisdictions, individuals do not need a prescription to avail of marijuana. As a potential user, it is the responsibility of the person procuring marijuana to read up on the laws to make sure that what he or she is doing is legal in the state and federal level. Ignorance of the law excuses no one.
The Low Down on the States
Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states and the District of Columbia:
District of Columbia
States that permitted restricted use only are the following: Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Benefits of Medical Marijuana
Medical marijuana uses the cannabis plant or its chemicals in treating many conditions, illnesses, and diseases. The plant contains hundreds of different chemicals called cannabinoids. Each of them have different effects on the body. Research suggests that some of these cannabinoids are actually similar to chemicals that already exist in the body or that the body makes, which are involved in affecting memory, movement, pain, and appetite. These cannabinoids affect people when they connect with cells called receptors. As such, medical marijuana is used to treat many of the following conditions:
Disease’s of the mind like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease
Mental health issues like bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder
Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia
It can impede sell growth to help arrest cancer tumor growth, including its symptoms and effects of its treatments
It is used to treat disease of the immune system like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, HIV, and AIDS
It addresses pain, appetite loss, nausea, vomiting, muscle spasms, and the like
Addresses seizure disorders like epilepsy
It can treat inflammation, glaucoma, Chrohn’s disease, Wasting syndrome, and many more
Take note that there are numerous kinds of cannabis strains but all of them are collectively called as cannabis. Since many different types of cannabis plant and its plant derivatives share the same name, the term medical cannabis is so easily misunderstood. A cannabis plant can consists of up to more than 400 different chemical components. Hundreds of these are cannabinoids. To illustrate, government approved cannabis medications contain only one or 2 chemicals. It is vital that patients verify and discuss their treatment paths with their medical professionals to be clear on all the possible effects of each ingredient.
Possible Side Effects of this Alternative Medication
Just like pharmaceutical drugs, medical marijuana is also reported to have some side effects. Some of them are bloodshot eyes, low blood pressure, hallucinations, fast heart rate, light headed feeling, and mild depression. It has also been noted to affect judgement and coordination, which has the potential to result in accidents and injuries. If used in children and teens who are still growing, it has the capacity to affect their IQ and mental development. Take note that all these side effects vary. Not every effect will be felt and the degree to which it manifests also varies. Doctors will prescribe medical marijuana only after careful consideration of the patient’s history. Sometimes, the side effects are minimal and the benefits far outweigh the negatives, so treatment is continued.
Can Patients Get Addicted to It
Unfortunately, doctors don’t have data about the addiction risk for people who use marijuana for medical purposes. This is rather ironic because cannabis has been around as an alternative herbal form of treatment for many centuries. Now, this area is still considered a new branch of science that needs more study.
Additionally, there have not been many tests and experiments conducted on a large group of people. And scientists need a lot of test participants to generate reliable data from which they can draw conclusions from. Since marijuana was under the Schedule 1 for so long, there has not been enough research and experiments conducted regarding it.
It must be noted, though, that people who used marijuana in the past to get a buzz can go on to misuse it when they are prescribed it for a medical condition. The most common problem is growing dependent on the drug. If patients abruptly stop using it, they can feel what are knows as symptoms of withdrawal.
How it is Medical Marijuana Used
There are many ways to take medical marijuana. You can:
Smoke the leaves like a cigarette
Inhale it via a vaporizer that transforms it into a fine mist
Eat it because it can come in a brownie, lollipop, candy, and even gummy bears
Apply it topically to the skin because it can come in a cream, lotion, oil, or spray
Use a tincture by placing a few drops of the liquid sublingually (or underneath the tongue)
Take note that how a person takes it can depend on the recommendation of the doctor or personal preference. Each mode of intake has a different effect on the body. Smoking and inhaling cannabis have very quick reaction times. If it is ingested, it will take much longer because it needs to pass through the digestive system. The same holds true for topical application as it takes awhile for the marijuana to be absorbed into the pores of the skin.
How to Get Access to Medical Marijuana
To gain complete access to medical marijuana, a patient needs a written prescription and recommendation from a board certified and licensed medical doctor in the state where it is legal. Take note that not all doctors are willing to recommend marijuana for medical use for patient treatment and care.
The condition of the patient must qualify for use of medical marijuana. Remember that each state has its own extensive list of descriptions of qualifying conditions. Some states may require their patients to get a medical marijuana ID card that states they are qualified users of medical marijuana. If a person has access to that card, he or she can easily buy medical marijuana at a store called a dispensary.
