Finding the best strain of medical cannabis along with the best delivery method is the key to getting the most benefits from your medicine. Getting “the biggest bang for your buck” is also very important for many people; you don’t want to waste money on a product that doesn’t work for you.
For the new medical cannabis person, initially, there is a lot of trial and error required to finding the ideal strain/delivery method. This may hold true, as well, for the seasoned user with all the newly developed strains and choices of delivery now available.
A medical cannabis patient medication log is a great tool that allows you to keep track of your medical cannabis usage and will ultimately lead you to your goal of improving your health and not just treating it by knowing the best strain/method to achieve that.
Keeping an accurate journal of your medical cannabis use and dosage can also be a very useful tool for your doctor(s), healthcare provider(s), and for Petitioning your State’s Department of Health (if you as a patient need access to more quantity or concentrates with higher potency).
Also consider that with the lack thereof in clinical trials for medical cannabis in the US; an accurate journal of your medicals cannabis use and dosage can also be a very useful tool for researchers and scientists.
Know Your Variety
Cannabis comes in many varieties, roughly divided between Sativas that originated near the equator and Indicas that come from northern latitudes, though modern breeding programs have created a wide range of hybrids. Each variety has its own cannabinoid and terpene profile and subtly different effects. Whether you use Sativa-dominant, Indica-dominant, CBD products, or a Hybrid it makes a difference.
- Take note of what effect each variety produce for you (therapeutic and side effects); keeping a log can be helpful.
- Use higher potency cannabis so you use less medicine. Concentrates can be useful, particularly if you need higher doses.
- For concentrates, use a glass pipe made for cannabis concentrates.
- Experiment with high CBD strains, particularly for nausea, appetite, and pain.
- Change the variety if the one you're using seems to be losing its effectiveness.
- Whenever possible, choose organic cannabis products. Never consume cannabis that has been treated with pesticides.
Think About Drug Interactions
No significant interactions between cannabis and other drugs are known at this time, though research indicates cannabis enhances the effects of opiate painkillers. Little is known about the interaction of cannabis and other pharmaceutical medications, but it is important to consider any complementary effects.
Talk to your doctor or find a doctor who you can talk to about medical cannabis. Some studies show interactions with barbiturates, theophyline, fluxetine, disulfiram, sedatives, antihistamines, etc.
A synergistic effect can occur with alcohol use; limit mixing the two.
Consider Safety. For yourself and your community.
Indicas can cause drowsiness-avoid driving or operating heavy machinery when using your medicine.
Don't consume cannabis and drive. Cannabis use can impair motor skills. Find a safe environment to consume your medicine. Wait at least 1-2 hours after you medicate before getting behind the wheel.
Managing Medicine Costs.
If paying for your medicine is an issue, try a few of these tips.
- Track your costs to get an accurate picture of your spending on cannabis.
- Take a “grow your own” class and explore growing your own medicine or work with a small group of patient cultivators.
- If you access your medicine through a dispensary, use discount cards or investigate other ways to receive free or discounted medicine (like a low-income program, sliding scale program, activism volunteer)
- Store your medicine properly to maintain quality over time. Airtight glass jars kept in a cool dark space work best.
Keeping A Medical Cannabis Log.
To establish an optimal treatment regime with cannabis, you will need to balance the effects of different strains, doses, and methods of ingestion. It may be helpful to record your therapeutic relationship with cannabis on an ongoing basis. One method is through keeping a Medical Cannabis Wellness Journal- that captures your experience, including thoughts, feeling and behaviors. Periodically reviewing the log can help both you and your doctor make decisions about what works best.
In keeping a medication log, try to keep things standardized, and be as consistent as possible. Here are some logging tips on useful information to collect:
- Date/Time: Record every time you consume cannabis with the current date and time of day.
- Amount: The amount of cannabis used (gram estimate or other consistent measure).
- Strain: The name, strain or variety of the cannabis strain or variety of cannabis medicine used. If you don't know the name, write a detailed description of the medicine.
- Code: Strains are generally described as Indica, Sativa, or hybrid. You may want to code your entries: I=Indica, S=Sativa, S/I=Sativa-dominant Indica Cross, and I/S= Indica-dominant Sativa Cross.
- Type is the form of cannabis consumed: dried bud flower (most common), concentrates, tincture/sprays, edibles/drinks or topical. You may want to use: F=flower, C=concentrate, T=tincture/spray, E=edible, TO=topical.
