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Medical Marijuana 101

A little green to this cannabis thing? Let's go over the basics.
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Common Cannabis Terms & Definitions

Cannabis Sativa

The scientific name for the cannabis plant.  You might refer to it as cannabis, weed, pot, marijuana, or mary jane, and that’s just fine. The two varieties of cannabis, sativa and indica, are considered subspecies.

Cannabinoids

Compounds that interact with our bodies’ cannabinoid receptors, produced naturally within our bodies and found in the cannabis sativa plant. THC and CBD are the most well known, but there are at least 144 known cannabinoids.

Terpenes

Compounds found in a variety of plants, including cannabis, terpenes are responsible for the aromas, flavors, and some of the therapeutic benefits of cannabis.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

There are 4 major types of THC present in the cannabis plant, THCa, THCv, Delta-8 THC, and Delta-9 THC, and they all have different medical benefits. For example, Delta-9 THC is responsible for giving you a head high.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

One of our favorite cannabinoids! CBD helps relieve pain, works as a sleep aid, decreases stress, and much more. Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t get you high and even helps buffer the effects of THC when needed.

Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

We all have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) which produces and processes cannabinoids. It works hard to regulate lots of systems, including memory, digestion, motor function, immunity, inflammation, appetite, pain, blood pressure, bone growth, and the protection of nerve and brain tissues, just to name a few.

Entourage Effect

When each part of the plant works together in perfect harmony, primarily cannabinoids and terpenes, it creates a desirable and highly therapeutic experience known as the entourage effect. It’s a beautiful thing.

Isolate

A highly concentrated, purified form of an individual cannabinoid. CBD is one of the most common isolates you’ll find.

Tincture

A liquid that contains a concentrated herbal extract. Tinctures can be ingested under your tongue or added to food and drinks.

Indica vs. Sativa

Nighttime use / relaxing

Daytime use / alertness

Sleep aid

Uplifting & euphoric

Appetite stimulant

Increases creativity

Pain reliever

Energizing

CBD vs. THC

The two most well-known compounds found in the Cannabis Sativa plant, understanding these complementary cannabinoids will set you up for treatment success.
Learn More

Medical Marijuana Rumors vs. Facts

Rumor:
Marijuana kills brain cells.
Fact
Studies have found that it actually promotes the development & growth of new brain cells. In studies of animals, cannabinoids (the substances found in marijuana, a.k.a., cannabis) actually increase brain cell growth. Scientists are also studying the role of marijuana in treating neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s & Lou Gehrig's disease.
Rumor:
Marijuana makes you high.
Fact
Certain strains of marijuana have been bred to create an intense euphoria & heighten a recreational user’s senses. Over time, however, Medical Marijuana growers have developed strains of marijuana to focus solely on health benefits — some that can reduce or even eliminate psychoactivity.

Studies have also found that strains containing higher amounts of CBD rather than THC have a calming effect, rather than a euphoric “high.” Certain ratios of CBD to THC, typically from 1:1 to 4:1, can often buffer the psychoactivity of THC. This is recommended for neuropathy, migraines & PTSD, but always talk to your provider about specific ratios & products for your condition. They’re there to help you find your “just right” dose.
Rumor:
Marijuana is a gateway to other drugs.
Fact
Studies have found that marijuana is used far more as an “exit drug” rather than a gateway drug. Medical Marijuana can be used to substitute alcohol, opioid & more dangerous illicit drug dependencies. In fact, states with recreational or Medical Marijuana programs have dramatically reduced opioid prescription & overdose rates.
Rumor:
Marijuana causes addictive dependency.
Fact
Medical Cannabis should always be used with caution & under the direction of your healthcare provider. The risk of developing a cannabis-use dependency is higher for patients who use products with higher THC content or have a history of substance abuse or addiction. Physical addiction & withdrawal symptoms are rare.
Rumor:
Marijuana affects lung health.
Fact
Studies have shown that smoking marijuana over an exponential amount of time is associated with decreased lung & respiratory health. Patients seeking relief through Medical Marijuana can minimize long-term effects by reaching for a dry-herb vape over inhaled methods involving combustion. (Vaping cannabis flower in a dry herb vaporizer has not been linked to increased risk of lung disease according to the National Academy of Science 2017 report.) Patients may also find relief using other forms that don’t require inhalation, like edibles, topical creams, and liquid extracts (a.k.a., tinctures).
Rumor:
Marijuana will make you gain weight.
Fact
We’ve all heard the joke that marijuana causes “the munchies,” but on average, cannabis users have a lower Body Mass Index. Depending on the level of THC & other cannabinoids found in a marijuana product, it may cause an increase in appetite, which can be a desirable effect for some conditions. Medical Marijuana is commonly recommended to people suffering from eating disorders as an appetite stimulant. This property also comes in handy when dealing with chemotherapy-related nausea, which we’ve found cannabis treats in a much more effective way than some traditional prescription medications.

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