Where to Find Dispensaries
Dispensaries can be found in all states that has declared some form of marijuana to be legal. Note that there are only a few states that allow the dispensing of marijuana for recreational purposes. Dispensaries vary in location, services, and strains that they offer. They have different partner networks with hemp growers, so make sure to do your research and go to a reputable one that sources their main ingredient from sustainable and organic growers with legitimate farming practices.
Some dispensaries have a brick-and-mortal presence, some sell online only, and some have both actual retail stores and e-stores. Some dispensaries have doctors, naturopaths, and nurse practitioners on site because they offer medical marijuana. But some states have allowed recreational use so there are dispensaries that offer no medicinal value. There are many apps and websites that can help consumers find the dispensaries nearest to their location. Some of these apps and sites even go the extra mile to give product reviews and personal testimonials from happy CBD users.
The use of medical marijuana can no longer be stopped, with more states legalizing it. Soon, the federal government might just get on board once they see that this alternative herbal drug has more healing benefits than its pharmaceutical counterparts. Any person who is seeking to purchase marijuana has the responsibility to research state laws. It is vital to be aware of the possible side effects. Responsible marijuana use is encouraged so as not to succumb to addiction.
If a single, inorganically grown apple only had a single drop of pesticide on it — as it is by itself this is not ideal, but not catastrophically dangerous — it would literally take 500 of these pesticide-laced apples to cause a frightening reaction.
However, in the process of extractions (like those used in medicinal cannabis extraction), 1,000 apples are essentially smashed together and condensed down and put into a shot glass and made very easy to consume all at once. Now you have a circumstance where you can be exposed to a massive amount of a dangerous substance.
This is essentially the concern when it comes to patients using medical cannabis products not sourced from farms with organic growing methods.
As more people move away from the traditional consumption methods of cannabis, the extraction and refinement of these products warrant responsibility back to the growers.
The organic growing method movement is not a new idea. We’ve all heard of it, and most of us have looked at the apple that’s $1.25 more than the inorganic version and asked ourselves “what’s the difference?”
To those unaware of the truth and judging simply off physical appearance, there doesn’t appear to be a huge difference; however, at the cellular level, it’s apples and oranges. Organic growing methods for cannabis are even more important, and the reasons why are so significant that, to be honest, you should be afraid. The truth is fascinatingly terrifying.
Many chemicals used in traditional agriculture pose significant health risks to every person and animal that could even, potentially, come into contact with them.
In cannabis, these chemicals are applied throughout the plant and flower, and because the entire flower is processed, consumed or smoked, the patient would be exposed to every molecule of every substance that the plant has been treated or “laced” with.
Due to the chemical structure of the beneficial compounds in cannabis, these compounds must either be concentrated out, vaporized or burned.
Simply put: Some inorganic grow-method chemicals combined with the necessary consumption methods required to benefit from medicinal cannabis may put patients at a significant increased risk of developing other conditions while trying to treat their primary complaint. Justly, this is the reason that some medical professionals oppose medical cannabis, not because of its debunked, wives’ tale taboos.
The danger of these chemicals is no secret. Growers who use the chemicals are instructed by the companies who make the chemicals to wear a level of protective gear rated higher than what the Centers for Disease Control recommends for health care workers who are working with Ebola.
Full, impenetrable body suits, gloves, goggles, waterproof boots and carbon respirators are required just to be able to spray these chemicals onto plants, and this is just to prevent a microscopic droplet of it from touching the skin.
This begs the question, “Why are nonorganic method growers so afraid to get these chemicals on their skin or in their bodies?” The answer is disturbingly obvious. If the grower, the professional on the subject, avoids these chemicals getting onto or inside them at all costs, every patient should, too.
The most concerning issues with ingestion of nonorganic cannabis isn’t a factor that most have ever considered. Terminal patients, HIV/AIDS patients and cancer patients have compromised immune systems.
The common cold or even an infection from something as trivial as a paper cut can kill these patients; in fact, they do kill them by the thousands every day.
Many of these chemicals carry the warning of carcinogens and are known to cause cancer to begin with.
Patients need to be aware that they do have a choice for a safer, healthier and better-quality cannabis product.
One word to describe your cultivation style: Natural
Indoor, outdoor, greenhouse or a combination: Primarily indoor, with some outdoor cultivation
Can you share a bit of your background and how you and your company got to the present day?