- Cannabinoid Content: refers to the percent of THC, CBD and/or CBN. If you have this information available to you, write down percentages of each cannabinoid. If you're using edibles or similar, a description of potency and preparation is helpful.
- Mode: Write down how you used your medication. Either inhale via S=smoke or V=vaporize, E=eat/digest, T=tincture or spray, TO=topic
- Therapeutic Effects: List any positive effects you experience (physical, mental, social, behavioral, etc).
- Negative Side Effects: List your negative effects
- Timing: How quickly did you experience the first therapeutic effects? When did you feel the peak of relief? When did it start to noticeably dissipate? How long until effects were gone?
- What prompted your cannabis use? List the specific factors that told you it was time for medicine, as well as the general symptoms or conditions being treated (e.g. pain, nausea, anxiety, etc. (Regularly Scheduled Dosage Time or Extra Dosage Needed)
- How did you feel (mindset)? Record your mood and feelings before and after you used cannabis.
- Where were you (setting)? Were you at home, at a collective, in your office? Sitting, standing, lying down?
- Who were you with? Were you by yourself, with a friend, a large group, among other cannabis consumers, etc?
- What were you doing? Just before you used cannabis, what was going on? What were the activities or circumstances leading up to it?
Print A Free Copy Of The Medical Cannabis Wellness Journal Here
Cannabis is a flowering plant that has fibrous stalks used for paper, clothing, rope, and building materials leaves, flowers, and roots used for medicinal purposes, and seeds used for food and fuel oil. Cannabis leaves and flowers are consumed in several forms: dried flower buds or various types of concentrated, loose, or pressed resin extracted from the flowers or leaves through a variety of methods. Once mature, the plant’s leaves and flowers are covered with trichomes, tiny glands of resinous oil containing cannabinoids and terpenes that provide physical and psychoactive effects.
100+ different types of cannabinoids and terpenes.
Concentrations or percent of each type of cannabinoid ranges widely from plant to plant and strain to strain.
The first identified and best-known cannabinoid is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). THC has the most significant psychoactive effect of the cannabinoids. The ratio of THC to other cannabinoids varies from strain to strain. While THC has been the focus of breeding and research due to its various psychoactive and therapeutic effects, non-psychoactive cannabinoids have physiologic effects that can be therapeutic.
- Cannabidiol (CBD) relieves convulsions, inflammation, anxiety and nausea—many of the same therapeutic qualities as THC but without psychoactive effects. It is the main cannabinoid in low-THC cannabis strains, and modern breeders have been developing strains with greater CBD content for medical use.
- Cannabinol (CBN) is mildly psychoactive, decreases intraocular pressure, and seizure occurrence.
- Cannabichromene (CBC) promotes the analgesic effects (pain relief) of THC and has sedative (calming) effects.
- Cannabigerol (CBG) has sedative effects and antimicrobial properties, as well as lowers intraocular pressure.
- Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is showing promise for type 2 diabetes and related metabolic disorders.
In addition to cannabinoids, other cannabis plant molecules are biologically active. A few other molecules known to have health effects are flavonoids and terpenes or terpenoids (the flavor and smell of the strain). Cannabinoids, terpenoids, and other compounds are secreted by the glandular trichomes found most densely on the floral leaves and flowers of female plants.
Different people have different experiences. One individual may feel stress release, while another feels overstimulated and stressed, while another feels energized and on-task. There are many factors that impact the effect:
- Amount used (dosage)
- Strain of cannabis used and method of consumption
- Experience and history of cannabis use
- Mindset or mood
- Nutrition or diet
- Types of Cannabis
Though cannabis is biologically classified as the single species Cannabis Sativa, there are at least three distinct plant varieties: Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Ruderalis, though the last is rare. There are also hybrids, which are crosses between sativa and indica varieties. Cannabis used for fiber is typically referred to as hemp and has only small amounts of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC, usually less than 1%.
Genetic “breeders” of the cannabis seed have developed thousands of different strains of cannabis from these three varieties. There are marked differences between sativa, indica, and hybrid. Today, we mostly find hybrids. It can be difficult to find pure indica or sativa.
All types of medical cannabis produce effects that are more similar than not, including pain and nausea control, appetite stimulation, reduced muscle spasm, improved sleep, and others. But individual strains will have differing cannabinoid and terpene content, producing noticeably different effects. Many people report finding some strains more beneficial than others. For instance, strains with more CBD tend to produce better pain and spasticity relief. As noted above, effects will also vary for an individual based on the setting in which it is used and the person's physiological state when using it.
In general, sativas and indicas are frequently distinguished as follows:
The primary effects are on thoughts and feelings. Sativas tend to produces stimulating feelings, and many prefer it for daytime use. Some noted therapeutic effects from use of Sativas:
- Increased sense of well-being, focus, creativity
- Reduces depression, elevates mood
- Relieves headaches/migraines/nausea
- Increases appetite
Some noted Side-Effects from use of Sativas
- Increased anxiety feelings
- Increased paranoia feelings
The primary effects are on the body. Indicas tend to produce sedated feelings, and many prefer it for nighttime use.
Some noted Therapeutic Effects from use of Indicas:
- Provides relaxation/reduces stress
- Relaxes muscles/spasms
- Reduces pain/inflammation/headaches/migraines
- Helps sleep
- Reduces anxiety
- Reduces nausea, stimulates appetite
- Reduces intraocular pressure
- Reduces seizure frequency/anticonvulsant
- Some noted side-effects from use of Indicas:
- Feelings of tiredness
- “Fuzzy” thinking
Strains bred from crossing two or more varieties, with typically one dominant. For example, a sativa-dominant cross may be helpful in stimulating appetite and relaxing muscle spasms. Crosses are reported to work well to combat nausea and increase appetite.
Terpenes in Medical Cannabis
The cannabis plant consists of a wide variety of chemicals and compounds. About 140 of these belong to a large class of aromatic organic hydrocarbons known as terpenes (pronounced tur-peens). You may have also heard people talk about terpenoids. The words terpene and terpenoid are increasingly used interchangeably, although these terms do have different meanings. The main difference between terpenes and terpenoids is that terpenes are hydrocarbons (meaning the only elements present are carbon and hydrogen); whereas, terpenoids have been denatured by oxidation (drying and curing the flowers) or chemically modified.
Myrcene, specifically β-myrcene, is a monoterpene and the most common terpene produced by cannabis (some varieties contain up to 60% of the essential oil). Its aroma has been described as musky, earthy, herbal – akin to cloves. A high myrcene level in cannabis (usually above 0.5%) results in the well-known “couch-lock” effect of classic Indica strains. Myrcene is found in oil of hops, citrus fruits, bay leaves, eucalyptus, wild thyme, lemon grass and many other plants.
Myrcene has some very special medicinal properties, including lowering the resistance across the blood to brain barrier, allowing itself and many other chemicals to cross the barrier easier and more quickly. In the case of cannabinoids (like THC), myrcene allows the effects of the cannabinoid to take effect more quickly. More uniquely still, myrcene has been shown to increase the maximum saturation level of the CB1 receptor, allowing for a greater maximum psychoactive effect.
Myrcene is a potent analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antimutagenic. It blocks the action of cytochrome, aflatoxin B and other pro-mutagenic carcinogens. The Bonamin et al study focused on the role of β-myrcene in preventing peptic ulcer disease. The study revealed that β-myrcene acts as an inhibitor of gastric and duodenal ulcers, suggesting it may be helpful in preventing peptic ulcer disease. Its sedative and relaxing effects also make it ideal for the treatment of insomnia and pain.
Since myrcene is normally found in essential oil from citrus fruit, many claim eating a fresh mango about 45 minutes before consuming cannabis will result in a faster onset of psycho activity and greater intensity. Be sure to choose a mango that is ripe otherwise the myrcene level will be too low to make a difference.
Pinene is a bicyclic monoterpenoid. Akin to its name, pinene has distinctive aromas of pine and fir. There are two structural isomers of pinene found in nature: α-pinene and β-pinene. Both forms are important components of pine resin. α-pinene is the most widely encountered terpenoid in nature. Pinene is found in many other conifers, as well as in non-coniferous plants. It is found mostly in balsamic resin, pine woods and some citrus fruits. The two isomers of pinene constitute the main component of wood turpentine. Pinene is one of the principal monoterpenes that is important physiologically in both plants and animals. It tends to react with other chemicals, forming a variety of other terpenes (like limonene) and other compounds.
Pinene is used in medicine as an anti-inflammatory, expectorant, bronchodilator and local antiseptic. α-pinene is a natural compound isolated from pine needle oil which has shown anti-cancer activityand has been used as an anti-cancer agent in Traditional Chinese Medicine for many years. It is also believed that the effects of THC may be lessened if mixed with pinene.