Cannabis has been in my family since the 1920s. My great-grandpa supported our family supplementing his coal miners’ wages [by] cultivating cannabis. I have been cultivating cannabis since 2006. It was mostly for family medicine and enjoyment. Our company started in 2015 as primary caregivers for children with cancer. We very quickly became overwhelmed with patients in need of “clean medicine.” I started providing education on the non-common methods of ingestion and the benefits of acidic cannabinoids, [and] this opened up a whole new way to help patients. Meeting Bryan Wachsman [and] John and Cassie Stinchcomb in 2018, I was given the opportunity to expand and bring our products and knowledge to Green Prairie Farms.
What tool or software in your cultivation space can you not live without?
Green Prairie Farms’ space is extremely simple. Keep It Simple (KIS) is the motto! I would say that my 40x jewelers loupe is one of the tools I could not live without! An essential tool in a good integrated pest management (IPM) program. When consulting, I tell all of the growers this is their number one tool to use!
What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your business in the last six months?
Can’t get much in the cannabis industry for $100 or less. How about 20 pounds of salmon? It was used to make 1.5 gallons of fish amino acids (FAA). This Korean Natural Farming (KNF) input is being used at Green Prairie Farms’ grow in Tulsa, Okla. This batch of FAA will be enough for over 1,400 gallons—not bad for under $100!
What cultivation technique are you most interested in right now, and what are you actively studying (the most)?
KNF and JADAM Natural Farming have been my focus of cultivation and study for the last six years. I actively participate in local herb walks and do many collections of indigenous microorganisms (IMO) a year. I read a ton! Fermentation techniques are another topic of interest.
How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?
Everyone runs into problems when growing cannabis; it’s how you deal with them that makes you a better grower. I have learned to respond and prevent many of the common and difficult pests and diseases associated with cannabis cultivation. I came up with the saying, “An ounce of prevention yields pounds.”
My favorite failure has been going through my transition from the use of any commercial products to being 99-percent sustainable in my growing technique. I have killed a lot of plants learning! I now am able to cultivate beautiful, healthy plants that produce amazing, clean medicine. I make all of the nutrients and pest management amendments that are used with a high focus on organic inputs.
What advice would you give to a smart, driven grower about to enter the legal, regulated industry? What advice should they ignore?
No. 1: Educate yourself. That is my answer for both questions. Any person entering the industry usually finds out that it is not all it seems and the best thing you can do is not be ignorant to the law and compliance regulations. I mean, after all, it is up to us to up hold this legal privilege.
There are a lot of really good people in this industry—I mean, really good. They will help you learn valuable secrets to the game and get you involved in some amazing activities. But there are a lot of shady people that will do whatever it takes to make a dollar. That includes illegal activities that can stir up trouble for the individual, company and industry.
How do you deal with burnout?
I do my best to review the expectations. It is easy to get burned out if you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Setting checkpoints is another tool I like to use. It seems to give the little victories that make the big picture clear.
How do you motivate your employees/team?
I first and foremost believe in showing your appreciation for the work people do. A little gratitude goes a long way! The best manager I ever worked for told us, “I am only as good as the people that work for me. Please let me know if you need anything.” He told us that every week in staff meetings and always followed through.
I would never ask an employee to do a job I would not be willing to do myself. It is always a huge motivator when somebody gets in there and does the work with you.
What keeps you awake at night?
I have chronic refractory insomnia, so I usually don’t sleep much anyway. My brain doesn’t shut off so it can be hard to get a good night’s sleep. I miss our son; he passed away from a heroin overdose in 2018. He was 23.
What helps you sleep at night?
Reading and hash. I prefer heavy indica varieties; however, I usually just end up super high and not tired! I do not take any prescription medication for my insomnia, although it has been prescribed and recommended.
The Medical Marijuana Craze. Facts, Benefits, and How to Obtain Your Medical Marijuana Card
Cannabis, also most commonly referred to as marijuana, is a standard plant that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of medical ailments and illnesses. Until recently, most states throughout the US have deemed marijuana completely illegally, resulting in fines and jail time for those who are caught with it in their possession. However, with the latest medical marijuana movement, it is now becoming widely accepted due to the discovery that it is extremely beneficial with little to no risk.