Limonene is a monocyclic monoterpenoid and one of two major compounds formed from pinene. As the name suggests, varieties high in limonene have strong citrusy smells like oranges, lemons and limes. Strains high in limonene promote a general uplift in mood and attitude. This citrusy terpene is the major constituent in citrus fruit rinds, rosemary, juniper and peppermint, as well as in several pine needle oils.
Limonene is highly absorbed by inhalation and quickly appears in the bloodstream. It assists in the absorption of other terpenes through the skin and other body tissue. It is well documented that limonene suppresses the growth of many species of fungi and bacteria, making it an ideal antifungal agent for ailments such as toenail fungus. Limonene may be beneficial in protecting against various cancers, and orally administered limonene is currently undergoing clinical trials in the treatment of breast cancer. Limonene has been found to even help promote weight-loss.
Plants use limonene as a natural insecticide to ward off predators. Limonene was primarily used in food and perfumes until a couple of decades ago, when it became better known as the main active ingredient in citrus cleaner. It has very low toxicity and adverse effects are rarely associated with it.
Beta-caryophyllene is a sesquiterpene found in many plants such as Thai basils, cloves, cinnamon leaves and black pepper, and in minor quantities in lavender. It’s aroma has been described as peppery, woody and/or spicy. Caryophyllene is the only terpene known to interact with the endocannabinoid system (CB2). Studies show β–caryophyllene holds promise in cancer treatment plans. Research shows shows that β–caryophyllene selectively binds to the CB2 receptor and that it is a functional CB2 agonist. Further, β–caryophyllene was identified as a functional non-psychoactive CB2 receptor ligand in foodstuff and as a macrocyclic anti-inflammatory cannabinoid in cannabis.
The Fine/Rosenfeld pain study demonstrates that other phytocannabinoids in combination, especially cannabidiol (CBD) and β-caryophyllene, delivered by the oral route appear to be promising candidates for the treatment of chronic pain due to their high safety and low adverse effects profiles.
The Horváth et al study suggests β-caryophyllene, through a CB2 receptor dependent pathway, may be an excellent therapeutic agent to prevent nephrotoxicity (poisonous effect on the kidneys) caused by anti-cancer chemotherapy drugs such as cisplatin.
The Jeena, Liju et al study investigated the chemical composition of essential oil isolated from black pepper, of which caryophyllene is a main constituent, and studied its pharmacological properties. Black pepper oil was found to possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive properties. This suggests that high-caryophyllene strains may be useful in treating a number of medical issues such as arthritis and neuropathy pain.
Beta-caryophyllene is used especially in chewing gum when combined with other spicy mixtures or citrus flavorings.
Linalool is a non-cyclic monoterpenoid and has been described as having floral and lavender undertones. Varieties high in linalool promote calming, relaxing effects.
Linalool has been used for centuries as a sleep aid. Linalool lessens the anxious emotions provoked by pure THC, thus making it helpful in the treatment of both psychosis and anxiety. Studies also suggest that linalool boosts the immune system; can significantly reduce lung inflammation; and can restore cognitive and emotional function (making it useful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease).
As shown by the Ma, J., Xu et al study, linalool may significantly reduce lung inflammation caused by cigarette smoke by blocking the carcinogenesis induced by benz[α]anthracene, a component of the tar generated by the combustion of tobacco. This finding indicates limonene may be helpful in reducing the harm caused by inhaling cannabis smoke.
Linalool boosts the immune system as it directly activates immune cells through specific receptors and/or pathways. The Sabogal-Guáqueta et al study suggests linalool may reverse the histopathological (the microscopic examination of biological tissues to observe the appearance of diseased cells and tissues in very fine detail) hallmarks of Alzheimer’s Disease and could restore cognitive and emotional functions via an anti-inflammatory effect.
The Environmental Protection Agency has approved its use as a pesticide, flavor agent and scent. It is used in a wide variety of bath and body products and is commonly listed under ingredients for these products as beta linalool, linalyl alcohol, linaloyl oxide, p-linalool and alloocimenol. Its vapors have been shown to be an effective insecticide against fruit flies, fleas and cockroaches.
Linalool has been isolated in several hundred different plants. The Lamiaceae plant and herb family, which includes mints and other scented herbs, are common sources. The Lauraceae plant family, which includes laurels, cinnamon, and rosewood, is also a readily available source. The Rutaceae family, which contains citrus plants, is another viable source. Birch trees and several different plant species that are found in tropical and boreal climate zones also produce linalool. Although technically not plants, some fungi produce linalool, as well. Linalool is a critical precursor in the formation of Vitamin E.
Terpinolene is a common component of sage and rosemary and is found in the oil derived from Monterey cypress. Its largest use in the United States is in soaps and perfumes. It is also a great insect repellent. Terpinolene is known to have a piney aroma with slight herbal and floral nuances. It tends to have a sweet flavor reminiscent of citrus fruits like oranges and lemons.
Terpinolene has been found to be a central nervous system depressant used to induce drowsiness or sleep or to reduce psychological excitement or anxiety. Further, terpinolene was found to markedly reduce the protein expression of AKT1 in K562 cells and inhibited cell proliferation involved in a variety of human cancers.
Camphene, a plant-derived monoterpene, emits pungent odors of damp woodlands and fir needles. Camphene may play a critical role in cardiovascular disease.
The Vallianou et al study found camphene reduces plasma cholesterol and triglycerides in hyperlipidemic rats. Given the importance that the control of hyperlipidemia plays in heart disease, the results of this study provide insight into to how camphene might be used as an alternative to pharmaceutical lipid lowering agents which are proven to cause intestinal problems, liver damage and muscle inflammation. This finding alone warrants further investigation.
Camphene is a minor component of many essential oils such as turpentine, camphor oil, citronella oil and ginger oil. It is used as a food additive for flavoring, and also used in the preparation of fragrances. It is produced industrially by catalytic isomerization of the more common α-pinene.
α-Terpineol, terpinen-4-ol, and 4-terpineol are three closely related monoterpenoids. The aroma of terpineol has been compared to lilacs and flower blossoms. Terpineol is often found in cannabis varieties that have high pinene levels, which unfortunately mask the fragrant aromas of terpineol.
Terpineol, specifically α-terpineol, is known to have calming, relaxing effects. It also exhibits antibiotic, AChe inhibitor and antioxidant antimalarial properties.
Phellandrene is described as pepperminty, with a slight scent of citrus. Phellandrene is believed to have special medicinal values. It has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat digestive disorders. It is one of the main compounds in turmeric leaf oil, which is used to prevent and treat systemic fungal infections.
Phellandrene is perhaps the easiest terpene to identify in the lab. When a solution of phellandrene in a solvent (or an oil containing phellandrene) is treated with a concentrated solution of sodium nitrate and then with a few drops of glacial acetic acid, very large crystals of phellandrene nitrate speedily form.
Phellandrene was first discovered in eucalyptus oil. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that it was actually constituted and shown that phellandrene from eucalyptus oil contained two isomeric phellandrene (usually referred to as α-phellandrene and β-phellandrene), and on oxidation with potassium permanganate gave distinct acids, concluding that the acids had been derived from two different isomeric phellandrene. Before that, phellandrene was mistaken for pinene or limonene. Today, we are aware of many essential oils where phellandrene is present. It is, however, a somewhat uncertain terpene as it can only be detected in the oils of some species, especially in Eucalypts, at particular times of the year.
Phellandrene can be found in a number of herbs and spices, including cinnamon, garlic, dill, ginger and parsley. A number of plants produce β-phellandrene as a constituent of their essential oils, including lavender and grand fir. The recognizable odors of some essential oils depend almost entirely upon the presence of phellandrene. Oil of pepper and dill oil are composed almost entirely of phellandrene. The principal constituent in oil of ginger is phellandrene. Phellandrene, particularly α-phellandrene, is absorbed through the skin, making it attractive for use in perfumes. It is also used as a flavoring for food products.
Delta-3-carene is a bicyclic monoterpene with a sweet, pungent odor. It is found naturally in many healthy, beneficial essential oils, including cypress oil, juniper berry oil and fir needle essential oils. In higher concentrations, delta-3-carene can be a central nervous system depressant. It is often used to dry out excess body fluids, such as tears, mucus, and sweat.
It is nontoxic, but may cause irritation when inhaled. Perhaps high concentrations of delta-3-carene in some strains may be partially responsible for symptoms of coughing, itchy throat and eye afflictions when smoking cannabis.