The History of Cannabis Laws
Did you know that marijuana first became criminalized in the US in 1937? It’s been a long road for medical marijuana advocates, but the US is finally shifting its overall view of cannabis for medical purposes.
With the current opioid and drug epidemic plaguing the US, it is no wonder many states are now beginning to see the advantages of medical marijuana over prescription pills. Just recently, Oklahoma became the 30th state to approve the use of medical marijuana use.
For individuals living in the State of Oklahoma, visit the official website of the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority organization for more information on obtaining a medical marijuana card. The official Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority website also includes complete applications, information about available licenses, and a complete list of rules and regulations associated with the medical marijuana provision that has recently passed.
As we continue to progress, the outlook appears optimistic for medical marijuana advocates in the US. In some states, the use of cannabis has become legal recreationally, which is a positive sign for states that are still attempting to become legal medically.
Benefits and Uses of Medical Marijuana
Medical marijuana has been used effectively to help with treating seizures in children along with other pain-centric diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and HIV/AIDS. Some of the most notable benefits of medical marijuana that have been reported include:
Reduced or Eliminated Insomnia
Pain Relief/Nerve Pain Relief
Relaxation of the Muscles
Reduction in Inflammation throughout the body
Improvement of depression and depressive disorders
Elimination of seizures
Reduction or calming of tremors
Individuals who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, autoimmune diseases (such as Lupus, Hashimoto’s, or MS) are utilizing medical marijuana over traditional opioids or other painkillers that can lead to serious side effects or fatalities (especially in those with weakened immune systems).
Obtaining Your Medical Marijuana Card
If your state has passed a medical marijuana bill and it is not legal to obtain a medical marijuana card, there is a required process to complete before you are able to obtain the substance yourself. You must be at least 18 years of age before you are able to obtain a medical marijuana card in most states. However, if you have a child who is in need of medical marijuana or CBD (the non-psychoactive form of cannabis), it is possible to work together with your doctor to receive the approval you seek depending on your current location and state laws surrounding the issue.
Visit Your Doctor
Visit your family healthcare provider or seek out a doctor who specializes in providing medical marijuana cards in your area. Many doctors work directly outside of a medical marijuana dispensary. Before you are able to gain access into a dispensary near you, getting approval from your doctor and mailing in your paperwork to your state’s medical marijuana office is essential.
Access to Medical Marijuana
Access to medical marijuana is becoming easier with the option of visiting a local dispensary. If you have a dispensary near you, simply provide proof of your medical card to gain access to the storefront. Additionally, if you do not have a dispensary in your area, you also have the option to grow your own marijuana or work together with a caregiver, depending on state laws.
Visiting a dispensary is one of the easiest ways to get started with marijuana, regardless of your current condition or the ailment you want to treat. Individuals who work in a dispensary are well-versed in marijuana strains, its effects, and the best ways to help their patients who are in need.
Online Tools and Applications
With the advent of the internet and mobile smartphones, learning more about cannabis and its medicinal benefits has never been easier. With applications such as Leafly (available via a web browser, iOS, and Android smartphones), learn more about medical strains that are right for you and where they are available. Additionally, tools such as WeedMaps also provide medical cardholders the opportunity to research nearby dispensaries to learn more about current strains and various types of THC/CBD available. If you are in an area where medical cannabis has become legalized, use WeedMaps to place an order for pickup or delivery, depending on surrounding dispensaries and the type of cannabis you require to help treat the conditions and ailments that impact your quality of life the most.
Working With a Caregiver
Many states offer the option of working with a caregiver if you do not have access to digital applications or a local dispensary near you. Caregivers are permitted to grow their own cannabis plants in their own home or in a controlled environment, depending on state laws and the license they have obtained to provide the substance and sell it. Working directly with a caregiver is a way to ensure you know what strain and quality of cannabis you are receiving each time you purchase your medication.
While medical marijuana has yet to become legal throughout the US, the movement is moving forward at a rapid pace. For those who are staunch advocates of medical marijuana, there is hope that one day individuals in need will have access to the plant and all of its medical benefits without stigma or putting their lives at risk with opioids and prescription medications.
Two decades ago, the phrase “medical marijuana” first entered the public scene. 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana with the approval of Proposition 215. Oregon, Washington, and Alaska followed suit just two years later passing their own medical marijuana measures in 1998.
Since then, more than half of the United States has decriminalized or legalized cannabis in some way. Only three states prohibit marijuana use entirely, without any laws allowing usage or possession.