Delta-3-carene is also naturally present in pine extract, bell pepper, basil oil, grapefruit and orange juices, citrus peel oils from fruits like lemons, limes, mandarins, tangerines, oranges and kumquats.
Carene is a major component of turpentine and is used as a flavoring in many products.
Humulene is a sesquiterpene also known as α-humulene and α–caryophyllene; an isomer of β–caryophyllene. Humulene is found in hops, cannabis sativa strains, and Vietnamese coriander, among other naturally occurring substances. Humulene is what gives beer its distinct ‘hoppy’ aroma.
Humulene is considered to be anti-tumor, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anorectic (suppresses appetite). It has commonly been blended with β–caryophyllene and used as a major remedy for inflammation. Humulene has been used for generations in Chinese medicine. It aids in weight loss by acting as an appetite suppressant.
Pulegone, a monocyclic monoterpenoid, is a minor component of cannabis. Higher concentrations of pulegone are found in rosemary. Rosemary breaks down acetylcholine in the brain, allowing nerve cells to communicate more effectively with one another.
An ethnopharmacology study indicates pulegone may have significant sedative and fever-reducing properties. It may also alleviate the side effects of short-term memory loss sometimes associated with higher levels of THC.
Pulegone has a pleasant peppermint aroma and is considered to be a strong insecticide.
Sabinene is a bicyclic monoterpene whose aromas are reminiscent of the holidays (pines, oranges, spices). Results of an ongoing study by Valente et al suggest that sabinene should be explored further as a natural source of new antioxidant and anti-inflammatory drugs for the development of food supplements, nutraceuticals or plant-based medicines.
Sabinene occurs in many plants, including Norway spruce, black pepper, basil and Myristica fragrans (an evergreen indigenous to the Moluccas)—the Spice Islands of Indonesia. The seeds of the Myristica fragrans are the world’s main source of nutmeg. Sabinene exists as (+)- and (–)-enantiomers.
Geraniol produces a sweet, delightful smell similar to roses. This makes geraniol a popular choice for many bath and body products. It is also known to be an effective mosquito repellant. Medically, geraniol shows promise in the treatment of neuropathy.
How Can I Use Cannabis More Safely?
Adjust the way you use cannabis. One of the great aspects of cannabis is that there are many ways to use the medicine effectively.
Ingest via Eating
This is one of the safest ways to consume your medication, but understand that the effects from eaten cannabis may be more pronounced and onset of the effects will be delayed by an hour or more and typically last longer than inhalation. Using edible cannabis effectively will usually take some experimentation with particular product types and dosage. Digesting cannabis also metabolizes the cannabinoids somewhat differently and can produce different subjective effects, depending on the individual.
Use small amounts of edibles and wait 2 hours before gradually increasing the dose, if needed. Take care to find and use the right dose-excessive dosage can be uncomfortable and happens most often with edibles.
Try cannabis pills made with hash or cannabis oil or ingest via Tinctures/Sprays
Find your ideal dosage to enhance your therapeutic benefits. Start with no more than two drops and wait at least an hour before increasing the dosage, incrementally and as necessary.
Apply via Topicals
This is one of the safest ways to consume your medication and may be the best option for certain pains or ailments. Rubbing cannabis products on the skin will not result in a psychoactive effect.
Inhale via Smoking
Because the effects are noticed or felt quickly, this is a good way to get immediate relief and find the best dose for you. Research has shown that smoking cannabis does not increase your risk of lung or other cancers, but because it entails inhaling tars and other potential irritants, it may produce unpleasant bronchial effects such as harsh coughing.
Smoke as little as possible. Try 1 to 3 inhalations and wait 10 to 15 minutes to find the right dosage. Increase dosage as necessary.
Take smaller, shallower inhalations rather than deep inhales. Holding smoke in does not increase the effects; studies show that 95% of the THC is absorbed in the first few seconds of inhaling.
If consuming with others, for health reasons, try not to share the smoking device. If sharing, quickly apply flame to the pipe mouthpiece or wipe with rubbing alcohol to kill germs.
To avoid inhaling unnecessary chemicals, use hemp paper coated with beeswax to light your medicine rather than matches or a lighter.
Inhale via Vaporizer
This is the safest way to inhale your medicine because it heats the cannabinoid-laden oils to the point where they become airborne vapors, without bringing the other plant material to combustion, drastically reducing the amount of tars and other chemical irritants that you otherwise would inhale. Vaporizers also emit much less odor than any type of smoking.