As recently as 2018, Oklahoma legalized medical marijuana there a state ballot measure. Oklahoma is the most recent state to enact a medical cannabis program, making it the 33rd state to do so.
With medical marijuana programs starting in states throughout the nation, many people want to know what the facts, basics, and benefits are of using cannabis. This guide will discuss the truth behind medical marijuana, cannabis has benefits for people with chronic illness or injury, and the reasons why many states are implementing medical marijuana programs through ballot measures and legislature.
What is medical marijuana?
Medical marijuana is the use of cannabis to treat physical or mental health conditions by relieving the user’s symptoms. Contrary to popular belief, there’s no difference between recreational marijuana and medical marijuana. Both types produce the same natural chemicals, active ingredients, and terpenes, although medical cannabis may be subject to stricter harvesting laws in states which allow both recreational and medical grow operations.
What are the active ingredients in medical marijuana?
Marijuana contains thousands of natural chemical compounds, each playing a role in its distinct psychoactive effect. However, there are two active compounds which are responsible for the most commonly sought effects from medical cannabis. These compounds are known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
THC is the most widely known psychoactive compound in marijuana. Researchers believe it’s responsible for the popular “high” feeling people seek when they use cannabis recreationally.
CBD is growing in popularity throughout the United States as research confirms it’s medical benefits. Unlike THC, CBD is not responsible for any psychoactive effects and is widely considered to be more medically beneficial than other natural chemicals in marijuana. For example, CBD is famously useful for treating epilepsy, as evidenced in the new cannabis-derived prescription drug Epidiolex that’s undergoing clinical trials.
What are common uses for medical marijuana?
Depending on the state, a person must exhibit one or more conditions that may be treated with medical marijuana to legally purchase the substance. Approved conditions vary between states, but the most common reasons people use medical cannabis include treatment for:
Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases
According to recent studies, CBD offers anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, neuroprotective, antioxidant, anxiolytic, antipsychotic, and antiemetic properties. For these reasons, some medical professionals suggest CBD may be beneficial for patients with Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, fetal hypoxia, and other movement disorders or neurodegenerative conditions.
However, it’s important for individuals to remember that medical cannabis is still in its earliest stages of research due to historical bans on studies with the substance. Studies may suggest a wide range of benefits from using medical cannabis, but further clinical research is needed to confirm many of these claims.
Does medical marijuana have side effects?
Relatively minimal side effects are one of the major reasons some patients pursue medical cannabis treatments as an alternative to prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications. However, there are a few adverse effects users should be aware of if they treat their conditions with medical marijuana, especially at higher doses.
When used in low or moderate doses, medical cannabis can lead to side effects like dry mouth and fatigue. These effects will pass over the course of the drugs duration, and shouldn’t have any long-term impact on the user’s health.
At higher doses, medical marijuana can cause side effects like:
Visual or auditory hallucinations
Some medical professionals have expressed concerns about medical marijuana use among teenagers because of the increased risk to their immature brains and neurological systems. If a person’s neurological functions are not fully developed, they may have an increased risk of schizophrenia or a relative loss of IQ if exposed to marijuana. For this reason, most medical professionals agree adolescents should avoid medical marijuana use.
Additionally, there is widespread public concern about driving under the influence of medical cannabis. Using medical marijuana can reduce a person’s reaction time similarly to alcohol, leading to a higher rate of motor vehicle accidents among drivers who are under the influence of cannabis.
Is medical marijuana legal?
At the time of writing, 33 states have legalized medical cannabis. In these 33 states, individuals with qualifying health conditions can receive a medical marijuana card to present at licensed dispensaries, letting them purchase cannabis according to the state’s restrictions.
However, cannabis remains a Schedule 1 drug as determined by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). this makes cannabis illegal at the federal level, both medicinally and recreationally.
In states where medical cannabis programs are legal, participant are still required to get authorization from a medical professional stating that cannabis will adequately treat their medical conditions, and they must receive a prescription. It is illegal for a person to purchase medical marijuana in states with qualifying programs if they haven’t legally obtained a medical marijuana identification card.
How do patients purchase medical marijuana?
In states where medical cannabis is legal, specialized shops – commonly known as dispensaries – are licensed to sell campus. These dispensaries sell marijuana products in many forms, which may include Edibles, extracts, oils, and plant matter. Dispensaries are legally required to sell cannabis within the licensing state’s regulations and must require customers to present their medical marijuana cards before making transactions.