Invest in a tabletop Volcano brand vaporizer or a hand-held vaporizer (such as vaporPlus). Construct your own vaporizer if you can't afford to buy one.
Inhale via a Pipe/One-Hitter/Steam Roller
Use a glass, stainless steel, or brass pipe; avoid wood or plastic pipes. Glass one hitters, tubular pipes that contain a single dose, are the most economical devices.
Inhale via a Bong/Water Pipe
Don't use a bong or water pipe regularly. The water absorbs some of the THC and other cannabinoids, and you can inhale water vapor or water drops into your lungs.
Don't use a bong made from plastic, rubber or aluminum that can produce harmful fumes when heated or melted. If you do use one, change the water frequently to limit exposure to germs and viruses.
Medical Cannabis and Its Impact on Human Health a Cannabis Documentary
Cannabis Extracts and Concentrates
The dried flower or bud from the manicured, mature female plant is the most widely consumed form of cannabis in the U.S. Elsewhere in the world, extracts or concentrates of the cannabis plant are more commonly used. Concentrates are made from cannabinoid-rich glandular trichomes, which are found in varying amounts on cannabis flowers, leaves and stalks. The flowers of a mature female plant contain the most trichomes.
Many methods are used to separate the trichomes from the plant:
- Sift the cannabis flower and/or leaves through a fine screen either via a mechanical/motorized tumbler or by hand. Called “dry sift.” What passes through the screen is primarily the oil-rich glandular heads.
- Roll the cannabis flowers between the fingers to rupture the trichomes and collect the resin that sticks to the fingers. Called “finger hash.”
- Submerge cannabis leaves in ice water and agitate mixture to solidify trichomes. Filter mixture through series of increasingly fine screens or bags. Dry the trichomes and press into blocks. Called “bubble hash.” This method has increased yield.
There are other ways to separate the trichomes from other plant material, such as butane extractions, but consult your local medical cannabis laws concerning restrictions on certain types of preparations and use caution as some methods can create serious combustion dangers.
Kief is a powder made from trichomes removed from the leaves and flowers of cannabis plants. Can be compressed to produce cakes of hashish, or consumed (typically smoked) in powder form in a pipe or with cannabis bud or other herbs.
Hashish (also known as hash or hashisha) is a collection of compressed or concentrated resin glands (trichomes). Hash contains the same active cannabinoids as the flower and leaves but typically in higher concentrations (in other words, hash is more potent by volume than the plant material from which it was made).
- Hashish usually is a paste-like substance with varying hardness. Good quality is typically described as soft and pliable. It becomes progressively harder and less potent as it oxidizes and oil evaporates.
- THC content of hashish ranges from 15-70%.
- Often smoked with a small pipe. Can be used in food, in a hookah, vaporizer, mixed with joints of cannabis bud or aromatic herbs.
- Color varies from black to brown to golden or blonde. Color typically reflects methods of harvesting, manufacturing, and storage.
MYTH: The effects from smoking hash are different.
FACT: The effects of hash vary in the same way strains of cannabis do. This stems from differences in potency of hash and the regional variations between cannabis strains used for making it.
Hash oil is a mix of essential oils and resins extracted from mature cannabis foliage through the use of various solvents such as ethanol or hexane. The solvent is then evaporated, which leaves the oil. Hash oil tends to have a high proportion of cannabinoids—a range from 30 to 90% THC content can be found.
Can be smoked with a specialty pipe (specifically for hash oil or hash), with a vaporizer, with cannabis bud in a pipe, joint, or added to food.
Cannabis can be ingested or eaten when added to cake, cookies, dressings, and other foods. It can also be brewed into a tea or other beverage. To be effective, cannabis and its extracts or concentrates must be heated in order to convert the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinolic acid into active THC.
Digestive processes alter the metabolism of cannabinoids and produce a different metabolite of THC in the liver. That metabolite may produce markedly different effects or negligible ones, depending on the individual. Onset of effects are delayed and last longer due to slower absorption of the cannabinoids.
Cannabinoids are fat-soluble, hydrophobic oils, meaning they dissolve in oils, butters, fats and alcohol, but not water. Processes using oil, butter, fat or alcohol can extract the cannabinoids from plant material.