In June of 2018, Oklahoma became the 30th state to legalize the sale and use of medical marijuana to licensed patients and caregivers within its borders. This is impactful on many levels. Alongside medical marijuana possession limits, a license-holder may possess up to one ounce of concentrate and up to 72 ounces of edibles.
This exciting news is giving rise to more than just medical marijuana. Products containing CBD and THC, like bath bombs, Raw Flower Extract, and edibles are also on the rise.
Components of Cannabis
We’re going to wax a little science-nerd here, but we’ll make it as painless as possible. CBD is the acronym for cannabidiol, while THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol. Both are constituents of the cannabis and industrial hemp plants. There are some distinctions to be made in the different kinds of CBD and whether it’s combined with THC.
Cannabidiol is the non-psychoactive part of the cannabis or industrial hemp plant. Industrial hemp has negligible amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol and no part of the plant will get you high. Some cannabis strains are grown with low tetrahydrocannabinol, specifically for enhanced pain relief without the psychoactive effects.
Tetrahydrocannabinol is the major psychoactive component of cannabis. This is what accounts for the euphoria experienced with marijuana use and some THC-containing products.
With some health conditions, relief can only be obtained by the combination of CBD and THC. Not only does cannabidiol deliver its own payload of symptom relief, but it can block or balance the psychoactive properties of THC. This is good news if you are a person who is made uncomfortable by the high that comes from THC products.
When it comes to cannabidiol, there is the isolate form and the whole flower form. The isolate form is just like it sounds. The cannabidiol is isolated from the other components of the plant and used alone. Some people’s health conditions respond better to this form of CBD.
If yours is not one of those conditions or you are taking CBD for general wellness, you are better off using the raw flower form of CBD. To help explain why, let’s talk about Raw Flower Extract.
Raw Flower Extract
Raw Flower Extract is the result of extracting methods that process the whole flower in its raw, complete form. No stems or leaves are used in this process. The extract is water soluble rather than being oil-based. Don’t expect Raw Flower Extract to have a clear appearance. It is normal for it to have some color variations and you may see some plant material.
You can use Raw Flower Extract directly and enjoy all the benefits. It can also be an ingredient in other things you buy or make. Layering multiple delivery methods can help keep you even and fill in any gaps in your regimen.
The Entourage Effect
The most exciting part about Raw Flower Extract is what is known as The Entourage Effect, which is the synergistic interaction of using all parts of the flower together. More than 480 natural components working together provide far greater results than isolated compounds working alone. Some of these compounds are naturally occurring cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and fatty acids. We get a lot of these compounds outside of cannabis as well.
For instance, flavonoids are responsible for the bright, non-green colors we see in plants, such as the red pop of strawberries or the inky hue of blackberries. These powerhouses have antiviral, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory benefits, which are especially pronounced in cannabis.
Terpenes sound exotic, but we have unknowingly experienced them in fruits and flowers. Examples of common terpenes are the limonene found in citrus fruits and the linalool found in lavender. Many of us have enjoyed the therapeutic effects of terpenes in the form of aromatherapy.
All of these work together to provide a balanced, longer-lasting, more powerful effect. Think of enhanced, gentle relief from pain, insomnia, depression, anxiety, acne, epilepsy, nausea, or the effects of MS. These are just the tip of the iceberg as far as conditions cannabis products can help relieve. The list is growing all the time as more and more people in the mainstream begin using cannabis and hemp products.
Groovier Bath Bombs
Don’t you just love it when a good thing gets even better? Regular bath bombs just got one-upped by CBD/THC bath bombs. They are every bit as dreamy as they sound.
In case you’re not familiar, bath bombs are commonly ball-shaped, dry concoctions of sodium bicarbonate and crystallized citric acid. These two magic-makers are usually mixed with essential oils and colorants to great effect. They are designed to fizz when they hit the water and release their wild colors and scents within about five minutes. The aim of these bath bombs is to provide you with a fun, relaxing bath time that is good for the skin and olfactory senses. Think of them as aromatherapy with color and bubbles.
If you were thinking that sounded amazing, this is going to blow your mind. Now you can get them with CBD alone or in combination with THC. Relaxation has ascended to new heights. The best ones are made with Raw Flower Extract.