Various forms of converted cannabis can be used for edible medicating. Each can be made from cannabis flowers, leaves of concentrates such as hash. The potency of the edible will depend on the material used in making it and the amount used. Edibles made with hash will be stronger than those made from leaf trim.
Cannabis Oil (cannaoil): is cooking oil infused with cannabinoids. Various means to extract include heating the oil and cannabis mixture at low temperature in a frying pan or pot, double boiler, or slow cooker then straining out the plant material. Can be used in any recipe that includes oil and that doesn't go over 280 degrees Fahrenheit (evaporating point). Think cookies, cakes, candies, and other food items.
Cannabis butter (cannabutter) is butter infused with cannabinoids. Heat raw cannabis with butter to extract cannabinoids into the fat. Various means to extract include heating the butter and cannabis mixture at low temperature in a frying pan or pot, double boiler, or slow cooker then straining out the plant material. Can be used in any recipe that includes oil and that doesn't go over 280 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tinctures use ethanol alcohol (e.g. pure grain alcohol, not rubbing alcohol) to extract the cannabinoids. You use droplet amounts, and it is absorbed through the mucous membranes in the mouth.
Sublingual sprays is another way of using a tincture. Use ethanol alcohol to extract the cannabinoids. You use a pump to spray cannabis-alcohol solution under your tongue.
Liquor may be infused with cannabinoids. Best to cook stems and leaves into brandy or rum. Can be added to coffee and other beverages.
Cannabis Topicals (applied to the skin)
Cannabinoids combined with a penetrating topical cream can enter the skin and body tissues and allow for direct application to affected areas (e.g. allergic skin reactions, post-herpes neuralgia, muscle strain, inflammation, swelling, etc.).
- Cannabinoids in cannabis interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors that are found all over the body, including the skin.
- Both THC and Cannabidiol (CBD) have been found to provide pain relief and reduce inflammation.
- Topical cannabis use does not produce a psychoactive effect, which is different from eating or inhaling the medicine.
Different types of cannabis topicals include:
- Salve: cannabinoids heated into coconut oil combined with beeswax and cooled. Rub directly on skin.
- Cream: cannabinoids heated into shea butter combined with other ingredients and cooled. Rub directly on skin.
Topicals may produce anti-inflammatory and analgesic or pain relief effects.. Research has to date been limited to studies on allergic and post-herpes skin reactions and pain relief. Anecdotal reports on topical treatment efficacy include:
- Certain types of dermatitis (including atopic) and psoriasis
- Balm for lips, fever blisters, herpes
- Superficial wounds, cuts, acne pimples, furuncles, corns, certain nail fungus
- Rheumatism and arthritic pains (up to the 2nd degree of arthritis)
- Torticollis, back pains, muscular pains and cramps, sprains and other contusions
- Phlebitis, venous ulcerations
- Menstruation pains
- Cold and sore throat, bronchitis
- Asthmatic problems with breathing
- Chronic inflammation of larynx (application in the form of a Priessnitz compress)
- Migraine, head pains, tension headaches
- Pharmaceutical Cannabis or Cannabinoids
Pharmaceutical cannabis or cannabinoid drugs are those that have been standardized in composition, formulation and dose. That means you always know exactly what and how much you are getting with each pill or spray. These are drugs which have been developed to meet regulatory requirements for prescribing by physicians.
Dronabinol (Marinol®) is a prescribed capsule classified as a Schedule III drug used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy and loss of appetite and weight loss in people who have acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). It is a synthetic version of THC suspended in sesame oil and does not contain CBD (cannabidiol) or other cannabinoids.
Sativex® is a prescribed oromucosal (mouth) spray to alleviate various symptoms of MS and cancer, including neuropathic pain, spasticity, overactive bladder and other symptoms, depending on the country. Derived from two strains of cannabis, the principal active cannabinoid components are THC and CBD suspended in ethanol. Each spray of Sativex® delivers a fixed dose of 2.7mg THC and 2.5mg CBD.
Cannabis News Journal is very interested in hearing about your experiences with medical cannabis.
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Sources, Resources, & Tools (Learn More Here):
(with video) Medical Cannabis and Its Impact on Human Health a Cannabis Documentary
Americans For Safe Access: http://www.safeaccessnow.org/using_medical_cannabis
Green Flower Media: https://www.learngreenflower.com/
University of New Mexico - Medical Cannabis Research Fund:
State of New Mexico Department of Health - Medical Cannabis Program https://nmhealth.org/about/mcp/svcs/