These cannabis-enriched bath bombs not only relieve inflammation and pain, but ease depression and anxiety. They provide nutrition to the skin and help repair damage caused by free radicals. They can help you even out your mood, get ready for sleep, and soothe body aches. Your skin will be glowing as you glide happily toward bed.
Bath bombs are very user-friendly. Simply draw your bath and toss it in. Within five minutes, it will have dispersed and you can get in. You’ll want to soak for 20-30 minutes to get the most benefit.
Will Cannabis Bath Bombs and Other Topicals Get You High?
This is, understandably, a burning question. The simple answer is no. Cannabis-infused bath bombs and other concoctions you can apply to your skin are known as topicals. Topicals containing CBD and/or THC are absorbed through the skin, but do not enter the bloodstream.
The cannabidiol will not get you high in any form. While the THC is known for being the major psychoactive component of cannabis, you’d have to smoke it, vape it or eat it in order for it to interact with your brain. It must enter the bloodstream in order to penetrate the blood-brain barrier.
So what do you get? You get the pain relief, the calm, and all the other good things that cannabis is known for.
Buy or Make
You can buy ready-made bombs from your dispensary or even online. A quick search on the Internet will yield a bevy of vendors from which to buy. The crafty ones among us will be glad to know that there are plenty of recipes online for making your own bath bombs. This means you can have ultimate control over colors and scents, which includes not using any at all.
Colorants and Cleaning
Natural colorants are preferred because many people are sensitive to dyes. You also want to make sure they won’t stain your skin or the tub. A good rule of thumb is that any cleaner with a surfactant (even body wash) will remove colorants from your tub. If you happen to get a stubborn color, don’t panic. A paste made of lemon juice and sodium bicarbonate should do the trick. A little elbow grease wouldn’t hurt either. The Ease of Edibles
Edibles are a wonderful option for those who are concerned about lung irritation or need to extend the duration of their relief. No other method of administration provides longer-lasting relief than edibles.
Since this form of delivery is eaten rather than inhaled, it goes through the liver and releases its benefits as it is digested. This slower, more metered relief may arrive in as early as 30 minutes or may take as long as two hours. While smoking or vaping deliver faster results, the relief derived from edibles can last 2-4 hours longer than inhalation methods. Layering edibles with other forms of CBD and THC can help fill in the gaps and provide a more complete relief than any one method alone.
Care should be taken with dosage amounts, especially with THC-containing edibles, so that you don’t accidentally consume much more than you intended. It’s pretty easy to thoughtlessly eat a whole brownie because that’s the standard serving size for a normal one.
Another caution is to keep any THC-containing edible items safely out of the reach of children and pets. Your incredible edibles are reserved for their intended audience and you have peace of mind.
If you are handy in the kitchen and feeling adventurous, you can make your own edibles. This is an especially good idea if you are sensitive to ingredients found in commercially-made products. Of course, if you know you could make amazing edibles, that is reason enough by itself.
You can make the typical brownies, cookies, and other baked goods, but there are nearly endless ways to add Raw Flower Extract to your food. The less you heat it, the better it will work. Too much heat can destroy the beneficial properties, so consider it as being similar to olive oil in its heat sensitivities.
You can use the extract to make canna-butter which can be added to food in an astonishing number of ways. You can add some extract to your morning coffee, but you’ll want to wait until after you’ve put your creamer in, so it’s a little cooler. If you like nut butter, you can add some to your serving before using it. You can add it to hummus and guacamole or put it in your condiments. The possibilities are nearly endless. There are so many canna-recipes online, you could blissfully tumble down this rabbit hole for days.
If you’re going to take up the quest to make your own edibles, some investigation into the proper amounts to use is recommended. It’s important to have some idea of how much cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol you are getting with each serving.
While being sick or in pain is never a happy situation, there has never been a better time for natural healing and pain relief. There are so many ways to add cannabis into your life. No one way will work for every person. The sheer number of choices can be overwhelming, so we have attempted to cut through some of the noise to help you find options that may work for you and your situation.
We have covered Raw Flower Extract, cannabis-infused bombs for the bath, and the wide world of edibles. It is our hope that some of them (or maybe even all of them) can bring the relief that you or a loved one needs to get through the days and nights ahead.
At the end of the day, we have our own research and experimentation to take us a little further down the road. We can learn from our own experience and that of others. What’s more, we can contribute to the growing body of knowledge that can help others in this growing community.